As Britain enjoys a glorious summer with soaring temperatures, keeping cool with ice cold beer and ice cream is the norm. On the other hand, our horse friends do not love the heat so much. Summer may be the perfect time to own a horse, you can take them out on the beach, shows and competitions are in full swing and sunlit walks seem perfect. However, the hot weather and high humidity can pose serious health risks for horses and ponies, so keeping them cool is essential.
Giving your horse shelter from the sun should be the first thing on your list. Every year, numerous cases of colic, dehydration, and respiratory distress are attributed to warmer summer weather, so keeping them away from direct sunlight should be something you are thinking of doing.
You can cool your horse down by pouring a bucket of fresh, clean and cool water over them a few times a day, and also providing them with plenty of water to drink. Average size work horses can consume over 25 gallons of water per day when the sun is shining, so it is important to keep then hydrated.
Consider using electrolytes if your horse is sweating hard. Electrolytes replace salts lost in sweating. They are similar to human sport drinks. You can put electrolytes in the horse’s feed, or use a large-ended syringe to squirt into the mouth. Use electrolytes made for horses. Electrolytes made for other livestock may be unsuitable.
Clip your horses coat too, having too much of a heavy coat will make them warmer too, but be careful not to trim it too close, as exposed skin can cause sun burn. Apply a zinc oxide sunscreen to pink noses to help prevent sunburn and use shampoos with added sunscreen to help protect against UV rays and sunburns.