Wednesday 24th July, 2019
We have enjoyed some of the hottest days on record this year, and although this makes for lovely riding weather it can be problematic for our four-legged friends. Here we look at the best ways we can help our horses stay cool this summer.
Flies are without a doubt one of the most irritating things to horses and riders alike. Summer brings them out in droves, especially midges. Try to avoid riding near lakes or ponds as midges are especially prevalent in these areas. Apply a natural fly repellent containing citronella or tea tree daily, and use fly masks, fringes and sheets to keep your horse fly free. Also be mindful of pink skin around the muzzle or ears and use equine SPF to protect this delicate area.
Horses will naturally seek shade in the hot weather. However, when the sun is high, even the leafiest hedgerows will not provide adequate protection. If you have large trees, they can offer welcome shade, but consider the number of horses in your pasture and whether they would all fit. If they won’t, then now is the time to invest in a new field shelter to keep your horses cool and comfortable. A mobile field shelter is ideal as you can move it around the pasture. This not only offers benefits in the summer but is also useful in winter when the ground can become boggy.
On days when the heat really peaks, reduce your workload considerably. Extreme temperatures exhaust the best of us, so sack off the schooling sessions and just enjoy a gentle hack instead. If you are competing and need to keep on top of your training, then make sure you ride early morning or early evening when the temperatures have dropped slightly.
We love nothing more than a cool shower at the end of the day and our horses are no different! If you are lucky enough to live near the beach then a ride through the surf will be welcome to you both on a hot day. Failing that, hose your horse down on a hot day to help him keep his cool. Try to make sure that he has time to fully dry off before stabling to prevent him getting a chill.