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We know Tennessee summers are hot, humid, and uncomfortable.  To cool off, we jump in the pool, chug a few bottles of water, or treat ourselves to a cold, delicious ice cream.  Our sweet horses need the same attention, and the heat is not something to mess with.  Not sure of how to pamper your sweet equines this summer?  Check out some of these helpful tips from Doctors Foster and Smith’s article, Summer Hot Weather Horse Safety Tips to start off this summer the “cool” way!
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Water:  Make sure you offer your horse plenty of fresh, clean water each and every day.  This is especially the case for horses given electrolytes and/or free choice salt and minerals.  They need to stay hydrated throughout the day just like us!  Access to water is essential, and they’ll be grateful for it!  Try to clean their troughs out often too to prevent the growth of nasty algae and to keep bugs away…especially mosquitoes!  Lastly, it’s perfectly okay to let a hot horse drink cold water…that is a common misconception!
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Rinse Off or Give a Sponge Bath:  This is a great way to help your horse cool off!  Even a quick sponge bath can help – focus on the places where your horse will be the warmest.  Also, it’s important to note that if you do spray your horse, you should also scrape the water off. Not many people know that spraying your horses and leaving the water will actually make them hotter!
Electrolytes:  These supplements are extremely helpful for the prevention of fatigue, muscle cramps, and colic.
Shade:  Offer a place where your horses can escape the heat!  This could be shaded trees or a run-in shed.  The article cited below also suggests letting horses out to pasture as early as possible in the morning before it gets really hot.  Great idea!
Hay:  Feed your horses GOOD hay – especially as it warms up! Grass growth slows during this time and pasture quality isn’t great at all. Your horse needs the energy from hay to help regulate body temperature and encourage the natural cooling process.
Coat:  Groom regularly and apply a zinc oxide sunscreen to sensitive noses to prevent burning!
Hopefully these tips will help your horse stay comfortable during the coming months.  For more detailed information about this topic and many more related to your equines, visit this site and check out great articles:  http://www.drsfostersmith.com/pic/article.cfm?aid=1833
Stay tuned for more posts later this month!