With the changing seasons come adaptations in horse care and management. Each time of year requires certain procedures and specific maintenance. Riding in the summer and spring is not the same experience as riding in the fall and winter. Weather, heat and insects all play a part in how you prep your horse for riding on the property or heading out to a show.
The dog days of summer are here for an extended stay; don’t fight it, embrace it because winter will be here before you know it. The summer heat brings humidity and insects (Which is worse? That’s another discussion). There are plenty of products to choose from to help make you and your horse’s summer a bit more bearable.
Fly spray is one of the most important products to have in a stable during the summer time. Especially sensitive horses often end up with severe allergic reactions to being overrun in the paddock with flies. Hives and local swelling are often symptoms from biting insects that are most unpleasant. Apart from swelling and itching, biting insects can spread disease such as west nile and parasitic infections. Prep your horse with a quality fly spray such as Fly Bye! or Absorbine fly products. Before turnout, spray and even layer throughout your horse’s coat avoiding the eyes, nostrils and mouth. Make sure to pay attention to those difficult to reach spots like the chest, neck and underbelly. If your horse is sensitive to spray bottles, washing with a treated shampoo is another option to ensure your horse is protected from those pesky bugs.
Your first aid kit is one of the most important things to have in your tack trunk, feed room or trailer. Summer is the season of injuries because horses are being ridden more, travel more and are overall under more stress. Apart from the typical thermometer, gauze, scissors, Iodine, duct tape, bute etc. there are a few more items you should consider for injuries as well as recovery and rehabilitation:
For cuts and abrasions-
For recovery, horses in intense training or horses with sensitive hooves-
Hoof Packing - HooFlex
For fungal infections and coat abnormalities-
Fungasol Spray- Absorbine
Hoof care also differs in the heat. Depending on the climate your horse lives in, moisture or dryness could have adverse effects on the hoof material. Finding a healthy balance between the two can be a tricky challenge when conditions aren’t ideal. Carr & Day & Martin offers quality hoof dressings and ointments to maintain proper moisture levels in the hoof. Summer heat can also bring high humidity that makes it difficult for pastures to dry out, leaving the ground constantly soggy. This makes it easier for bacteria to be introduced into the hoof sulci and causing infections such as thrush. Thrush can be identified as a dark substance that is picked out of the hoof and gives off a strong odor. There are a number of quality products that protect or treat thrush in the hoof such as Thrush Terminator from Guaranteed, Optimal Equine Thrush, Thrush Remedy by HooFlex.
During the summer, horse shows are the thing competitive riders look forward to and horse shows mean horse show prep! Keeping your horse clean up until you walk in the show ring can be a challenge- especially if you have a grey. A healthy coat starts with a healthy diet first. Keeping those whites pearly, your bays radiant and your chestnuts shiny just takes a little elbow grease after that. Incorporating some color enhancing shampoo into your rinse, lather, repeat will ensure a vibrant sheen that will catch the judge’s eye with attention to detail. Color enhancing shampoos are usually dyed different colors to compliment each coat color.
No matter the season, stay prepared with the right tools!