Keeping Your Horse Safe In Summer


How to keep your horse cool in the heat

In the midst of our very British love of complaining about the weather, we often forget how the heat affects our horses, and the precautions we should take as their owners to ensure they stay happy through the hot summer weather.

Of course, it would be unrealistic to suggest that we stop riding and exercising our horses, especially if we compete. Horses and riders that compete for Great Britain often travel to countries with hotter temperatures and more humid environments, so it’s essential that they are able to work through a heatwave here in the UK. Even if you are a happy hacker, the sun should be a reason to get out and enjoy your rides even more. It is vital, however, that horses are well looked after before and after their work, to ensure they feel as comfortable and are kept as safe as possible during the hot spells.

Here are some top tips to help both horse and rider cope during the hot weather:

Perhaps consider clipping your horse – this can be quite a controversial thing to do during the summer months, yet it can help the horses feel less lethargic and uncomfortable during their work. Although, if you do this, you must ensure that you have excellent anti-fly mechanisms. These include a fly rug and mask during turn-out times, as the skin is more exposed and therefore reacts more to fly bites.

Get your horse fit before the peak of summer – Condition your horse for intended exercise. Perhaps consider doing a little bit of work with your horse once the weather gets warmer, and increase exercise daily so that they can build up their stamina to work for longer periods of time during hot conditions. It’s important that you do not just expect your horse to work for hours if they’re not already used to it.

Ensure your horse has a constant supply of water – This is necessary throughout the whole year, however becomes even more important during the summer. Your horse will sweat during exercise and lose a lot of water. It’s vital that they have water available to replenish what they have lost. This is also extremely important during turn out times, ensuring there is a plentiful and clean supply of water.

Consider giving your horse electrolytes/salt supplements – Like humans, horses sweat. This is not only water loss, but also key salts and minerals. There are specific products on the market that target this problem and can be used in the horse’s daily feed, or even used as and when is necessary.

Ensure your horse is cared for after exercise – It is vital that once you have finished exercising your horse, you cool them down correctly. A lot of people use a cold hose and then put the horse back in the stable. A sweat scraper should be used to remove the water. This is because water alone can trap a heat barrier between the skin and the water, which could lead to the horse overheating and having a reverse effect. This can lead to other serious health-related problems. Using a sweat scraper can remove that barrier and ensure the horse is cool and comfortable.

Consider not turning your horse out during the day – Some horses really cannot stand the sun and find being out uncomfortable. If there is no shade present in their field, consider not turning them out or even putting them out at night instead. If that is not possible, ensure a good supply of shade is readily available in the field.

Know your horse – Get to know your horse. Horses are (normally!) quite good at letting us know how they feel. If they are not themselves or behave badly, there is usually a reason for it, and resolving the issue should be your top priority.


We hope all of you enjoy the glorious weather while it lasts… Happy riding!


The Drillshed


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