Summertime brings about special requirements for your horse care, especially when they’re going to be working extra hard out in the sun. As summer comes in hot and heavy around the northern hemisphere, your horse’s health can be dramatically affected. High temperatures, lots of humidity, still air, lousy ventilation, dehydration and extended stays in direct sunlight can all hike up the chances of your horse developing serious health issues.
Working muscles create heat. Muscles are not one hundred percent efficient, in fact, they’re only about twenty-five percent efficient. That extra energy is turned into heat, increasing the body temperature of your horse. When the air is also hotter, it’s harder for your horse to cool down or maintain a healthy temperature and so extra care is needed to notice signs of heat stress in your horse.
Horse care – Stress due to Heat
Heat stress tends to manifest in several ways; your horse could be sweating profusely unless they are already dehydrated. If your horse is dehydrated, they will produce no sweat at all. Another sign of your horse needed extra summer care is rapid panting as they try to get extra air into cool down their system. Your horse’s skin may get hotter and dryer the more heat stress they’re enduring, but the ultimate indicator is a rectal temperature of over thirty-eight degrees!
Active horses, whether event horses, sports horses or performance, can dehydrate easily in the summer heat. A racehorse, for example, can lose up to ten liters of sweat per race. Sweat isn’t just water; it’s also salt and other minerals. This salt mix is referred to as electrolytes, and their job is to get nutrients into the cells and waste out of them as well as to contract muscles and fire nerves. All of the physical activities your horse will be doing require electrolytes and your horse needs them in the right amounts.
When it comes to summer horse care, a simple pinch taste can determine whether your horse is dehydrated or suffering from heat stress. Pinch your horse on the neck and their skin should return to its original state immediately. If the skin tastes a while to resume its normal position, your horse is probably dehydrated. The long it takes, the more dehydrated your horse probably is. Random fact; this test also works on humans, just pinch the back of your hand!
When it comes to the summer time, cool down, hydration and proper care are a necessity!
This article is brought to you by Abler- caring for horses since 2008.