Helping Your Horses Stay Cool in Summer

I don't think there's anything more peaceful-looking than a pair of horses standing together under a shade tree, side by side with one facing this way and the other facing that way, so that there is a tail to swish flies off the other one's head and neck. I wish I had a photo of that to show you, but I don't. It defines "cooperation."

There really isn't much to be done, in my opinion, for a horse to help it stay cool in the depths of summer, other than providing shade, ventilation and plenty of water. As long as these basics are provided, a horse will go where it is most comfortable.

Our horses have access to a large pasture as well as the barn and a run-in shed, and the pasture is ringed by woods with a small grove of trees in the middle, so "shade" and "ventilation" are taken care of.

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Our current drought is so bad that the pond has shrunk to the point that the horses no longer have access to the water. There are four water troughs in their pasture that we check and fill in the morning and evening.

Ella plays in the water troughs, swishing her head back and forth to splash the water on her chest and generally have a party. She can almost empty a trough doing this, which is why we  have to refill them twice a day.

I managed to grab a video one afternoon:

With a name like Splash, you know our black-and-white paint likes to play in the water too. He enjoyed pawing the water in the pond, back when there was water.

When hubby fills the troughs in the evening, Ella and Splash often come over so he can spray them with the hose.

I have fly masks for all of the horses. Dakota has his on every day, because the pink skin around his blue eyes tends to sunburn very easily. Preventing sunburn isn't the intended function of a fly mask, but it works. His nose still sunburns though, and he won't allow me to put sunscreen on his nose.

They all spend the afternoon in the barn, which has the deepest shade they can find. The spot way in the back of the barn is the most prized, and whichever horse gets there first doesn't want to give it up for anything. Flies generally don't like shade, so it gives the horses a reprieve.

The sustained heat is making them grumpy and cranky though. Usually they get along well, but there have been more spats lately. (I have to admit that the humans are getting grumpy and cranky too.)

Related Posts:
Keeping Goats Comfortable in the Summer Heat
How to Keep Chickens Cool in Summer

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