Dealing with the hot weather

The UK and the rest of Europe has been bathing in not just warm weather but an intense heat wave, and this week we've experienced the warmest day so far where in the early afternoon it was +35C here in Wiltshire! PLEASE be extra careful with your horses and ponies if you're out riding, hacking, training or competing this week as it looks like that the hot summer weather has truly arrived ☀️ Due to the cooler weather last week, horses are not used to the heat and are not acclimatised to working in such warm temperatures and with a sudden change like this, there is a huge risk for heat stroke. 
Here's what I do to deal with the hot weather:

1.) Either avoid riding in the hottest parts of the day (11am-6pm) and/or reduce the intensity and duration of your rides. It tends to get hot from 9am onwards and truly doesn't even start to cool down until 6pm. I know lots of people ride before work, but as I prefer having the horses turned out at 6am rather than riding them I ride after work late into the night, starting with the first horse at 7pm #nightowl 🌙 

2.) Remember to have lots of water. This seems like an obvious point to make but it is SO easy to forget to continuously drink throughout the day and you know just how important it is to stay hydrated. I have a glass of cold water before I get on each horse and another glass of water as soon as I've taken the horse's tack off, because that way I feel like I can successfully keep the dehydration at bay! It’s also essential that your horse has access to plenty of fresh water on hot days. Ours get fresh water when they come in from the paddocks at midday, another set at 3/4pm and once again the waters are changing during evening stables. If they've drunk lots over night they get extra water at 6am too. I also offer them new water straight after I've ridden as this is when they're most likely to drink! If you don't have automatic waters you do have to keep a close eye on their waters 🕵🏼

3.) Give your horses lots of baths or a good cold hose down! 🚿 When we bring in the horses from their paddocks they all get a cold hose to wash off any sweat and to get rid of the fly spray on their bodies. I prefer leaving the horses inside in the shade for the hottest part of the day so it's nice for them to have the chance to get a cold shower before that - they all stand still like statues when they're having a shower so I know they're loving it! Remember that shade, even if hot, is better than full sun!

4.)  Most importantly, little tricks to get that extra water consumption, like soaking hay/hayledge for a few minutes to get it "wet" and leaving apples (or even just slices of apples 🍏) in their water buckets to get them to get that tiny bit more water into their bodies. Every little bit helps! 

5.) Make sure your horses get a wet feed and add in electrolytes or salt to help avoid dehydration. When horses are having to work in hotter temperatures they obviously sweat more, so make sure you're adding salt to rebalance this as the risk of tying up and dehydration are very high!
I hope these tips have given you ideas how to help your horse cope with the heat and how to get the best out of these beautiful summer days!
Happy summer riding 💙

1 comment:

  1. Good advise Roosa and team! Hope you're enjoying the weather too x