Summer has finally begun! With the summer months come higher temperatures, longer days, and fairs that often feature one of our favorite animals: horses! While summer is a great time for fun, especially for horses, it can also be a time for trouble. Warmer temperatures can make horses more prone to overheating and other weather-related issues. In order to keep your horse as healthy and happy as possible, you should follow these five tips:
1. Brush your horse – Brushing your horse is always important, but especially so in the summer. Hotter temperatures can cause your horse to get overheated and sticky and their hair to become matted – it can also mean lots of shedding. The higher temperatures will also attract flies and other bugs to your horse. Comb through your horse's mane and hair each day to keep it as shiny and healthy as possible. By doing so, you will also be able to avoid having flies, ticks, and other insects nest in your horse's hair or, worse yet, bite.
2. Keep them hydrated – Keeping your horse hydrated can be a bit of a challenge in the summer, especially if they race. Make sure your horse is drinking enough water. It is not uncommon for horses to drink 25 or more gallons of water on a warm day. You can also give your horse a drink with electrolytes, but make sure to increase their water intake if you do so as too many electrolytes can damage their systems.
3. Keep them cool – Try to keep your horse as cool as possible. There are several ways to do this: keep them in the shade whenever you can; mist them with water; or give them a cool bath. You may also want to keep your horse by a fan, which you may be able to add to the barn. A battery-operated fan to keep by the stalls would be ideal.
5. Give them sunscreen – Did you know that horses can get sunburned? Just like humans, it is important that horses wear sunscreen to protect themselves from harmful UV rays. This is especially important for white horses or horses that have any kind of white markings on their faces. Opt for an SPF of 30 or higher and apply a small amount to their hair. If your horse does get sunburned, then you may notice some red patches on their skin, along with peeling. Sunburn can be dangerous and can easily become infected or turn into sores. If your horse gets sunburned, you may want to put a fly mask on your horse. This will block out the sun and prevent them from sustaining more damage.
Caring for your horse in the summer can be hard. However, when you follow these tips, your horse will be able to enjoy their summer and you'll feel better knowing you are keeping them in good condition.