Now that Ohio weather has decided to skip spring and go straight from winter to summer,I find myself trying to ensure my horses stay cool and fresh despite the sudden onset of heat andhumidity. Keeping my horses cool and comfortable is especially important as they aretransitioning into the weather change. My horse for one isn’t completely shed of his winter coatand is sweating a little more than usual during his workouts. If not addressed, the heat andhumidity can cause major health and performance issues in your horse.Keeping my horses good and hydrated is my number one goal. I hang an extra bucket ofwater in their stalls during the summer months. I have found if I only have one bucket in theirstall it is often empty when I come home from work. During the summer months I have foundthey drink almost 10 gallons of water just during the day standing in their stalls idle. Keepingtheir buckets and/or water tanks clean is also an important part of keeping them hydrated. I havefound horses can be picky when it comes to their water supply. I scrub my buckets at least once aweek and empty them when they get grain or hay in the water. Hauling your own water whenpossible for events is also a great idea to encourage drinking, especially for the picky horse.
Dehydration in a horse can cause performance issues, impact colic, or heat stroke.In addition to keeping plenty of fresh water in their stalls and turnout areas I like to feedthem electrolytes. I top dress their feed with electrolytes once a day if it is going to be very hotand humid to ensure they are not losing too many electrolytes when they sweat. This will helpkeep them feeling good and perky during performance. Adding electrolytes to their feed will alsoencourage water consumption. Most electrolytes can be top dressed or added to their watersupply. If you have a horse who is picky about drinking away from home, getting them used tothe flavored electrolytes in their water can help encourage drinking on the road. By adding theelectrolytes to the unfamiliar water, it can mask the unfamiliar smell or taste. In addition to theloose electrolytes I like to keep a tube or two of electrolyte paste in my trailer for those instanceswhere they may not be drinking and eating like they should on the road. I have found givingthem a dose or two perks them right up and they start drinking again.Manually cooling your horse in hot and humid weather is important. After a run or agood workout I cool hose my horse’s legs to help bring their body temperature down. I alwaysspray their legs before their body to avoid a shock of cool water.
After you hose them off alwayswipe away the excess water to help cool them quicker. Aside from hosing them down, I love mycooling products from Seven Arrows Equine Nutrition and Therapy. She carries blankets, polos,and boots designed to help cool your horse and pull out any soreness or inflammation. Myfavorite product is the CoolAid hock wraps. I use them after a run or workout to help speedcooling my horses down. If I use them between runs I like to apply DiO under them to dodouble duty for soreness as well. Seven Arrows is my go to for electrolyte paste and coolingproducts.