Top Tips for Managing Your Horse in a Heatwave

Monday 15th August 2022

Blue Chip have shared some of their top tips with us for keeping your horse cool in a heatwave!

This is key in warm weather. Make sure your horse has constant access to fresh water. Stagnant water is the perfect breeding ground for bacteria and microbes, so ensure you change it often.

As your horse sweats, electrolyte stores diminish and will need replenishing. All Blue Chip balancers contain electrolytes for maintenance, you can also use regular salt, or buy specialised electrolytes for horses sweating more than average (likely those in hard work).

Turn Out
If your horse is turned out during the hotter parts of the day, ensure they have access to shade, shelter, and fresh water. Some horses do prefer relaxing in the sun, but it's always best for them to have a shady place to retreat if the sun gets too hot.

For stabled horses, ensure there is sufficient air flow in their stable, and make sure their stable is shaded (if their stable gets too hot, consider turning out your horse).

If your horse needs a fly sheet, make sure to use a white sheet; white reflects more heat than darker materials, and will not have the same heating effect. If your horse seems hot even with a white sheet, soak your horse using a hose pipe. Wet, white material is cooler than dry, white material.

Cooling Down
The most effective way to reduce body temperature, is a constant application of cold water. Don't worry about causing a shock or vasoconstriction - these are myths. Constant, cold
water (without scraping) is the gold standard for cooling down.

Heat Stroke
Make sure you know the signs of heat stroke. In horses, it often presents with lethargy, increased breathing rate (often shallow), flared nostrils, decreased appetite and thirst,
decreased urination and darker urine, as well as increased body temperature. If you suspect your horse is suffering from heat stroke, call your vet immediately, move your horse to a shaded area (if possible), and continuously soak them with cold water.

Cool Treats
Offer your horse cold treats to help them stay cool. Freezing treats (for example carrots and apples) in plastic tubs is a great way of offering them both stimulation, as well as an
opportunity to cool down. See our latest video on creating your own horse ice lolly!

It's hard to determine whether a horse is fit enough for exercise during a heat wave, but no one knows your horse as well as you do. If you do exercise them, consider decreasing exercise intensity on the hottest days, and make sure you hose them down with cold water without scraping after exercise.

All information is provided by Blue Chip Feed. Please email if you require more info or feeding advice.