How to handle the heat?

By Sue Palmer
I have to say that personally, I am loving the weather that we are having in the UK at the moment! As long as I don’t have to move around too fast, and I can get into the shade on a regular basis, I would far rather that it was warm and dry than cold and wet. I’m lucky though. My job is outdoors, I can treat the horses in the stables if we need to be in the shade, and although my work involves much physical effort, it is not cardiovascular.

I realise, however, that not everyone feels the same, and that many people are struggling to know what to do for the best for the horses when the sun has shone for such a prolonged period of time. We are not used to it in England! The grass has dried up, and people are having to feed hay in the fields as there is nothing there for the horses to eat. Does anyone know, by the way, when it is safe for the horses to eat hay that has been cut and baled this year?

So today’s blog is asking what advice you can offer others in relation to maintaining your horses health, and a reasonable degree of comfort, in the hot weather? Dr David Marlin offers some excellent advice on his FB page on how to cool horses quickly, including spraying them with cold water. Commonsense tells us not to overwork horses on the hard ground any more than we would overwork them on the soft ground, as the repeated concussion could lead to injury. I would hope that everyone is providing their horse with a constant source of water, although I spoke to a client this week who found her horse had had no water during the day, despite being on full livery.

What hardships have you found in the heat, and how have you overcome them? Or do you, like me, enjoy the warm weather?

Look forward to hearing from you 🙂

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Photo by Ivana Cajina on Unsplash

Right clothes for the weather?

In the recent heatwave I spent some time observing how people dressed. Some people are very prepared, the moment the sun appears, so do they dressed in cute sundresses, with matching sandals. Others, (myself included) seem to take a few days before they realise that they need to adjust their clothing to the current conditions. A few people just carry on regardless, wearing the same outfit that they wear throughout the year.

This has more to do with horses than may meet the eye. Being adaptable means that you can quickly change according to your circumstances. So, a few people will realise straight away that it will be too hot to ride when they normally do so, and will act accordingly. Maybe getting up at 5am to hack out, or only working their horse for 10 mins, or choosing to spend some time simply massaging their horse. Their acceptance of the change in circumstance and the speed of their reaction leave them in a much more positive state.

Other people may take a while to adjust. So will unsatisfactorily school their horse at midday for a few days, before working out that this was not a good plan and then alter their plans. While a few people simply resolutely carry on, regardless of the change in scenarios. We can all imagine how well this position of rigidity will work out.

Adaptability is one of the key skills in our lives, and applying it to our horses is equally important. So before you ride, take a look around and see whether you are simply behaving as you always do out of habit. Or whether your circumstances have changed to an extent where your previous habits are no longer applicable. You might be surprised.

Meanwhile enjoy the sunshine and your horses!