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Summer Tips: Keep Your Horse Cool inside the Barn

Horse Care Summer Tips - Horse Colic The summer season has finally arrived and with it comes an increase in temperature. This significantly increases the risk of your horse suffering from heat related illnesses such as heat stroke, horse colic, dehydration and exhaustion. To prevent this from happening, your horse needs to be well cared for to ensure maximum comfort. Here are several tips that you can follow to keep your horse cool inside the barn this summer:

  • VENTILATION – It is very important to ensure thatthere is adequate ventilation inside the horse barn this summer. Your horse can be cooled down with a suitable barn fan such as a misting fan. The doors and windows of the barn should also be left open to allow cool air in. When building the barn, go for an open-end design to encourage airflow.
  • WATER– When temperatures exceed 70°F, a horse can drink over 20 gallons of water in a day. So you need to frequently offer your horse cool and clean water in a bucket. Also ensure that the water is fresh and free from insects to encourage the horse to drink it. In addition, use a sponge to get cold water all over the body of the horse, especially where we have large blood vessels such as inside the legs and under the neck and belly. This will help to cool the horse down.
  • FOOD – The weather in summer reduces the availability and quality of grass. Ensure that you feed your horse good hay as this provides energy that helps regulate the body temperature in horses and fuels the natural cooling processes.
  • SALT SUPPLEMENT – The hot weather in summer leads to excessive sweating in horses and loss of salt. This salt needs to be replenished with an electrolyte supplement that is suitable otherwise the horse could suffer from colic, fatigue or muscle cramps.

Know if your horse is suffering heat exhaustion

There are different signs to look for in your horse that will tell you whether it is suffering from heat exhaustion or not.

  • Raised temperature. If the rectal temperature of your horse is raised to 103°F or higher, it means that the horse is suffering from a heat stroke and the temperature needs to be brought down using cooling methods discussed earlier.
  • Lack of sweating or increased sweating. If your horse is increasingly sweating all over the body or shows no signs at all of sweating in hot weather, then it may be suffering heat stress and has to be cooled down.
  • Raised heart rate. If the horse has a pulse of more than 80 beats per minute and this does not slow down after the horse has rested for two minutes, it is in heat stress.
  • Shallow breathing, raised breathing rate of between 40 to 50 breaths per minute, and breathing that remain raised after two minutes of rest.
  • Signs of tiredness such as collapsing, depression, stumbling or lack of appetite in food.

 

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