Tips for managing horses in the heat


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As the hot summer weather returns, all horses need extra attention to ensure they remain healthy in the heat, however, it is especially important for those returning to competing.

To help keep horses fit to compete, follow these top tips:

  • Replace lost electrolytes

Electrolytes are vital for muscle function and are lost in sweat during activity. To replace them, horses can be given an electrolyte preparation in water or even a teaspoon of kitchen salt in their feed. If giving a supplement in water, be aware that some horses dislike the taste and ensure fresh water is always available.

  • Avoid riding at the hottest times of day

Follow common sense by keeping horses out of the sun when the day is at its hottest, ensuring they are in shade or a properly ventilated stable. You may also consider an electric fan to make your horse more comfortable.

  • Provide extra water and check troughs

As well as extra drinking water, water can also be added to feed and wet hay can help provide extra hydration. While self-filling troughs are useful for keeping horses hydrated, they can become green with algae in hotter weather. This puts some horses off drinking, even in the heat. Forage can help water be retained in the gut, so allow horses access to it.

  • Bring water and a familiar bucket from home

Competing often means introducing your horse to a new environment. Remember that some horses can refuse water that tastes strange to them or is in an unfamiliar bucket, so bring plenty of water and their regular bucket from home.

  • Remember a sweat scraper

After washing the horse down, use a sweat scraper to ensure all water has been removed. This will help the horse cool down. Don’t leave a horse covered in water as the water will absorb its body heat, instead liberally douse the body and neck in water before removing it with a sweat scraper.

  • Apply insect repellent and sunscreen

Flies can cause a nuisance for horses in hot weather and some will bite, so applying a suitable insect repellent all over the horse is essential for helping ward them off. A pymerthrin based one is best. For horses with pink noses, a children’s factor 50 sunscreen applied regularly will help protect against sunburn. A full face mask that covers the tip of the nose is also an option, and this provides extra protection against flies around the eyes.

Regardless of the activities your horse is undertaking, we have an insurance policy for you. A suitable insurance policy is also key for ensuring your horse is protected against death, illness or disease all year round. Contact Howden Equine now to speak to one of our specialist brokers about your horse or equestrian business.

Jasper Shelwyn Sharpe - Howden UK

Jasper Shelwyn Sharpe - Account Handler

Jasper is an experienced equestrian and uses his specialist knowledge in finding the right insurance for all your equestrian needs