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Preparing Your Horse for Hot Weather


hot horseHeat stroke is a danger for all animals, and though all horse breeds will adapt to any temperatures, it is important to follow some basic tips to make sure everyone makes it through those occasionally extra hot summers!

1. Make sure there is LOTS of water everywhere. Check troughs and waterers constantly to make sure that your horses are getting good, clean and fresh water that is free of contaminants. When it's hots they'll drink constantly. Make sure everyone can reach it and try to keep it as cool as possible.

2. Keep sponging down or spraying off the large blood vessels found on the insides of the legs, belly and neck. This will help to regulate the temperature of the blood. Do NOT spray faces or ears, sponge these off.

3. If it is going to be hot, consider canceling lessons or other events. If they must happen schedule them for early morning or late evening when the temperature is much milder.

4. After a session, cool the horse down slowly by getting equipment off and slowly walking them around. If you allow them to stand muscles will stiffen and heat is more quickly dissipated by moving muscles than standing ones. Don't let them gulp water, instead offer sips of cool water; be careful the water is not cold, just cool.

5. If your horse is sweating profusely, consider administering electrolytes as these rebuild the salts lost through sweating. Make sure you are using electrolytes for horses.

6. Shade, shade and more shade; you may even want to consider keeping them stabled in the day and letting them out in the cooler night. If your barn starts to get stuffy, set up fans. Clip horses with heavy coats. Be careful not to trim them too close, however, or the skin may sunburn. To prevent sunburn apply zinc oxide to pink noses or bald spots.

7. Keep pests under control. Use whatever is necessary to rid yourself and your horses of these pests. Water based sprays are less harsh on coats.

8. Take care of yourself. Make sure that you are not getting over heated. If you cannot keep going in the heat who will care for your horses. Drink plenty of water and get rest when possible.

9. What to look for in heat stroke:
Rapid breathing
Rapid pulse
Profuse or no sweating
Temperature over 103˚F
Irregular heartbeat

10. If your horse appears to be suffering from heat stroke, call your vet immediately and set about cooling them down. Use shade, water, breezes and fans and offer sips of water until the vet arrives.


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