With every season there are changes to the way that you treat, train and accommodate your horse. Thank goodness there are only four seasons in one year. I bet there are a lot of you out there that have a seasonal checklist of things to do when the ice starts to melt, what about a summer horse care plan?.
Here is our quick check list of things to help get you and your horse geared up for summer.
Summer Horse Care – The Health Check
Ask your vet to do a complete work up to assess for lameness carry out blood tests and a general check over to see that your horse is virus free and ready to shake off the winter weight. You can expect senior horses to need a little extra attention during their check-up. Your vet will also be checking irregularities in the heart and lungs.
Tips on how to limit setbacks
Being proactive about your horse’s health can save you set backs come competition time. Consider an equine probiotic to assist in your horse’s immune system. These enteric coated granules assist in the restoration of naturally occurring bacteria in the intestines. Keep your worming schedule up to date. Parasites thrive in the warmer temperatures after laying dormant for winter. Consider a broad spectrum dewormer to keep on top of your worming schedule.
Vaccinating against the four core illnesses of West Nile Virus, eastern and western equine encephalomyelitis, tetanus and rabies will give your horse a great start to the warmer months and hopefully prevent illness.
Does your horse have his Summer rug?
You have a few options when it comes to rugs for summer. The Cooler rug is the ideal option for traveling, competition, a light stable rug and to use as a sweat rug after training. Made from a single layer material it allows your horses skin to breathe whilst still protecting them from dust and dirt. The Cooler rug is also the perfect rug to use for your summer horse care
Fly rugs or sheets are a lightweight rug made from a mesh fabric that protects your horse from the reflective rays of the sun and flies. If you live in an area that has more than your average rate of insects you might want to consider a full block out rug as opposed to a fly rug.
Horses need to be well hydrated in Summer
Still continue to provide high-quality hay for your horses as the weeks get warmer. If they are turned out and eating a predominately grass diet, they will also require supplements and other grains. This ensures they are getting the right balance of carbohydrates. Don’t be worried if your horse loses a little weight in the summer. This can happen due to the heat, annoying biting insects and sometimes boredom. If this is the case, then try and give your horse a break in the stable and supply a concentrate supplement to assist in regaining that weight.
Water is key. Make sure it is clean and topped up twice daily in the warmer months. Blocks of ice in the water will help keep it cool, or gallon jugs of frozen water in their trough is a great way to store and reuse.
Salt and mineral licks will help replace any minerals lost when sweating.
Shelter from the sun
If your horse is stabled, then ensure you have great ventilation, so it doesn’t become overheated inside. Wall mounted fans ensure bugs and mosquitoes are kept at bay. Turned out horses will need either shade from trees or a man-made shelter to provide some protection from the hottest part of the day.
Back into Training
Training as the weather warms up needs to be taken slowly. If you have had a predominately stabled horse over winter, then you will need to ease them back into training gradually. Vary your workout to include some slopes, different terrains, and pace. Increase the time you spend out in the yard or for a hack each day. It will only take a matter of weeks to get them back up to summer glory. Take care to keep them well hydrated after a workout and ensure you hose them down to keep the cool.
Clean up time
Use summer to give the stable a good clean out. It’s a great time of year to get everything washed, dusted off and aired out.
Make the most of the warmer weather and take a ride somewhere there is a stream or beach and let your horse enjoy a cool down and splash. That is what summer is all about after all.