Evaluate Your Horse’s Nutritional Health
Summer heat can take an unexpected toll on your horse’s health. The nutritional value of grass plummets when it reaches a certain age, and as a result, our horse’s nutrition is compromised. So even though the view outside your barn window may be misleadingly green, now isn’t the time to fall off on your monthly weight evaluations.
Keeping Your Horse Healthy During The Hot Summer
- Keep an eye out for dehydration and heat-induced illnesses. Horses can sweat up to four gallons of water and electrolytes per hour on a hot day.
- Provide adequate water, shade and electrolytes for your horse, as he’ll need a full range of nutritional support to help combat the effects of summer.
- Stay on top of parasites with regular de-worming. Parasites can be more abundant in taller grass, so proper worming is extremely important.
- Pack your horse’s feet every other day with clay and use a premium hoof conditioner on the bulbs of the heel and coronary band to keep the hoof from drying out from lack of moisture in the soil.
- Hose your horse with warm water to open up the pores after exercise and when bringing him in from the field.
- Turn out in early morning and evening to avoid midday heat.
- Use sunscreen on white areas of your horse’s face. Horses will burn.
- Hose down stalls and wet hay to add moisture to your horse’s environment and digestive system.
The Importance of Good Digestive Health When the Temperature Rises
Itâ€™s imperative to keep your horse’s GI tract healthy so that he can get the most out of lower nutrient grass. Good GI health aids natural immunity to help horses deal with less than ideal conditions from the inside out, so be sure to feed a high-fiber diet and try to cut back or cut out hard to digest grains on horses that aren’t moving too much. Twice yearly dentistry is also essential to overall health, as chewing thoroughly aids in nutrient absorption and produces the saliva that helps break down food and buffer the acids in the stomach. Mature grass contains a larger proportion of indigestible fiber than new spring grass, so it’s essential to aid your horse’s digestion however possible. Probiotics and ulcer treatment will complete job of having a healthy digestive tract.
Schedule Morning Or Evening Turnout to Reduce Fructan Ingestion
Horse owners often mistakenly believe that the risk of colic and laminitis is decreased when grass is no longer springtime-lush. That’s not actually true, as fructan levels are much higher in mature grass. Higher levels of fructans (or sugars) can upset the balance in the hindgut, leading to hindgut acidosis, colonic ulcers, laminitis, and colic. Fructan levels are highest in the afternoon on sunny days, so try to move your horse into pastures with shorter grass where the fructans are lower.