Shade/shelter from the sun
Hopefully this is the right place for this -
We're in the process of MAYBE getting a horse (our neighbors have four of them and they've offered us one of them). I'm bidding out the shelter and fence right now. I've been trying to do a crash course in equine science, management, care, etc. I know horses can get sunburned and need UV protection. The horse we are looking at getting is a brown/white Saddlebred, so he's got quite a bit of light coloring. The neighbors keep them in their barn on really hot/bright days (which is what we're having right now). But we're not always going to be home to pull him in/out of the barn at a moments notice should the weather get hot. The acreage we have has quite a few large trees on it that offer a fair amount of shade if you stay under it.
So after all that, here's the question:
Are horses generally smart enough to seek shade/shelter from the heat/sun on their own? I would have thought yes, but the neighbor says he has to round them up as they won't go back into the barn on their own. I just don't want to end up with a baked horse if we leave him out in the morning (or whenever) and aren't around to pull him back inside should the weather get bad. Obviously I can keep track of the forecast, but we all know that's not 100% reliable. I think the trees we have would be more than adequate to give him a break, I just want to make sure he's smart enough to use it :)
Most horses with a white face will suffer from sunburn around the muzzle and I am told above the hoof. Even on relatively cool days by Southern US standards we
apply high factor protective cream.
During the Summer we Brits also have a tendency to bring our horses in during the day and let them out at night - this also means we can cut them off from eating too much lush grass
Black horses have another problem - the colour of their hair will increase the absorption of heat.
Are horses clever enough to recognize the danger? - who knows, you'll only find out by default when the horse is sunburnt.
Incidentally we also apply fly repellent - sometimes even fly masks.
Personally my dapple grey mare always comes in from 10am thru to 4pm on sunny days and this little island is not known for being either sunny or hot.
Down in Southern Spain they build open sided shelters for both Andalucian & Arab horses which are supposedly native to sunny climes.
My horses are never put in. They have a cluster of trees, a hay shed, and an open barn- we've never had an issue with sunburn, and Tango is pretty darn light, so I would assume yes, but who knows? Just like some people are too 'thick' to stay out of the sun, then I'm sure some horses are too.
Yup, they're defiantly "smart enough", they just choose not to. Like another poster above stated.. SUNSCREEN! It works, I had a point with a bald face who's muzzle was constantly burnt. We just put on (I forget what it's actually called, lol) baby-butt-cream (diaper rash stuff I think? It starts with a 'Z'), and for extra protection we used a dark-colored fly-mask that covered her entire face. ;) Hope it helps.
Although, You could build a cheap lean-to as shelter. That's all we have and our horses are fine.
All of our horses are outside year around with nothing more for shelter than trees. They will stand under them when they feel the need to. The times they think they should be sheltered are often not the same times that we think they should be sheltered. The best advice has already been stated; if the horse has a white muzzle, then either sunscreen or a protective garment would be a good thing to have. Also, if you have a lot of lightening and thunderstorms in your area, a 3 sided lean-to probably wouldn't be a bad idea so they aren't standing under a tree when it gets struck by lightening.
Yeah, we've been looking at the various sunscreen products and have been reading up on it. I guess we'll play it by ear if we get him :) Pic of him for reference - he was more interested in eating, so he didn't pose very well.
What a stunning boy! Just watch out for melanoma.
He's gorgeous! =) It looks like there are plenty of trees there though so he should have good shade.
Mine are all smart enough to seek shade and protection from the flies.
Interestingly, they will come out for short periods to graze, even on the hottest days. Their schedule is not the strict in by 9AM, out at 6PM that I might impose on them, but they do chose to stay out of the sun and they maintain beautiful, not sunbleached coats on their own schedule.
With your pretty pinto boy, I would watch him carefully for the first week or so and see what he does, and then perhaps invest in a summer sheet or fly sheet and perhaps sunscreen for the white areas of his face.
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