With summer just around the corner, it’s time to prepare your horses for the hot weather ahead. Nice weather means beautiful riding conditions and long hours spent outdoors.
Just like humans, horses are sensitive to heat. Extreme summer heat and sunlight can be dangerous for horses resulting in dehydration, lethargy, and general malaise. Severe heat stress can even cause diarrhea and colic.
Here are a few tips for caring for your horse and keeping them healthy all summer long!
Keep Them Hydrated
An average horse needs at least 5 gallons of water a day for body maintenance. This can easily double or triple when working hard in hot weather, so make sure your horse stays hydrated throughout summer. Keep several water sources available and refill the water buckets or troughs with fresh water every day. Troughs may be more likely to harbor algae, and the water can turn stagnant when it is warm, so clean the troughs and buckets more often. If you are going out for a longer ride, consider bringing water for your horse.
Don’t Skip the Sunscreen
Keep a tube of SPF 30-plus sunscreen in the barn and put it on both you and your horse. Horses with white markings on their faces may get a sunburn, so you may have to apply sunscreen daily. If a horse’s face gets burned, you’ll notice red patches and peeling skin. These patches can turn into sores that could get infected if you don’t treat them quickly. If your horse suffers from severe sunburn, you may have to put a fly mask on them that offers UV protection or keep them in the barn during daylight hours.
Limit Riding Time
It’s smart to alter your riding schedule during the summer months. You might be accustomed to riding during the middle of the day, but this can be stressful to your horse during the hotter months. To help escape the heat when you want to go riding, you can get up a little early and go for a morning ride, or you could wait until after the sun goes down and the temperatures are more comfortable for both you and your animal. If you’re riding in an uncovered area, make sure you go slower and give your horse plenty of breaks so it can rest. Horses have a hard time regulating their body temperatures when the heat exceeds 90 degrees.
Prioritize Shade and Shelter
If your horse is outside in a pasture, it will need a place to take refuge from the sun. You will need a high-quality run-in shed to provide some relief and shade. The run-in sheds should have tall roofs so that the air can easily circulate and effectively cool down their space.
If your horses are kept in the barn during the day, ensure that you have cooling fans made especially for barns or install a water misting system to help provide additional relief. Cooling fans should be set up in a safe area where your horse cannot reach the fan or the electrical cords. Increased airflow and fans can also help control flies around horses since fans can discourage flies from hovering around your horse.
At Deer Creek Structures, we have the barns, and run-in sheds you need to keep your horses safe and protected from the heat this summer. All our structures can be customized to fit you and your horses’ specific needs.