Clip a draft for summer heat?
I purchased my first draft back in February. While she was born in Texas (where we live now), when we go pet the horses out in the pasture, I can noticeably tell the difference in her body heat to the touch vs. that of her QH pasturemates. She naturally has thicker hair, and of course muscle bulk that the others don't have. So I was considering clipping her and keeping her clipped for the summer. Would this actually help her to stay cooler, or would having the hair keep her cooler, as it would block the direct sun?
Also, she is rabicano, would I need to worry about the tiny white specks burning, or would they be small enough to not have pink skin exposed?
I wouldn't. She was born and raised in Texas so she is better equipped to deal with the heat. She does need shade and lots and lots of water and salt. What I would watch is how much hay she eats. (if she's not on pasture). I might get a few days above 100 and when it gets that hot, a few of mine really cut back on eating hay. They don't tend to drop weight as they don't do much work or moving around when it gets that hot. I'm guessing that the hindend digestion process that produces heat is the main reason. Keep with finer stemmed immature hays at the hottest part of the summer. I do have a Clyde mare that lives in the water tank or pond when she can.
She is on pasture, a 20 acre field with plenty of trees and a tank. She has a salt lick, which she loves. I try to work her only when it is cooler, and will frequently hose her down before and after working. As summer hits us full on though, we'll have weeks where it doesn't drop below 90 even at night. If she's already that warm to the touch (high is around 80) just standing, I want to make her as comfortable as possible in the heat.
i would put one of those big squirrel cage fans out in front of her pasture. You will find that is where they will choose to live. LOL.
I don't see why you couldn't do an underbelly and neck clip or low trace clip, that way it would be cooler, especially when she is worked, yet most of the protective coat would stay in tact for the winter if she doesn't need/ you don't rug her in the winter (don't no how cold it gets in texas!).
I feel even if she was born in texas and has developed some ways of coping, drafts mostly originate from colder countries and therefore will never be able to deal very well with hot weather (however this could be wrong!). Most of the draft I no in England are clipped and our summer are alot more mild I believe.
Also I think this would be a better sollution than constantly hosing which will wash natural oils (not sure if the right phrase!) from her skin.
I would ditch the salt lick and make sure she has loose salt so you know she's getting what she needs. Make sure she has loose minerals to replenish the electrolytes she looses through sweat (no need to buy packaged electrolytes because that's all they are). I will also mix Lite Salt in to give extra K when it's bad.
She'll let you know if you need to change her care. Mine will line up by the watertank when I'm filling it. If I spray them and they don't walk away, that tells me they want it.
Our horses shed their entire coats consistently, but being in Wisconsin, even weather in the 80s will get to them. We used to have a dairy farm, and have a few huge box fans, (I'm 5'9" and they come up to my shoulder, for reference,) and after the initial shock of the giant fan, the do like it. They don't get it on them 24/7, but sometimes after a bath for fast drying, but I can see where horses could enjoy a fan on them.
If you have plenty of water to your disposal, I would hose them down and make sure to soak them instead of just getting the top layer of hair. If my horses are out sweating, I take the liberty to give them a good soak.
She is kept on pasture 24/7, not fed grain, so there is no other way to get salt/mineral into her system than blocks. Her water source is the tank, so I can't add something to the water. She is boarded, so a massive fan is not an option.
Flipper - that is my point exactly, being born in the south may help a bit, but it certainly doesn't make-up for a few hundred years of breeding for the snow. She is more apt to overheat than the light horses do. She is shed into her summer coat completely by now, and while it is significantly thinner than her winter coat, it's still a heafty coat of hair compared with the typical American breed's coat.
Summers here get pretty hot, too, the same temperatures you mention, and I boarded in a stable with several drafts that are more used to chilly winters than to summer heat. None were clipped, some of them were older, some of the - young. They were provided with a run-in and the pastures, in which were they were turned out 24/7, had several shaded areas with a number of large trees. They had free access to water and salt licks. And all did absolutely well, no problems at all, although we gave them closer supervision during the hottest days.
By the way, proper, healthy coat helps termoregulation also during heat, not only freezing temperatures. I'd say - don't clip .
A salt lick does not provide adequate salt so please also provide her with free flowing salt, either household iodized or coarse pickling salt or mix them. A salt lick works best with a raspy bovine tongue. The tongue of the horse gets sore so it doesn't take in enough. Research has proven the intake with loose salt is often 1/3 more than with the lick.
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