It's been a very hot one this summer and not only we are struggling with the heat, but our beloved animals too! If a horses body temp rises to 106 or higher, the damage could be irreversible! Here are a few ways you can keep your horse cool through the hot days and some signs that they may be suffering from the heat.
1) It is very important to make sure your horses are getting plenty of water all day long, especially in the summer. They should drink around 5-10 gallons every day to stay hydrated and healthy. If you think we sweat a lot in the heat, your horse sweats three times that amount! Because of this, they are at a high risk of dehydration, therefore, always have water for your horse!
2) It's best to keep these big animals in the shade as much as possible, more importantly for older horses and foals. Another thing to keep in mind is that horses with white skin are more likely to burn, so try and make sure you have shaded areas for them. You can also apply sunscreen on them to help reduce sunburns.
3) Try to ride or travel them at cooler times in the day such as the morning and later evening. Avoid riding your horse when the combined temperature and relative humidity is over 150. When traveling with a horse, try to leave earlier than later for less traffic because the ventilation is much better when the vehicle is moving.
A few signs that your horse is suffering from the heat are...
-elevated heart rate
-fast, shortened breaths
-eating or drinking less
To cool an overheating horse...
-get them into shade
-have ventilation going (fans would work)
-hose or sponge them with cool water
-check to make sure their temp is going down (if not, call the vet!)
Take care of your horses in the scorching heat!