Horse Sun Cream and Other Ways to Protect your Horse this Summer
With a long hot summer forecast in the UK, you're probably planning on riding your horse as much as possible in the coming months. Whilst this is understandable, it's important to take steps to ensure that he is safe and comfortable. Managing horses at this time of year can be a challenge, as you'll need to provide extra care in order to decrease stress and maintain the health and wellbeing of your animal.
How to Reduce the Effects of Heat
There are various ways in which you can reduce the effects of heat during the summer months and keep your horse comfortable.
• Provide turnout during cooler periods of the day, such as early in the morning or late at night
• Provide relief from the sun through shade from buildings or trees
• Reduce riding intensity and length
• Clip horses that have long hair coats as this will promote cooling
• Use fans to improve airflow
• Provide your horse with access to cool, clean water at all times
• Clean water buckets/tanks more often in hot weather. Algae and bacteria grow at a quicker rate in warm water.
• Provide access to salt, which will encourage your horse to drink more. Loose salt is preferable to a salt block.
• Transport horses during the coolest times of the day and make sure that trailers are well ventilated. Offer water frequently.
• Keep in mind that horses with anhidrosis have little/no ability to produce sweat. This means that these horses are most at risk of heat stress.
Don't Horses Cool Themselves by Sweating?
Yes, they do. The evaporation of sweat from their skin has a cooling effect. A horse that is working hard in high temperatures can lose as much as two to four gallons of sweat every hour. However, less evaporation occurs during times of high humidity.
Making Sure Your Horse Eats Enough
Heat stress can impact negatively on feed intake. Just like humans and other livestock, horses won't voluntarily consume as much food on hot days. This can lead to body weight loss, including muscle protein. As a result, it's vital to track feed intake as well as your horse's weight and body condition during periods of hot weather. This is particularly important for thin, veteran and very young horses. Fortunately, my own horse, Henry, has always loved his food, even throughout the summer. However, I wouldn't hesitate to contact an equine nutritionist or veterinarian for assistance if I noticed any problems with his eating.
Invest in a Good Horse Sun Cream
Investing in a good horse sun cream is essential for protecting your horse whilst out in the hot sun. The summer after I bought Henry I began to notice that his pink nose was scabbing over. It started to look a complete mess. A visit from the vet confirmed that this was indeed sunburn, and it was then that I started using horse sun cream as well as a mask to keep him protected from the sun's harmful rays. You can also find sunburn soothing cream which absorbs quickly and helps to repair sore areas at the same time as providing sun protection.