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August 8, 2011

Beat the Heat: Horses

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

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 and has a small grove of trees in the middle, so "shade" and "ventilation" are taken care of.

The pond has shrunk to the point that the horses no longer have access to the water. They have a total of four water troughs 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 cool fun party. She can almost empty a trough doing this, which is why we refill them twice a day.

With a name like Splash, you know he likes to play in the water too. He enjoyed pawing the water in the pond, back when there was water.

When hubby fills the trough, Ella and Splash often come over so he can squirt them with the hose.

I put fly masks on two of the horses. Dakota in particular has his on every day, because the pink skin around his eyes tends to sunburn very easily. Preventing sunburn isn't usually the function of a fly mask, but it works. His nose still sunburns though. 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.

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 people are getting grumpy and cranky too.)

If you have any other suggestions of how to keep animals cool in this hot hot weather, please leave a comment below.


  1. Hey there,
    I don't know a lot about cooling horses. We had a horse for a while back in '07... but we haven't had any since.
    The goats usually take care of themselves as far as heat goes... here. It gets up aound 110 or 113 every summer here during some point.

    I am praying for your horses.
    Maybe if they are too hot, they would appreciate some big block of ice to chew on... I know some animals appreciate it... but I highly doubt that horses, cows, or goats would pay them much attention.

    Be blessed, love Carra

  2. The "series" will continue with goats in a few days. ~smile~ The dogs and cats are on their own though; they can go wherever they wish and I trust they'll find the coolest spot to while away the hot afternoons.

    I used to put frozen 2-liter bottles of water in the rabbits' cages, but all 3 have died this year. It's been a brutal year.

  3. Hey Kathi,
    So sorry to hear of your rabbits. Is it dry there?

    Here we have humidity sometime 100%... and the heat doesn't seem to stress the livestock as quickly.

    Anyway... praying for you. Be blessed. Carra

  4. It is drier than normal. Usually we have some humidity although nothing like the midwest and the east coast. Still, usually it is more humid than it is this summer.

  5. Just wondering...air conditioners are very inexpensive now...if you can find one. They were sold out here in our area of MI in mid summer but we fortunately have central air and one portable a/c that can roll from room to room and just vent the hose out a window. There's also an a/c on the market that rolls from room to room that uses water and has no chemical output to the atmosphere...I'd have to ask hubby where he saw that in a catalog. They may help your smaller animals if they come inside the house such as rabbits, cats, dogs...and maybe even to place it in a portion of the barn or coop, etc. I'm not a farmer (no doubt you guessed) but do love animals and feel for all your extreme hardships in areas worse hit by this horrible weather. Hopefully by now you've had some relief.


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