It won’t be long before summer is finally here. Summer is the most anticipated time of the year for any horse owner because there is more time to ride the horses. Summertime horse care involves alot of hydration and the watchful eye of the horse owner for sudden changes in health.
Most horse owners enjoy horse care more during summer months. However, there are different issues to deal with in summer and the warmer months can be a challenge. In recent years, the climate has undergone a change and warm months have become even warmer. For this reason, horse owners should ensure that their horses are kept happy and in good condition throughout the season. Summertime horse care brings new risks to your horse.
Fun Under the Sun
Summertime is all about the warmer weather and summer heat. Many horses welcome a dose of sunshine since they adapt well to the different elements of nature. However, horses should also be given a form of shade, especially during heat of the day. This way, your horse can freely choose if it wishes to bask in the sun or stay cool in the shade. Your horse can also retreat to the stables for shade but make sure that proper ventilation exists.
The heat of the sun can also be a problem during summer, especially for horses that have sensitive skin. These horses are usually lacking dark pigments in their skin, which are used to protect them from harmful UV rays. Any horse that is sensitive to too much sunlight, especially those with pink skin found around the eyes, is at risk for skin cancer. In this case, an eye mask is essential to protect the horse.
Access to Water
Water is an important element needed by the horse to function properly. Horses drink water to cool themselves; they are like humans in a way that water is lost during perspiration and must be replaced to avoid dehydration. A horse drinks up an average of 30 liters of water each day. The water supply should be fresh and readily available at all times. Growing young horse need even more water to ensure they stay healthy and hydrated. Water intake will also depend on the diet of the horse. Since grass has a water content of about 85%, horses that are left to freely graze in grass can intake fluid via the hay.
Summer is also a season when your horse gets to travel to shows and events. Ensure that you are able to meet its needs wherever you may be traveling to, by having a supply of water coming from your own farm. This will reduce the risk of getting infection from cross-contamination of waters during these events.
The Pests of Summer
Flies are abundant in summer and they can get worse during the season so you need to do everything just to keep them away from your horses. Flies are really annoying, and there are cases where they can be a cause of some serious problems. If your horse has sensitive eyes, they will water when exposed to bright sunlight; the liquid, on the other hand, attracts the flies, causing irritation in the area and can potentially become inflamed and infected.
Flies can also cause serious problems especially if your horse has open wounds, or even small cuts. Flies are attracted to the wounded flesh and may cause infection, disrupting the healing process and may bring in a secondary infection. What’s worse is that the adult flies can also lay their eggs on the wounds and maggots hatch off and feed on the area.
If your horse is left turned out on long periods on dry ground, the hooves can be affected especially those of an unshod horse. The hooves then tend to become brittle and are easily cracked. Set an appointment with your farrier regularly to keep those hooves well-trimmed. Owners should also observe a routine for hoof care since this aspect of horse care is important all year round. Giving your horse a healthy diet, having regular trips to the farrier, as well as applying hoof oil when necessary can help care for your horse’s hooves.
The Working Horses
Owners should be cautious when allowing their horses to work under hot weather. Avoid riding your horse during the hottest part of the day; best for you to ride late in the afternoon or early morning. If your horse has to work, give plenty of time for it to cool down. The effects of too much heat and dehydration in horses can be just as serious as in humans.
Having a horse entails a lot of work but all your efforts as a horse owner can be very rewarding. Giving proper care for your horse is a must regardless of the season, but there are particular things you need to give attention to during summer months that will ensure your horse is in a healthy state of mind and body. A horse that is well taken care of will become a happy horse, and you as the owner, will be happy as well.