1) Make sure there is always fresh clean water available for your horse (and yourself) – drinking is important to avoid dehydration.
2) Try riding early in the morning or late afternoon/evening and avoid the hot midday sun. Also check his breathing and keep an eye out for signs of dehydration like lethargy, weakness and a raised pulse. You can also check for dehydration with the ‘skin pinch test’.
3) If your horse has a light coloured nose or heels put some sunscreen on those sensitive areas – he burns as easily as you do!
4) After riding treat him to a refreshing shower by hosing down the saddle area and legs (including in between his back legs). This also gets rid of sweat which attracts flies.
5) If you are using horse boots take them off as soon as possible after riding and cool your horse’s legs with water or cooling boots (e.g. WW Hot & Cold Therapy Boot).
6) If possible invest in horse boots made from breathable material that aid air circulation around the tendons.
7) Use rivers, ponds or lakes near you to cool your horse and yourself down during or after a hack. This will be fun for your horse, as well as beneficial! Make sure though it is safe and permitted to access the water on horseback.
8) Take special care of ground conditions as the ground can become very hard during hot dry weather periods. Try not to trot or canter for too long on hard ground to avoid unnecessary stress on tendons and joints.
9) Make sure your horse has access to shade while he is out in the field. Shade can be provided naturally from trees or hedges or man-made from a shelter if no trees are around. It is also a good idea to place a salt lick here to give the horse a chance to replace any minerals and electrolytes it might have lost through sweating.
10) Flies can drive us all crazy during the summer. However, they are not only annoying but can also carry diseases and worms. Therefore
• Poo pick fields regularly (daily if possible) as excrement attracts flies.
• Always have fly spray at hand and apply particularly before going on a ride or before turning him out in the field.
• Consider putting a fly rug and/or fly mask on your horse if he is very sensitive to flies.
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