G'day mates! As summer and warmer days are approaching, we're eager to dust off our boots and hit the trails with our four-legged friends. But, before we ride off into the sunset, let's talk about some important do's and dont's for the warmer weather, to keep your horse both happy and healthy all summer long!
The Do's for a Sizzling Summer:
Hydration is the Name of the Game
Just like us, horses need plenty of water to stay cool and energised. Make sure there's a constant supply of fresh, clean water in their paddocks. Check those troughs daily, and top them up when needed. And if you're hitting the trails, pack extra water for both you and your equine mate.
Horses can sweat up a storm during summer rides, and staying hydrated is crucial to prevent dehydration and heat stress. Remember, a well-hydrated horse is a happy and healthy one!
Invest in Fly Protection
The Aussie summer comes with its fair share of flying nuisances. Flies, mosquitoes, and other pesky insects can make your horse's life miserable. Invest in high-quality fly masks, fly sheets, and insect repellents to provide your equine mate with some much-needed relief.
Consider using natural, horse-friendly remedies like neem oil or citronella to deter flies without harsh chemicals. Your horse will thank you!
Provide Adequate Shade
As the sun beats down, your horse will need a cool place to seek refuge. Trees, shelters, and run-in sheds provide natural shade, while portable shades or tarps can be set up in areas lacking natural cover. A shaded spot allows your horse to take a break from the sun's harsh rays and helps prevent overheating.
Keep an Eye on Grazing Patterns
Summer can bring changes to pasture quality. The combination of heat and direct sunlight can cause grass to dry up or lose some of its nutritional value. Keep a close eye on your horse's grazing habits and consider supplementing their diet with high-quality hay to ensure they're getting the nutrients they need.
Remember, a balanced diet is the foundation of good health, so pay attention to your horse's nutritional needs during the summer months.
Maintain a Dust-Free Environment
Dust can be a major respiratory irritant for horses. If your paddock or riding arena tends to get dusty, take steps to minimise it. Watering down the ground can help settle dust particles, and using rubber mats or wood chips in high-traffic areas can provide a more comfortable surface.
Regular Exercise and Mental Stimulation
Summer is the perfect time to engage in light exercise and mental stimulation with your horse. Consider introducing new trails or riding environments to keep things interesting. Mental engagement is just as important as physical activity for a contented and well-rounded equine companion.
Practice Good Pasture Management
Keep an eye on your pasture's condition. Overgrazing can lead to nutrient deficiencies, so consider rotating pastures or using a grazing muzzle to limit intake. It's all about finding that sweet spot between giving your horse enough to eat and preventing overindulgence.
The Don'ts for a Cool Summer:
Don't Overwork in the Heat of the Day
The Australian sun can be unforgiving, especially during the peak hours of the day. Avoid strenuous activities during the hottest parts of the day. Instead, plan your rides for the early morning or late afternoon when temperatures are more forgiving.
Listen to your horse and watch for signs of fatigue or overheating. If your horse starts to sweat heavily or seems exhausted, it's time to take a break in the shade and offer some water.
Don't Neglect Hoof Care
The dry summer months can take a toll on your horse's hooves. Regular hoof trimming and inspections are crucial to prevent cracks, chips, and other issues. Consider applying a hoof conditioner to maintain moisture balance and prevent excessive drying.
After each ride, take a moment to pick out your horse's hooves. This simple step removes debris and helps prevent infection or discomfort.
Don't Skimp on Sunscreen
Yes, horses can get sunburned, especially those with light-coloured coats or pink skin. Apply a horse-friendly sunscreen to sensitive areas like the nose, ears, and any areas with light pigmentation. This small precaution can make a big difference in your horse's comfort and well-being.
Don't Let Pests Run Riot
Flies, ticks, and other pests can make your horse's life miserable. Regular grooming sessions provide an opportunity to check for unwanted guests. Use a high-quality insect repellent to deter pests, and keep the paddock area clean to eliminate breeding grounds.
Don't Forget About Regular Check-ups
Summer is a great time for bonding with your horse, but it's also important to stay on top of their health. Schedule regular check-ups with your vet to ensure your horse is in prime condition for all your summer adventures. Your vet can provide valuable insights and address any potential health concerns.
Avoid Sudden Changes in Diet
Summer is not the time to experiment with new feeds or make drastic changes to your horse's diet. Sudden alterations can lead to digestive issues or colic. If you need to adjust their nutrition, do so gradually over a period of several days to allow their digestive system to adapt.
So there you have it, a break down of do's and dont's as the summer fast approaches! Follow these do's and don'ts, and you and your horse will be set for a fantastic summer Down Under. Saddle up, hit the trails, and enjoy the warm weather with your trusty steed!