It’s the start of the summer season in New Jersey and the communities of Somerset County are preparing for warm weather that could go well above 76 degrees. And since Somerset County is also New Jersey’s Horse Country, not only the residents are bracing for the high temps but also their faithful equine family companions.
For those who have horses in their midst, these tips for keeping them cool this summer will serve both human and animal well so both can enjoy the best that the season can offer.
Watch out for the signs
Horses become more prone to hyperthermia (abnormally high body temperature) in the summer months when the weather is so hot. If the horse begins to manifest these signs, then it may be overheating:
- Elevated heart rate
- Muscle spasms
- Decreased appetite
- Heavy panting
Never take the above-mentioned symptoms lightly as severe dehydration could put the horse’s life at risk. For mild cases, both cool water and an electrolyte solution can be administered once in the shade. For extreme cases, immediate veterinary help will be required.
Instead of bringing the horse to a point where it begins to manifest the above-mentioned symptoms, it would be better to avoid the situation with the next tips below:
Keep your horse hydrated
Horses drink up to 55 liters of water a day so make sure you have troughs scattered throughout your farm that are filled with water for them. Add electrolyte supplements to their diet, as well, to lessen chances of dehydration. Instead of giving them cold water after rides, a better alternative would be to give them two to four liters of water before the ride then allow them access to water after 10 to 15 minutes into the ride.
Provide proper shade and ventilation
A horse’s body temperature should not go higher than 102 degrees Fahrenheit. But, should it get to this point, call for a vet immediately. Either keep it in the shade or return it to the stable. (Make sure the stable is also well-ventilated.) If you’re in the middle of riding, seek shade under a tree from time to time to avoid heat stress.
Reduce riding times
If you truly care about your horse’s health, especially in these hot summer months, pick a time of the day when the sun is not at its highest. A good suggestion would be in the early morning or in the evening as these are cooler times of the day. Also, reduce ride times to an hour or less from your usual riding time.
Allow the horse to cool down after rides
When you’re done with a sunny day’s ride, allow your horse to take all the time it needs to recover. After all, the extreme physical activity, coupled with the scorching heat, could bear down even on the mightiest steed. Letting it slow down its pace as you wind down with your ride will allow its body to recover from the stress it endured and bring down its internal temperature.
Give it a cool shower
Before giving your horse a nice shower post-ride, remove saddle pads, chain guards, bandages, boots, and other horse gear first. Then, hose it down with a splash of cool water to regulate its body temperature.
Let this summer be the best one for both you and your horse in Somerset County, NJ. For more advice on living here, call our team at Pagnotta Homes at 908.436.7947 or contact us via email.We’ll be happy to help!