Hello summertime riders! This is Lissa, the Absorbine Intern. It’s been a hot one down at the barn this summer, and my Quarter Horses JoJo and Ellie appreciate the little efforts I put in to keeping them cool and comfortable. Here are a few things that you can do to cool your horse off:
Even though the saying goes “you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink”, I find some heavy persuasion can often do the trick. It is essential to keep your horse well hydrated on hot days, and constantly providing him with plenty of clean, cool water is the best thing you can do to cool your horse off. The fresh water is an invitation for him to take a big gulp. Hanging a salt lick in his stall will encourage him to drink (aren’t you thirsty after eating salty potato chips?) and will replace nutrients he loses when he sweats. If he’s still reluctant, I find that mixing a little apple juice in the water provides some pretty tasty encouragement.
Pieces of watermelon are a fantastic hydrating treat to offer on hot days; the fruit is 90% water and the natural sugar is delicious.
Avoiding the hot sun on sweltering days is a must. Horses should have access to shade at all times when turned out, whether it be a run-in shed, access to their stalls, or a shady tree. If this isn’t possible, you may want to consider keeping your horse in on hot days. He won’t be happy if he’s baking in the sun.
JoJo and Ellie always find a shady spot.
It’s also best to work your horse either early in the morning or late in the evening, when the sun is the least intense. Don’t forget to spray on some UltraShield® before you go out! The flies love heat and humidity, and can make a summer ride particularly miserable.
I like to use UltraShield® Sport on hot days because it won’t come off when JoJo starts to sweat…and he’s a pretty sweaty guy.
The hose is one of the best weapons you can arm yourself with during a heat wave. Cool your horse off by showering her after work outs, turn out, or any time she starts to swelter, is an instant cool down. If your horse isn’t used to being hosed off, start slowly and let her get used to the cool water. Some target areas are her chest, neck, and shoulder muscles, large veins on the insides of her back legs, and any sweaty spots where tack has been. Don’t forget to take a sweat scraper to her afterwards; removing excess water allows air to reach the skin to cool her faster, and gets rid of annoying drips.
The mist setting on a hose head can be particularly fun and refreshing…Ellie loves getting a facial. Be careful not to get water in the ears!
If you want to give your horse the ultimate cool down after a tough summer work out, an Absorbine® Veterinary Liniment bath is refreshing and soothing for her muscles. To make a body wash, mix 4 oz. of liniment, 8 oz. of vinegar, and 24 oz. of water in a bucket, and apply the solution to your wet horse with a sponge, massaging it into her muscles.
Ellie agrees, nothing beats the cooling sensation of an Absorbine® Veterinary Liniment bath on a hot day!
In the barn, keep that air moving! Open the doors and windows to increase ventilation. Run the ceiling fans if you have them to create a breeze and allow air to circulate. Setting up other sturdy fans in the aisle ways, or in front of horses’ stalls, will provide significant relief from stagnant air. Most horses will wallow in such a luxury, planting themselves in front of the fan, mane whipping in the breeze. Just be sure your fans meet safety regulations and receive the approval of the barn owner. It’s also safe to make sure they are always kept free of cobwebs and debris, electrical cords are off the ground, and outlets remain out of reach.
Feelin’ the breeze!
Hope these tips help your horses keep their cool all summer long.