How to Care for Your Horse in Summer

The 30 ° C limit has been reached. The sunburns. The sweat is running. People flee into the coolness of the air conditioning or into the refreshing water. One of the other may even go to colder places. But not only do we suffer from the burning heat – our animals can also suffer on hot summer days. So that you can make things easier for your four-legged friend, we show how the summer with a horse works best and which equipment is indispensable.

The Comfortable Temperature

In general, the comfortable temperature for horses is between minus 7 and plus 25 degrees Celsius. However, this can be exceeded on particularly warm summer days. Then there are a few things to consider so that the circulation does not collapse.

Circulatory Problems in the Horse

Both humans and horses can develop circulatory problems in the heat. If your horse shows the following signs, you should definitely take it to a shady spot and not move faster than the walking pace.

Checklist for circulatory problems:

  • the horse sweats profusely while standing or walking;
  • the head hangs down and the muscles look weak;
  • the horse stumbles;
  • the muscles cramp;
  • it doesn’t eat;
  • the horse’s body temperature is over 38.7 ° C.

If these signs show and do not get better after about half an hour in the shade, you should definitely call the vet. You can also try to cool the horse down with damp, cool towels.

Working in Summer

Most people take it for granted that they go to work in the summer too. However, we have the advantage that we seldom have to move in the blazing heat – most of them can retreat to cooled offices and workspaces. Unfortunately, the horse cannot do this, so there are a few things to consider when riding in the heat.

Adaptation to the Temperature

Since horses have only a very small body surface area in relation to their muscle mass, sweating is unfortunately not as effective for cooling off as it is in humans. Therefore, work in the blazing midday sun should be avoided as much as possible. If that is not possible, the shade of a riding arena or the trees can create some relief. Ideally, however, training units are postponed to the early morning and later afternoon or evening hours.

The training itself must also be adapted to the temperatures. Specifically, this means: no long gallop units, instead of more pace is ridden and, above all, regular breaks are taken. In addition, the units should be kept rather short at high temperatures.

After Training

It is very important that the horse has plenty of water available after the work is done (and also during). In this way, the exuded liquid can be replenished. In addition, the four-legged friends are very happy to have a cold shower after training. This is refreshing on the one hand and also removes itchy sweat residues on the other. In addition, the clean horse is less plagued by flies.

Diet in Summer

Since horses sweat like most other animals, they need a lot more water in summer. If possible, it should be available to them all day – and in large quantities. Since the water requirement can increase by up to 80 liters, a small bucket is usually not enough to water the horse.

When the horse sweats, important minerals are also lost. Therefore, a separate salt source should be available in the paddock or in the box. A salt lick stone is particularly suitable for the horse in such situations. It can use this at its own discretion.

Caution! Additional mineral feed is a no-go. The multitude of different minerals unbalances the household and can have negative effects. Horses normally follow their own instincts and use the salt lick as needed.

Run and Summer Pasture

Summer on pasture and paddock can quickly become uncomfortable – at least if there are only a few shady spots. In this case, it is good for many horses if they can stay in the stable (with the windows open) on particularly hot days and prefer to spend the cooler night outside.

Fly Protection

Flies – these annoying, small insects annoy every living being, especially in summer. There are some measures to protect the horses from them. On the one hand, the paddock and the paddock should be peeled off every day – this way, there are not so many flies to collect in the first place. In addition, the reduction of stagnant water helps against mosquitoes.

An appropriate fly repellent (ideally for spraying) can (at least partially) keep the little pestilents away. Make sure that the agent is specifically suitable for horses.

Fly Sheet for the Horse

Otherwise, a fly sheet can make the summer much more bearable for horses. The light blanket is available in different designs for the pasture and for riding itself. It consists of a thin fabric that protects the horse (similar to our clothing) from mosquitoes and other vermin.

By the way: If the brakes are particularly stubborn, a (thicker) eczema blanket can also prove useful.

Horses Shear Against Heat

Many older horses and Nordic breeds have a relatively thick coat even in summer. As a result, if the temperature rises, they can develop circulatory problems. Here it has proven to be a good idea to shear the animals in summer to ensure better temperature equalization.

By the way: Braiding the mane also helps the horses not to sweat excessively. In contrast to the short haircut, the fly repellent function is retained, but fresh air can still reach the neck.

Conclusion: That Has to Be Considered

So let’s summarize again briefly. If possible, work in the midday heat should be avoided. If there is no other way, a shady spot is a right choice. The horse should have a large amount of water and a salt lick at all times as the horse sweats a lot.

If there are no trees or other shady objects on the paddock and pasture, the box is a cooler alternative. You should also pay attention to the risk of sunburn and possible signs of circulatory problems – in an emergency, a veterinarian must be consulted.

Mary Allen

Written by Mary Allen

Hello, I'm Mary! I've cared for many pet species including dogs, cats, guinea pigs, fish, and bearded dragons. I also have ten pets of my own currently. I've written many topics in this space including how-tos, informational articles, care guides, breed guides, and more.

Leave a Reply


Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *