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As with other animals, horses can also struggle in hot weather, particularly if they are not acclimatised (which can take at least 2–3 weeks). Larger horses, heavy breeds and overweight horses are at the most risk.
During hot periods, it’s not uncommon to see horses with heat exhaustion, dehydration and signs of colic, so to help prevent these conditions, follow these simple steps:
- If possible, turn your horse out at night and keep them inside during the day. If this isn’t possible, try and turn them out early in the morning before it gets hot, and make sure they have access to shade and shelter.
- Provide cool, fresh water in at least two buckets.
- Clip them to remove any excess coat.
- If your horse has pink ears or thin skin, use sun cream (that is suitable for pets and is hypoallergenic and un-perfumed) as they can get sun burn.
- Exercise your horse early in the morning and/or later in the evening when the temperature has dropped.
- If you are competing, make sure someone is at the end of course with water and a sweat scraper to help cool the horse off quickly.
- Provide fly masks and ear nets.
- Don’t put a coat/blanket on your horse in hot weather.