Exercising your horse in the summer can be quite the challenge. While winter months present issues such as frigid weather, the summer months carry with them heightened risks of overheating and dehydration. It’s important to remember that your horse’s body will need time in order to acclimate to exercising in the hot temperatures, and that the heat impacts your horse’s body. It’s good to keep your horse moving, but you don’t want to put them in danger. Fortunately, when exercising your horse in the summer, there are steps you can take in order to keep your horse happy and healthy.
Here are some useful tips for exercising your horse in the summer.
#1. Avoid Riding In The Heat Of The Day
When temperatures spike, you want to try to ride your horse either early in the morning or late at night, when the weather has cooled off a bit. You don’t want to ride your horse during the heat of the day, as this increases their risk of overheating and can place undue stress on even the fittest of horses. Especially if you’re planning on an intense ride, you should stick to the cooler times of day.
#2. Watch For Signs Of Overheating
When exercising your horse in the summer, your horse is more at risk for overheating than normal. While it is normal for your horse to breathe heavily after an intense workout, their breathing should return to normal within a few minutes once you’re done. If your horse is still breathing rapidly after you’re done exercising, you’ll want to get them out of the sun, hose them off in order to reduce their body temperature, offer them plenty of water, and contact your vet, especially if your horse’s condition doesn’t improve.
Check out our blog on what to do if your horse overheats to learn more about some of the warning signs of overheating and what to do if your horse overheats.
#3. Protect Them From The Flies
Flies are a big problem during the summer, and they can really annoy your horse by biting them, getting in their eyes, laying eggs on them, and more. When exercising your horse in the summer, ensure that your horse is protected from the flies. You can utilize a fly mask and fly spray to provide your horse with some relief. You may also consider hanging up fly traps around the riding area.
#4. Apply Sunscreen If Needed
Just like humans, horses can get sunburnt, especially if they have pink skin. There are sunscreens formulated specially for horses that you can apply in order to protect your horse from the sun. Even if your horse has mostly dark skin, you’ll want to use sunscreen on any pink snips or other markings on their nose.
#5. Ensure That They Have Plenty Of Water
Another one of the key things you should do when exercising your horse in the summer is to ensure that they have plenty of water. You can do this by having automatic waterers installed, so that they have easy access to fresh, clean water whenever they like. When exercising your horse in the summer, it’s a good idea to not only ensure that your horse has plenty of water in general, but to let them take drinks throughout your ride as needed so that they can stay healthy and hydrated.
Since horses can sweat a lot during the summer months, you may also consider giving them a salt block or electrolyte supplements, in order to help them replenish any of the salts and minerals lost through sweating.
#6. Don’t Overdo It
You know how we mentioned you should avoid riding during the heat of the day when exercising your horse in the summer? You also don’t want to overdo it. Take the time to warm your horse up and to cool them down, longer than you normally would, so that their muscles can loosen up after having been worked, they can get their breath back, and their body temperature can come back down.
#7. Hose Them Down
When it’s hot out, you can also hose them down after exercising them, to help them cool down. You should use cool water, and will want to focus on their large blood vessels in their legs, their neck, and their belly, as this will help them to cool down better. You’ll want to scrape off any excess water, so that it doesn’t absorb your horse’s body heat and get hot again.
Bar Bar A provides high quality, non-electric automatic horse waterers that provide cool, fresh, clean water whenever your horse wants it. It’s especially important to ensure that your horse stays hydrated when exercising your horse in the summer, and our waterers make that easier. Contact us today to learn more about our automatic horse waterers.