Heat stress puts your horse at risk for dehydration, weakness, colic, even heat-stroke and coma.
Horses that are dark in color, old, over-weight, out of shape, ill or exercising strenuously are at higher risk and should be watched in hot weather for signs of:
- Excessive salivation
- Stumbling gait
- Heavy sweating or lack of sweating
- Fast heartbeat
- High temperature
- Refusal to eat or drink
- Take care not to expose your horse to excessive heat and humidity, especially if the horse is actively working or being ridden.
- Be sure to provide plenty of fresh clean water at all times
- Ensure your horse has access to shade all day
- If you have multiple horses in pasture be sure one horse doesn’t get kicked out into the sun all day!
- Ask your vet about adding salt or electrolytes to your horses feed
- Put a fan outside your horse’s stall to cool her
- Feed your horse soaked hay, bran mash or soaked beet pulp
- Avoid feeding your horse a big meal before exercise
- If you suspect your horse is suffering from the heat, cool them down quickly with water applied to the skin, over the forehead, neck, jugular groove and lower legs.
- Once the horse is less distressed you can continue hosing off the entire body until the water runs cool, indicating no more heat is coming from your horse.
- Offer small amounts of tepid water at intervals, if she refuses to drink come back to it in a few minutes
- If your horse is severely stressed, their skin is dry or not elastic,or their temperature is over 105 call your vet immediately. He or she may need to administer fluids and electrolytes intravenously.
Remember, this page is for advice only but if there is any question at all about what you should do, call your vet.