As the remains of winter fade into longer days and the sun’s rays become a little warmer each day, horses and people alike are bound to enjoy the coming of the summer. However, while horses can spend their days blissfully grazing away, their caretakers should take a pause from the enjoyment to consider what preparations need to be done for the months to come.
Not only should you think of physical work like yearly maintenance on the barn and stables, but you also should consider your calendar events for the summer. If you have horse shows coming up, you need to review the details, such as liabilities, training, and other prep work that you have to ensure gets done. Summer is coming up fast, but you can beat the heat with a few easy tips!
Summer Heat and Horse Health
The first thing on your list should be to evaluate your horse’s shelter. The rough winter months — including hail, rain, snow, or days dipping below freezing — can wear on barns and stables more than you realize. So first, you should see if there is any damage, like leaks in the roof or cracks in the walls, and make the necessary renovations. You should also make sure your hoses didn’t fill with frozen water and tear. You can also review your asset insurance to see what is covered and what is not.
Your stable should provide relief and protection from the heat. To do this, make sure there is enough shade around for your horse to cool off in and plenty of airflow. You can bring in a fan if necessary. If there are any leaks in the roof, they should be fixed so that your bronco or filly has sturdy shelter from rainstorms.
Another area to look into is pest control, which can be a real problem in the summer. For example, mosquito bites are annoying enough to drive anyone crazy, and your horse is no exception. Since you don’t want your stallion to have to endure mosquito bites all summer long, make sure to avoid any standing water.
According to experts in pest control, mosquitoes can breed in even the smallest puddles. To avoid an excess of mosquitoes, remember to frequently change out your horse’s water and to empty out buckets of water when you’re done using them. Investing in a fountain for your horse to drink out of can be a creative solution to this problem. Additionally, they advise keeping your horse’s area tidy and making sure to dispose of old food or sweep up crumbs to prevent other pests, like rodents.
Safety Measures at Horse Shows
With summer approaching, rodeos and competitions are just around the corner. Before you get into rigorous practice routines, there are a few items you’ll need to take care of. First and foremost, you need to take your horse to get a medical check up. Before you start to engage your horse in heavy physical activity, make sure they are up for it. As a horse owner, your horse’s health should be the most important thing to you. Here are some things to keep an eye on your horse’s health:
- Check their eyes for strange discharges and see that the membranes are an even shade of pink.
- Check that their fur lies flat, isn’t shedding too much, and doesn’t have fleas.
- Check for puffiness of joints, especially close to their hooves.
- Occasionally check their stools to make sure its regular and free of worms.
Keeping track of your horse’s health will keep you aware of when they may need medical attention. You can use a notebook or a horse health app that can also help give you tips and answer questions about horse health.
If you yourself will be performing in horse shows with your horse, ensure your body is healthy as well. Since access to medical care is often limited in rural areas, you need to be proactive and set up a doctor’s appointment for yourself.
Getting medical clearance by a health professional for you and your horse can also help you if either of you get injured at a show. Since you know it was not due to medical issues, you can look into seeking litigation if it comes to that. Many participants at horse shows may not know that while they sign a liability waiver, if they get injured they may still be able to sue. In fact, experts in equine activity law state that an injured rider can still sue if they feel that their safety was clearly neglected:
…even if a release is determined to be valid, if the conduct by the party released from liability has been grossly negligent, willful, or has intentionally done something which caused the injury, then the claim is not barred. The principal behind a release is that a person acknowledges the assumption of risk this riding entails, but no person assumes the risk of intentional, willful, or wanton misconduct of another party.
In general, the rules and legalities of a horse show or competition can be confusing to first-time participants as well as experienced ones. Getting to know the rules well can help protect you and your horse in case of an incident.
While there are always worries associated with horse health and rider safety, taking the time to take preventative measures can save you time, money, and even injuries in the future. Summer is a time to have fun and relax with your beloved horse, so get the major responsibilities out of the way and enjoy the sunny afternoons and summer horse shows.
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