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Horses are resilient animals, but just like any animal, harsh conditions can cause illness or injury. Summer is a great time of year for horses, but there are some concerns that need to be addressed in order to keep your horse healthy this time of year. There are many factors, some of which are universal and some that are specific to horses with preexisting conditions. The following are just a few of the many ways you will have to take extra care of your horse in summer.

Maintain Hydration

Horses need a significant amount of water all year round to stay hydrated. In summer, this need increases, but some horses will not drink any extra water. You can encourage them to drink by providing a salt block for your horse to lick, which will make it want to drink water. You should also keep water clean and cool, as warm water is not always as palatable to horses. Misting your horse is also a way to keep it hydrated, as they can absorb some water through their skin. Finally, if your horse will not drink plain water, try giving them water with electrolytes, or vice-versa.

Shady, Cool Rest Area

The hot sun on a summer day can cause a horse to overheat quickly. If your horse loves to exercise, you can quickly run into an issue if you do not have a cool place for your horse to rest afterward. Make sure there is a shady area for your horse to access any time they need. Additionally, make sure the shade is not simply provided by a tree, as tree coverage can still allow more sun in than anticipated, reducing your horse’s ability to cool off quickly.

Monitor Health

A horse’s health can change quickly if they are not being monitored, and more so in the summer. A horse that is lethargic, sweating more than normal, has an erratic heartbeat, and/or an increased body temperature may be experiencing heat stroke. This is a serious condition that will require a veterinarian to treat. Be mindful of your horse’s normal behavior and what its body is like on a regular basis. Any major changes should be addressed immediately, and if its condition rapidly deteriorates, you must contact your veterinarian.

Horses may be sturdy beings, but they are not immune to harsh weather. Take extra care of your horse this time of year to make sure it is safe and healthy.