Sunrise and sunset times.
Thanks to fantastic weather apps, we all have expert weather information at the palm of our hands.
Yet, there’s more to consider than the above elements when determining if it’s too hot to ride this summer.
Here are some practical tips to help you make the call when you ask, “how hot is too hot?” for equestrian activities:
- Horses that already live in warm climates are at least somewhat acclimated to the environment. However, we advise you to use precaution if you have a horse that has recently arrived from a cooler, drier climate. This is because it can take 21 days for the horse to get used to the new climate. Leading experts advise light workloads during this period of time as horses adjust to their new environment.
- As mentioned above, horses have to acclimatize to their workloads under their new, hotter, and stickier environment. If a horse is already fit going into summer, he’s more likely to tolerate the heat in an effective manner. If not, we recommend to gradually add exercise into the horse’s routine – while also lowering it down when the temperatures soar.
- Sweat – otherwise known as evaporation – is a horse’s primary means of cooling himself. There are other methods of heat dissipation though including convection, radiation, and even conduction — all of which play a role too. Finding a cool breeze and seeking shade is key when the Summer heat begins to feel burdensome. Offer horses a drink before, during, and after exercise and apply/scrape/repeat with cool water.
- Avoid hauling in a trailer during those extremely hot Summer days. The combination of additional sun rays and reduced air movement around your horse creates a highly uncomfortable environment. If you must haul, we highly recommend to go early in the morning, late in the evening, or even overnight. This allows your horse to benefit from cooler weather and less sun rays.
- Similar to the above, if your horse must be worked, choose a time earlier or later in the day – avoiding the middle of the day. This helps account for temperature, humidity, and the sun.
- Normal equine feedstuffs (hay, pasture, grain) don’t meet horses’ daily requirements for sodium. Additionally, horses tend to sweat a lot of sodium and chloride during the Summer heat. Hence, horses can become even deficient in essential minerals. For this reason, don’t forget to add salt and other electrolytes to the feed – or even to a second bucket of water.
Maybe on those really hot, humid days where there’s no wind, no cloud cover, and the sun is beating down, it’s time for an easy groundwork review, an extra grooming session, or a thorough tack cleaning!
Read more on Summer Care – 9 Essential Summer Care Tips For Your Horse