The summer season can be a brutal time for people who do manual labor. The heat from the sun adds to the heat produced within the body and can cause many problems like dehydration and heat strokes.
The same can be said for horses. Horses have the same mechanism for dealing with body temperature as humans. They also evaporate sweat off of their bodies which leads to heat dissipation. In the hot temps of summer, horses can experience various negative effects due to excessive heat. Most of people consider this to be effected by their environment, but there are ways to beat the heat with a controlled diet as well.
The Environmental Factors
It is obvious that an increase in atmospheric heat causes negative effects on the body. Horses cope with this increased temperature through evaporation. A horse owner’s lack of awareness regarding the correct ways to treat a horse in summers can however make matters worse.
- Let your horse sweat by removing covers when they are not needed. If you put covers on your horse after a workout, it won’t be able to sweat which will cause the internal body temperature to rise.
- Supply the required amount of water so that your horse can function properly without getting dehydrated. A normal horse requires somewhere near 30 liters of water every day, which is a number that can increase by 300% in hotter seasons.
- Feed the necessary minerals through appropriate performance feeds and water. Sweating not only causes a loss of water but also a loss in some minerals which are required by the body.
These are some of the very basic tips to beat the heat when it comes to caring for your horse. A horse can also face an increase in internal body heat which can be caused by inappropriate nutritional practices.
The Nutritional Factors
- Choose the right type of protein for your horse so that it is able to cope with low temperatures while keeping a safe internal body temperature. Typical fiber-based diets are known to help a horse maintain a body temperature of 10 degrees Celsius. On the other hand, a diet containing proteins that are hard to digest leads to an increase in body heat generation due to the need for the proteins to be broken down.
- Feed fat in the form of oil to help the horse maintain a cool energy source as well as to reduce the production of internal body heat during strenuous work.
- Give your horse time to get used to a change in environment before putting it to work. If moved to a hot or a humid area, a horse typically needs around 15 days to get used to this change. This is due to some physiological adaptations that the horse needs to undergo in order to maintain body heat.
Now you know about some of the most common factors that can cause an increase in the body heat of a horse, and how to avoid them. Remember to feed your horse a good amount of water and a feed high in electrolytes and minerals, and you can be sure to beat the summer heat with ease.
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