Tips to keep your horse cool during hot weather
The summer months are hot and humid in most of the United States. Horse owners need to take steps to make sure their horses are healthy, cool and comfortable. Unlike people, most horses prefer cooler weather.
When its hot, ride your horse early in the morning, before 10:00 am or later in the afternoon after it cools off around 4:00 pm. Make sure to cool your horse off after riding by spraying your mare or gelding down with cool water and give them plenty of water to drink. If your horse has a white muzzle, use at least 15 SPF on his nose.
Water: Horses, like humans, cool off by sweating. When the weather is hot and humid they need access to large amounts of water so they don’t become overheated. If they’re in a stall, water should be available at all times, preferably from an automatic watering system so it’s fresh and clean. Horses also need a salt block or mineral block since they sweat during the hot weather.
Fly Sheets, Fly Masks & Fly Spray: When they’re turned out during hot weather, horses use a huge amount of energy stomping and walking to get rid of horse flies, mosquitoes and gnats especially around their head and legs. A light colored fly sheet and mask will keep some of the bugs away and fly spray will also help.
Ventilation: Barn doors and windows need to be open to allow air to flow through the building. Box fans can be installed in stalls, and overhead fans in aisle ways and indoor rings to keep the temperature and humidity lower.
Pasture: Horses that are outside in hot weather will need shade trees or a three-sided shelter to get out of the sun during the day. Fresh water should be available at all times, since horses drink up to 25 gallons of water a day in hot weather.
Feed: An adult horse in training or competing should only have 12-14% of protein in their total feed; anything higher may cause a horse to heat up as it digests its food, making it harder to stay cool. A horse not showing; just on pasture turn out only needs 10% protein in its daily feed.