Caring for horses changes substantially in the summer. Instead of blanketing and keeping horses warm, dry, and well fed, you’ll be fighting pests, heat, and sometimes even disease. Here are four tips for summer horse care to help your equines stay healthy and safe this season.
If you haven’t already yet this year, get your vet out to do spring shots and a general exam. Many of the diseases that horses are vulnerable to are spread by mosquitoes and flies, so immunizations are best done in the spring or early summer to be sure your horses are protected before the bug season gets well under way. Your vet can also check your horse’s weight and give you recommendations for feeding as you go into what is generally a more active time for most pleasure horses.
Speaking of mosquitoes and flies, even with your horse properly immunized, one of the most basic tenants of summer horse care is having good pest control. Keeping your horse comfortable generally requires a two-pronged approach of keeping the pest population down as well as providing your horse with protection. You can design and care for your property in order to minimize pest populations as best as possible, and there are also products such as as Fly Predators to cut down on bug populations. Fly sheets and masks can protect your horse from bugs out in the pasture. Finally, don’t overlook the simplest approach: simply applying fly spray on a regular basis.
Aside from the bugs, the heat is your horse’s biggest enemy in the summer. Making sure your horse has access to shelter can go a long way toward keeping him cool and happy during hot weather. A fly sheet can also help, as most are lightweight as well as light in color to reflect the sun. To prevent heat stroke, avoid working your horse when the heat and/or humidity levels are extreme, and allow your horse the opportunity to drink periodically if you’re going for a long ride. If your horse has a condition such as Cushings that prevents him from shedding his winter hair adequately in the summer, be sure to help him stay cool by clipping his coat.
A lot of horse owners don’t think about it, but you’ll most likely see more rapid hoof growth in the summer. This may be partly because of a richer diet if your horse is on pasture, but more likely it’s simply due to an increase in activity, which stimulates hoof growth. To ensure you don’t have problems with lost shoes or chippy, overgrown hooves, make sure you keep your farrier on a regular schedule. You may even find you have to shorten the length of time between his visits.
Most importantly of all, get out there while the weather is nice and enjoy it! Whether you show, trail ride, or just spend time with your horse, summer is the season horse people wait all year for. Get out there and have a good time!
With increased summer activity levels of course come necessary changes in your horse’s diet. For advice on feeding and other summer horse care tips, contact Sacate Pellet Mills today.