Tuesday Tip – Horses & Hot Weather!

It seems that there are lots of conflicting articles out there about the best way to cool a hot horse on a hot day. I thought it would be interesting to gather together a few different links here so we can research this together! I have a researchers mind and love to read and learn all I can about topics that I find interesting. It just so happens that anything with the word “horse” in the title is interesting to me. LOL! So I’m dragging you guys into this with me…


The first one seems like a very well laid out, well thought out and well researched one:

Caring for Horses During Hot Weather

Graphic from article

This was taken from a Facebook post that then directed us to the article I linked above:

Question: I have heard (and practiced) getting as much water out of a horse’s coat in the summer is important. I have also heard that leaving water on a hot horse during a hot day can act as a heating pad on an already hot horse. Is this true?

Response: This is not true as we’ve learned from newer research. Cool water is one of the most effective ways to cool off a hot horse after exercise. Through conduction, heat will move from the hot horse to the cool water until a similar temperature is reached. However, research has shown that scraping water from a horse does not affect their body temperature during, or after, cooling. The key to a successful cool-down is providing a continuous flow of water over the horse’s back and major blood vessels. Horses dissipate heat through their skin, particularly under the saddle when ridden, and as cool water flows over the skin, heat is drawn away from the horse. This is why cool water from a hose will feel warm after it has traveled over the horse’s coat. When water is readily available, a continuous stream over the horse’s body efficiently draws out the heat and removes it from the horse. A fully cooled horse will have cool water dripping off them rather than warm water.


10 Hot Weather Horse Care Tips

From this link:

5. Provide fresh, cool water and an electrolyte source. Make sure your horse has plenty of fresh, cool water. A bucket hanging on a pasture fence will get warm and the water will no longer be appealing. Left long enough, the water will also become stagnant and unhealthy. If you are providing clean, cool water and your horse doesn’t seem to be drinking, then encourage it by providing a salt block, or even by misting hay with salt water. If your horse is sweating a great deal, water laced with electrolytes can help keep its body in balance. Whenever you offer electrolytes, however, be sure to offer a second source of fresh water, as well. Not all horses will drink electrolyte-laced water, so providing a source of water without them will ensure your horse keeps drinking. Also, too many electrolytes can be harmful.


Cooling Out a Hot Horse

From the above link:

2.Letting a horse drink all he wants after exercise will cause founder (or colic
Again, completely false. Water cannot make a horse founder, no matter how much he drinks, or when. (An important exception to this is the horse that is severely overheated. See sidebar “Heat Can Kill.”)


10 Facts About Horses and Hot Weather

From the link above:

Unlike dogs and most other animals, horses have sweat glands throughout their skin. Sweating creates “evaporative cooling”—as water changes from a liquid to a gas, it absorbs energy from its surroundings. In this case, that energy is in the form of heat from the skin and the air just above, leaving it cooler. But sweating is actually a horse’s secondary cooling mechanism. What is the first?

a. dilation of the capillaries in the skin

b. heavy breathing

c. flattening of the haircoat

d. all of the above

Answer: a. dilation of the capillaries in the skin. As blood flows through the body of a horse at rest, heat is absorbed from the muscles and organs. When the blood reaches vessels that lie just under the surface of the skin, the excess warmth dissipates into the cooler outside air. When a horse exercises, the amount of internal heat generated by his muscles increases. To maintain a constant internal body temperature, the excess heat must be dissipated faster. To accomplish that goal, the capillaries become dilated so more blood will be sent to the skin. If a horse continues working to the point that the capillaries cannot keep up with the heat he is generating, only then will he begin to sweat. Panting, like a dog, and flattening the hair to allow air to reach the skin more readily also have some cooling effect, but these are not the primary mechanisms horses rely on.

I hope you enjoyed this walk inside my research mind. I learned a lot looking up all these articles. I will no longer worry that Zorro will have a tummy ache if I allow him to drink his fill after a long, hot drive!

**All words shown in bold brown are links to outside website pages. This means they will take you to another website. To view the articles, click on the links!

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