The summer can be absolutely brutal on your animals, particularly horses active in riding sports and disciplines. The consequences of sun and heat exposure can not only diminish your horse's competitive performance, but it can also severely affect their health.
Horses can sweat as much as a gallon of water in one mile of running, depleting electrolyte levels, leading to muscle problems such as azoturia which can result in your horse collapsing - other consequences of dehydration can be even worse.
Signs that your horse is dehydrated include:
#1. Skin not springing back quickly after a skin pinch test
#2. Dry or tacky gums
#3. Rapid or slow pulse rate
#4. Sweating less than usual
#5. Sunken looking eyes
To avoid these problems and keep your horse in the best of health, Waterman's Country Supplies will take you through our smartest ways to keep your horse hydrated during the next hot spell.
Easy Access To Fresh Water
If your horse(s) can't easily drink from troughs while they're exercising in a large field or unfamiliar place, they won't get enough opportunities to take on fluid.
Placing a number of troughs strategically within your horse's working environment will also ensure that the more alpha horses don't drink all the water before more subservient animals do.
Increase Dietary Salt
Find yourself wondering why your horse isn't drinking enough?
You can make the prospect of drinking more enticing by adding salt to your horses diet. Use either a salt lick or add good old-fashioned table salt to your horse's hard feed to create more of an urgency to drink. Just don't go overboard! Salt is a diuretic in large quantities and can very easily cause fluid loss.
Cool Things Down
As previously mentioned, your horse sweats. A lot. So if they're getting overheated, liberally apply a cold water saturated sponge or simply hose down with cool water.
Your horse's body temperature should be around 37.2-38.3°C, so continue the water cool off process until you hit this range.
Avoid 'Strange' Water
If you're travelling to a competition, remember that horses can recognise unfamiliar water. This means they're unlikely to drink if you're somewhere they're not used to.
Take an ample supply of clean water from your home to avoid any dehydrated problems during your next event.
Invest In Electrolytes
If you're serious about your horse's hydration, well-being and overall physical performance, it's worth investing in a proper equine electrolyte supplement to give your horse every day prior to a competition.
NAF Electro Salts is made for extended or working horses and comes filled with 6 essential minerals that help to prevent against the damage and breakdown of muscle, bone and cartilage tissue.
Drench Their Hay
Soaking grazing hay and grass in water is a great way of helping your horse take on water. Wet forage is also far more preferable to dry forage as dry forage can draw water into the gut and out from your horses other vital internal systems, leading to a more dehydrated animal.