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5 Top Tips for caring for your horse in Summer

Tuesday 16th June, 2020

white horse galloping through field

It’s definitely  easier to motivate yourself to get outside when the weather is bright and sunny, (which can mean you get lots of extra time to spoil your horse) but with the weather feeling like heat wave after heat wave in the UK at the moment  it’s important to make sure your horses are happy and healthy enough to enjoy the season with you. 

We’ve put together some tips to help you make sure your horse can enjoy this summer just as much as you do.

1. Adjust your schedule

If your horse is usually stabled at night and out during the day, consider switching around so the horse is in a stable during the hotter parts of the day. If you can’t leave your horse out all night, try to let them out as early as possible so that they’re shaded again by midday.

When you’re competing, adjust your schedule to take the heat into account so your horse doesn’t have to stand in a horse box in traffic during the hottest hours of the day.

Find a schedule that works for you early on in the season and stick to it, as too much change at once can cause colic.

2. Slow down

On the days where it’s too hot for you to do manual labour, your horse probably feels the same. If you can’t avoid working with your horse in the heat, lighten the load and take regular breaks. Make sure your horse has time to slowly cool down in each break. Remember that every time you need a drink, your horse needs one too!

When you’re done with work, take the tack off right away. Either mist your horse or sponge down with cool water.

3. Say no to sunburn

Being covered in a layer of hair doesn’t mean horses won’t get sunburnt. Horses with a light coat are most at risk. Pink noses, white socks, or hairless patches can get badly burned and be very painful. Make sure you use sun cream on your horse as soon as you turn them out. Covering them in a fly sheet can help too.

4. Clip that coat

Having a thick coat can sometimes protect your horse from sunburn, but it can also hold heat and stop your horse from cooling down easily. Clipping the hair short but not too close to the skin can help keep your horse cool and make sure they have at least a little protection from UV rays.

5. Watch for heatstroke

Knowing the signs of heatstroke in your horse is very important for protecting your horse. Heatstroke doesn’t just happen when the horse has been working hard. It can even happen if your horse is left standing in a hot trailer or stall.

Signs of heat stroke can include:

  • Consistently elevated heart rate
  • Complete lack of sweating, or very excessive sweating
  • A high temperature (consistently above 40°C)
  • Lethargy/depression
  • Dehydration

You can treat the initial signs of heatstroke yourself by cooling your horse down and giving them small amounts of cool water every few minutes. It’s important to call your vet for advice, especially if symptoms persist. 

Here at Vale Stables, we create stables that will protect and shelter your horses. We’ll work with you to design and build bespoke stables that meet your needs. If your stables aren’t fit to keep your horse cool and safe this summer (or if your horse just deserves an upgrade) contact us to see how we can help you.

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