Summer is whispering...are you ready? While it feels like we were just bundled up for morning chores, we are now seeking shade by mid day. Are you prepared for working your horses and caring for them in the heat? Here are a couple suggestions for getting acclimated and enduring summer temps.
-Be diligent about providing your horses with clear, fresh water every day. If you water trough sets in the sun, it will heat up surprisingly fast. It's nice to do a mid day check to see the temperature.
-Electrolytes, loose salt, salt blocks and mineral blocks are your friends! Ever notice white crusty stuff on your horse? That's salt. Dried sweat. Make sure they have the option to replenish more than just water.
-Shelter, be it a building or a huge oak tree, horses need the option to seek out shade. This is a no brainer in the winter, but shelter in the summer is just as important.
-Start your chores earlier, which means you can start working the horses earlier, which means by the heat of the day everyone is done working and can escape the heat. Or, another option is to work the horses in the evening, however, I've always been one that likes to start my day with the barn.
-If you're going for a trail ride, look for trails that provide a nice canopy of trees, creek crossing, lakes, or better yet, head to higher elevation. There's nothing quite like mountain trails!
-Find ways to incorporate water. I love taking my horse to the lake and swimming with him. It's a pretty awesome experience to be on their back while they swim. If they aren't ready for that, use it as a training experience! Another way to incorporate water is bathes. Use a warm day to really get in there and clean and condition that dreadlocked mane and tail.
-Bugs can be intense at the beginning of summer, so make sure you have fly masks, fly spray, and even a fly sheet if needed. Check for daily bites or summer sores.
Most importantly, have fun. Summer can be a great time to take your horse and camp and explore the trails around you.