Managing Your Horse At A Competition In The Heat

By Dr Carly Garling

The Australian Summer can bring extremely hot and sunny days, so it is important to know how to adequately care for your horse in these conditions, especially at a competition. Our equine welfare veterinarians suggest the following tips:

  • Bring plenty of water for your horse and have a bucket and scraper on hand. 
  • When you finish a class, dismount your horse, remove all tack and move into the shade.
  • If your horse is sweating up, the quickest way to cool him/her is by hosing over the body and scraping.
  • If you are offering your horse hay throughout the day, soak it in water first.
  • It is also important you offer your horse water regularly (every 30mins) in hot conditions.
  • Give your horse an electrolyte paste at the end of the day, You can also put salt in your horses feed (30g) to encourage them to drink.

Signs of heat stress:

  • Your horse will feel hot to touch.
  • Your horse may become agitated, distressed and begin kicking out with hind legs for no apparent reason.
  • Your horse’s gait may become wobbly.
  • Your horse may put his head down below his withers and look dull (no longer bright and looking around at other horses). 

If your horse displays any of the above symptoms, it is best to seek advice from the event veterinarian. 

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