5 Tips to Combating Heat Stress in Horses

Jun 12, 2020

Tara Jo Bina
Countryside Feed Livestock Nutrition
There is no doubt summer heat has arrived! As temperatures and humidity continue to climb, now is a great time to consider how uncomfortable your horses can get this time of year. Here are a few tips to help keep your trusty steed as happy and comfortable this summer:
1.Adjust Feeding Schedules
Hot temperatures and heat stress commonly cause horses to go off feed. One way to combat this effect is to adjust feeding schedules. Feeding concentrates earlier in the morning and later at night as well as portioning out hay so that the majority is offered at night allows your horse to consume feed when they are most comfortable. This can help ensure horses are eating to fulfill their requirements during the summer!
The sun can be relentless on hot summer days. Walk in sheds and shade tarps are great options for providing shade for horses to escape direct sunlight in pasture and dry lot settings! 
3.Air Movement
It is hard to think of many things as miserable as dealing with hot, stagnant air. Circulating air by turning on fans is one way to help horses stay comfortable in summer heat. Fans can be put up in barns, paddock, and even in pasture settings where there is not much natural air movement.
Sweating is the primary method horses use to maintain their body temperature in hot weather. This means they require plenty of fresh, clean drinking water available. Staying hydrated is very important in helping combat heat stress.
Evaporative and conductive cooling are very effective ways to cool off in the summer. Cool baths or utilizing sprinkler systems in the heat of the day are great options to take advantage of these natural methods of heat abatement. 
5.Reduce Stress and Activity
Summer is a very busy time in the horse world. Between daily maintenance, routine health care, training, and events among many other activities, this can be a stressful and active time for most horses. When possible try stick to conducting activities in the cooler morning or evening times. This allows you to do what needs to be done while still allowing your horse to relax and stay as cool as possible in the hottest part of the day.
Contact your Countryside Feed representative for tips on keeping your horses cool this summer!

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