It's Been Really Hot Out... Am I Doing the Right Things?
It's been really hot and humid where I live, so I have been very cautious with how much exercise I give my horses.
I will ride for 30-45 minutes when it's this hot out. This usually includes mostly walk/trot and a few laps of canter. I never jump when it's this hot out, although I will do poles if they are set up.
After I ride, I untack, hose him off, wait for him to dry, and if he's still hot I hose him again. Then I put him in his stall where he has a fan blowing on him.
I have noticed that he doesn't drink a lot... I use automatic waters. I'm not sure how much he drinks in the field either. Is there any way to give him a little extra water?
He has a salt lick in his stall and he loves it and licks it all the time, but then he doesn't drink afterwards. He gets some garlic in his feed too.
It sounds to me like you are on the right path. Hosing them off after a workout will also help to keep their coat healthier.
As for the drinking, does he appear to be ganted up in his flanks? You know, how a horse looks after a long ride or a day without water? If not, then I bet he is getting enough water. One way to encourage him to drink more would be to mix in some fruit jello with a bucket of water.
I wouldn't worry about the water thing. If he is thirsty he will know to drink his water unless he is unwell. Hosing off is a good idea. Expecially the knee and down on the lower leg because that will help the horse cool off faster because the legs would be the warmest part of the body after the exercise. They can exercise in the heat but don't do it too hard and always remember to cool down by walking them out (I'm sure you knew that already though) We have extermely hot weather right now too and we will either exercise the horses in the early morning or in the later evening when it isn't as hot out.
Just remember with the hosing. If you just hose a hot horse once and leave it at that, it can actually make the horse hotter since his body will just instantly heat the water. You're better off hosing, scraping off, hosing again, scraping off, etc until his body feels cool. If it's super hot/humid out, a bucket of water with some rubbing alcohol in it sponged on will cool him down faster. Like Starlet said, start with the legs. That's where most of the circulation is happening. Cool them and you cool most of the horse.
I give my horse electrolytes to help replenish him. I use Apple A Day and it smells like jolly ranchers. It's great because as long as I have that in with his mix he'll eat bute, antibiotics and whatever else happens to need to be thrown in there with it. So it serves two purposes!
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