Owners have been advised on the best methods to keep their horses cool as warm weather continues across the UK. The British Horse Society (BHS) and equine scientist Dr David Marlin shared their insight into ensuring the best welfare for horses and ponies while temperatures remain high.

A constant supply of fresh water, access to shade and fly repellent were suggested as methods to keep your horse comfortable by the BHS. The charity also advised applying fly spray and a fly mask, if your horse is sensitive to flies, as well as avoiding exercising your horse in the hottest part of the day.

Dr Marlin suggested the following for training and competing horses in warm weather:

  • Travelling either very early or very late in the day
  • Providing water at all times, including when warming-up and competing
  • If your horse is sweating during training, add a balanced electrolyte to their daily feed
  • Don’t expect your horse to be able to perform as well in hot weather
  • Split your warm-up and offer water
  • Offer water immediately after exercise

He added that for rapid cooling, the horse’s body should be covered with cold or cool water as quickly as possible without stopping to scrape. This should be done for several minutes.

Older, younger or lager horses may find it harder to cope in hot weather, as well as those with health issues, dark colouring or overweight.

“If your horse is uncomfortable in hot weather then spraying them down and leaving the water to evaporate will help keep them cool and can be done every few hours,” he said. “Your horse will not overheat due to insulation by water – this is a myth!”

To read Dr Marlin’s full advice, visit his website or find him on Facebook at Dr David Marlin.

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