Keeping Your Horse Cool and Healthy on the Trail
Summer is the perfect time to get out and explore the trails by horseback. While out on the trails you and your horse can quickly become overheated and exhausted. It is important to be educated in what can cause your horse to overheat, as well as have some helpful tips on how to stay cool while exploring the trails. The following are ways your horse can become overheated and what you can do to keep them cool.
The hot weather during summer months is the obvious way your horse can quickly become overheated. Especially in humid weather your horse will have a harder time shedding heat from his body.
Hot Weather Fixes:
Go out early in the morning and rest during the heat of the day. Use tack that allows air flow to their skin to help keep them cooler. Be sure to offer your horse plenty of water throughout the day, keeping them hydrated will help them reduce their inner body temperatures.
Another way your horse can overheat is from working too hard. Heat is a byproduct of muscle exertion, over half the energy used is converted into heat. Overexertion and high body temperatures can lead to fatigue and weak muscles, potentially causing accidents. In addition if your horse is deficient in any vitamins and minerals, they are more prone to their muscles “tying up” from overexertion.
Avoid working your horse too hard in the heat. Go at a mild pace, don’t push your horse too hard or too fast. Throughout the ride take frequent breaks, allowing your horse to breath and rest, preferably in the shade and near water. Cool your horse off with water on their neck, head, chest, and legs. Loosening the tack is another way to help reduce heat and keep them cool. In preparation of trail season make sure your horse has been receiving a vitamin-mineral supplement to prevent muscle fatigue and tying up.
Dehydration and Excess Weight:
While out on the trails in the sun your horse will sweat. Through sweat your horse loses body fluids and electrolytes. If your horse works too hard for too long and sweats for an extended period, he can quickly become dehydrated. If your horse is overweight, it can also lead to more sweat production and exhaustion. The excess body weight also interferes with the natural cooling process of your horse.
Dehydration and Excess Weight Fixes:
By avoiding overexertion, you can avoid dehydration. Offer your horse water frequently and encourage them to drink in unfamiliar places. To help reduce weight, talk with your veterinarian or a local equine nutritionist to manage their caloric intake and ensure they are getting the proper amount of daily exercise. Another great way to make sure your horse stays hydrated and healthy during the summer make sure they are getting the proper nutrition. By using supplements your horse will be getting the electrolytes needed to stay out on the trails longer and the proper vitamins and minerals to keep their muscles moving smoothly throughout the ride. Horse Guard has a variety of supplements that will help your horse blaze the trail all day long!
By: Emma Edgren