Whether you're out with your horse offering rides to friends or keeping them outdoors while you clean their stable, knowing how to handle your horse when it's hot is important. Consider these suggestions for keeping your horse cool when they have to be out in the heat.
Use a Portable Horse Shelter
A horse shelter can provide cover from the heat and the sun. However, all horse shelters aren't equal. You'll need a portable shelter so that you can move your horse to multiple locations if need be. Portable shelters usually need to be somewhat lightweight to help people put them up and haul them from place to place. That need not mean that a portable shelter is flimsy; in fact, it must be sturdy so that it doesn't fall onto the horse and thick enough that oppressive sun rays can't bother your horse.
Therefore, when selecting a horse shelter, consider polyethylene covers that have metal frames. The cover should withstand different weather conditions, and the metal frame will ensure that the shelter doesn't buckle or sag.
Offer Enough Water
If you don't keep water constantly available to your horse when they're in their own stables, it's smart to make an exception when the horse is outdoors in the summer. They should always have access to cool water. You may also think about adding electrolytes; ask the vet.
Spray Down the Horse
You can help your horse even more by spraying them down with water. However, it is vital you remember that you must also scrape the water off their bodies. For horses, a layer of water can easily turn into another layer of insulation; that could make them even warmer. Use a horse scraper to gently remove excess water.
Know Warning Signs
Even with your efforts, the heat may get the better of your horse. That's why you've got to know warning signs that should get you to a vet quickly. Some symptoms that the horse is not handling the heat well are:
- Lack of sweat
- Heavy breathing
- Lack of coordination
If you're not sure whether you're noticing those symptoms, call a vet anyway. Early interventions can lead to better horse outcomes.
With these suggestions, horses can remain comfortable outdoors even when it's a hot summer day. Keep watching your four-legged friend and stay attentive to any problems so that both of you can finish the day happily.