Everybody loves summer – the weather’s warm, the fields are green and you can finally enjoy a long, relaxed hack to help unwind after a stressful day at work. However, summer does come with its downsides, so read on to find out our top tips for keeping your horse happy.
While your horse may be able to enjoy more time out in the field now that the ground has dried up, one of the downsides of summer is increased numbers of flies and midges. Fly spray can be a good deterrent, but sometimes a stronger approach is needed to repel pesky insects. Invest in a quality fly rug made from lightweight, breathable fabric, such as the Bridleway Edmonton combo fly rug or Sweet-itch Bug Stoppa rug, and team with a fly mask for head-to-tail protection. If possible, stable your horse at dawn and dusk, when the midges are at their worst, and keep him away from areas of standing water because these areas are a haven for biting insects.
British weather is notoriously changeable. If your horse needs protection from summer rain showers or a sudden chilly spell, a quality lightweight turnout rug, such as the Bridleway Ontario rug with its funky print, is perfect for keeping him dry and comfortable. Choose a rug made from breathable fabric and keep a careful eye on him to make sure he doesn’t get too hot under the midday sun.
One of the brilliant things about summer is that you can take your horse out and about to lots of shows and other fun activities. However, while these are great fun, working up a sweat can lead to dehydration and the loss of important mineral salts. Help replenish these by giving your horse an electrolyte supplement, which should be added to a bucket of water or a wet, slushy feed, such as soaked sugar beet. Don’t forget to take a water carrier and sweat scraper with you on your travels so you can wash away sweat, which might cause irritation if it’s left to dry on his skin, and bring down his body temperature, too. If you’re working him at home, a cooling spray with the hose will lower his body temperature, remove sweat and make him feel more comfortable.
It might be nice to feel warm again after months of cold weather, but the sun can be fierce. If your horse has areas of sensitive pink skin, consider investing in some sun protection cream to prevent him being burned. Avoid riding in the middle of the day, when the sun is at its strongest, or try to stick to shady areas and indoor arenas.