With France experiencing a recent spate of very hot weather, we thought we’d offer some advice on how you can help your equine cope with the heat.
- Provide ample clean, fresh water at all times. Horses can drink in excess of 50 litres a day during hot, dry weather. Stagnant water can be a breeding ground for bacteria so change regularly.
- Ensure your equine has access to shade – ideally a brick, stone or wooden building, but natural trees/hedges is better than nothing.
- In extreme temperatures bring them in during the day and turn out at night – this will also avoid most of the flies and will help sweet-itch sufferers.
- Hose or sponge down your equine – this will not only cool him but will rid the sweat that attracts the flies.
- Apply fly repellents or products such as Versatrine or Butox. A horse annoyed by flies and biting insects will run around and get hot. If your equine gets a bite that comes up in a lump try cold water hosing, applying a calamine type lotion or anti-histamine cream.
- Apply sun-block to delicate nose and muzzle areas.You can get equine brands but children’s sunblock is just as good. The stick form is sometimes easier to apply on fidgety animals.
- Using a fly mask with UV protection will not only help prevent eye infections caused by flies but will also help protect from the suns harmful rays.
- A fan in a stable or barn area may help with keeping your equine cool and fly free but its imperative to take care that the horse cannot come into contact with the fan or wiring, or spill water anywhere near it!
- If you are going to ride, do so early in the morning or late evening. Ensure your equine is cooled down slowly and then offer small sips of cool water instead of very cold water.
- If your horse is sweating excessively, then you may want to consider giving him some electrolytes.
- Hooves will often crack on hard, dry ground conditions. Whilst hosing used to be considered the ‘done thing’ to help with cracking, hoof applications (not hoof oil) such as Keratex and Kevin Bacons hoof products are now proving more popular.
- If you have no grass left in your fields then you may need to supplement with hay if your equine needs it.
Horses can suffer from heat stroke, much like humans can. Take note of some of the signs as you may need to call a vet to administer drugs if symptoms persist during the day:
- Rapid, shallow breathing
- Increased pulse rate
- Raised temperature for more than 30 mins
- Signs of weakness / depression
- Refusal to eat/work
- Signs of dehydration
What you can do initially:
- Bring him into a cool stable.
- Pour cool water over his back and neck
- Offer small amounts of water every few minutes.
- Offer electrolytes