How to Keep Your Horse Cool For Summer Competitions
Summer is prime competition season, but it’s also when heat and humidity combine to make some truly uncomfortable weather for horses. When you’re exercising your horse on a hot, humid day, you’ll need to be prepared for the additional challenges the weather brings. Whether you’re heading to a barrel race, three-day event or a horse show, you can put these tips to use to keep your horse cool and comfortable in the summer heat.
Set Up Fans on Trailers and in Stalls
Invest in some quality fans that you can position on the side of your horse’s trailer or in his stall. If these fans will be left unsupervised, then make sure they’re agricultural-grade fans with fully enclosed motors, which reduces the risk of fire. Fans can make a big difference on days when there’s a minimal breeze to cut the heat.
Use Plenty of Ice
Either buy or bring plenty of ice to a competition and use it to cool legs, keep your horse’s drinking water cool or to cool down water for a sponge bath. Store the ice in a cooler in your trailer; you’ll be surprised how many uses you discover for it.
Watch For Signs Your Horse Is Too Hot
Familiarize yourself with the signs that indicate your horse is overheated. If you notice your horse is having difficulty breathing, seems fatigued, has a rapid pulse or is sweating excessively, he could be in the beginning stages of heat stroke and it’s time to cool him down. You’ll also want to consult your vet for additional treatment.
Hose Your Horse Off the Right Way
Hosing your horse off can be one of the most effective ways to cool his body temperature, but it needs to be done correctly. A quick hose down followed by sweat scraping doesn’t offer much in terms of cooling benefits. Instead, keep cool water continuously moving over your horse’s body and focus on his major muscle groups. You can also direct water onto the large veins on the insides of your horse’s legs to help cool his blood.
Keep hosing your horse down until his skin remains cool to the touch after you’ve scraped the water off, and let him sit for 10 to 20 seconds.
Provide Access to Cool Drinking Water
Staying hydrated on hot days is key to your horse’s health, so make sure he always has access to cool drinking water during competitions. You may want to use an additive, like Gatorade or apple juice, to make the water more appealing.
Competing in the heat can be draining, and your horse’s usual endurance may suffer. To support his performance and endurance, feed EQ-Royal natural blood builder. By increasing the efficiency of the red blood cells, your horse’s blood is better able to carry oxygen to his muscles, providing increased muscle energy and greater stamina — even in the heat. Best of all, EQ-Royal is safe, completely drug-free and will not test, so you can use it before, during and after competitions.
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