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How To keep Your Horse Cool in The Summer
 By Winniefield Park   •   3rd Jun 2014   •   2,077 views   •   0 comments
How To keep Your Horse Cool in The Summer

Weíve just come through one of the longest, coldest winters in a very long time. Iíve been complaining that one part or another of me is frozen for months now, and I am really looking forward to complaining about the heat! Actually, your horse is more likely to feel like complaining about heat more than cold. Horses can tolerate the cold a bit better than they can tolerate heat. All that fibre that they eat makes pretty efficient fuel for their internal furnace, but they donít have a comparable cooling system.

If itís hot for you, itís hot for your horse, and horses can get uncomfortable in hot weather just standing in the pasture. During really warm weather your horse may break a sweat just hanging out swishing flies. Horses can lose a lot of fluids when they sweat, especially when they work, so itís really important to have clean, fresh drinking water available to them. You may have to scrub the trough or waterer out with a brush and some vinegar to keep algae and other debris from fouling the water. Some horses donít like lukewarm water either. Keeping your trough in a shady spot will slow algae growth and keep the water a bit cooler.

Shade, whether you keep your horse in during the hottest hours, or there is a shady corner under some trees in the pasture, will help your horse stay cooler. Dark-colored horses might benefit from wearing a reflective, light colored fly sheet.

If you plan to ride, try to do so when itís cooler, such in the morning or later in the evening. It will take some time to cool your horse out, and sponging it with cool water will help. Pay particular attention to running cool water over the larger veins along the inside of its legs and neck. Be careful not to put really chilly water over the large muscles of the haunches and shoulders.

If your horse will be working very hard, such as rigorous trail riding, going on a long hot trailer ride or cross country jumping it might benefit from electrolytes. Or, if the combined air and humidity readings go above 104F, you might want to supplement with electrolytes. The combination of minerals and salts in the electrolytes help replace the sodium, chloride and potassium a horse loses when it sweats. Lose of these electrolytes can cause a dangerous imbalance that can lead to muscle stiffness, colic and in the worst-case scenario, death.

Most horses that eat a balanced diet that includes regular salt will probably be fine without extra electrolytes, but when a horse is working extra hard, or the heat is particularly high it might be helpful. Be sure to feed only electrolytes formulated for horses and consult your veterinarian if you are unsure.

Some horses lose the ability to sweat. This can be very serious and lead to a horse getting heat stroke very quickly. The condition is called anhidrosis. Itís also been called puff disease, dry coat syndrome and non-sweating disease. Itís called puff disease, because in their effort to cool themselves, the horse puffs and pants. If you suspect your horse of having anhidrosis, consult your veterinarian who can recommend the best strategy to help the horse produce sweat again.

Other ways to keep your horse cool are fans, if your barn is hot and stuffy, clipping heavy coats and changing turn out to night. And of course, playing in a sprinkler hose or a nearby pond might be just the thing to keep everyone cool during the hot days of summer.
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