Horses can cope with cool weather better than hot weather. Their internal heating system is much better at keeping them warm than cooling them down.
Choosing cooler turnout times
If your horse has a stall, but is turned out for part of the day, provide turnout during the cooler hours, try to have the horse go outside as early as possible during the day. Remember, the summer heat can also take a toll on the quality of your pasture so you might need to provide additional feed as the grass becomes sparse to maintain proper body condition and energy.
If your horse lives outdoors or if he must be outside during the day, provide relief from the sun.
Plenty of fluids
Make sure your horse has plenty of fresh, cool water. A bucket hanging on a pasture fence will get warm and the water will no longer be appealing, left long enough the water will also become stagnant and unhealthy. If you are providing clean, cool water and your horse doesn’t seem to be drinking, then encourage it by providing a salt block, or even by misting hay with salt water.
Horses, especially white horses, can suffer from sunburn. Applying sunblock to small, particularly vulnerable areas can be effective. Staying out of the sun’s harmful rays will, of course, be best.
Knowing the signs of heat stroke
Heat stroke can happen anytime your horse is exposed to excessive heat that their body cannot handle. Heatstroke can happen if exercising in hot conditions, but be aware that it can also happen if standing in a hot stall or trailer.
Signs of heat stroke can include:
- Excessive sweating or lack of sweating;
- Temperature that persists above 103°F
- Depression or lethargy
- Signs of dehydration
- dry mucous membranes
- Poor capillary refill
- Poor skin turgor
If you are concerned that your horse is suffering from heat stroke, call your veterinarian immediately and get your horse into a cooler environment.