The days are getting longer and riding is really rewarding!

This series will offer tips on how to keep your horse happy and healthy in the heat.
Issue Date: 11 January 2008

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This series will offer tips on how to keep your horse happy and healthy in the heat. 

Flies are a real nuisance for you and your horse, and multiply in hotter weather. Your horse should, therefore, have access to shade. Most horses prefer to be turned out in the hotter months, so bring them in around 5pm and turn them out in a safe paddock at around 7pm. This keeps them out of the midges’ way and gives you a chance to check them over and give them supper.

Wash your horse’s eyes with a soft sponge, as flies love the dirt and grime that accumulates in the corner of the eyes.

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Protection from the sun and laminitis

Horses with pink or white areas on their faces need protection, so apply a high-factor baby suntan lotion to these areas in the morning (don’t forget some for yourself!) Feeding carrots and apples supplies vitamins to strengthen your horse’s defences against the sun.

Summer is a high-risk time for laminitis, a potentially fatal illness. The most common triggers are over-feeding and constant trauma to hooves from the hard, sunbaked ground.

When the grass is lush, your horse will eat as much as it can. If your horse is very greedy, put a few sheep in with it to compete for the grass.

If your horse does get laminitis, contact a vet as soon as possible and drench your horse six times a day with rosehip tea (add 10 drops of rescue remedy). Devil’s claw is also invaluable.

Avoid splints

When the ground is hard, horses are prone to splints, so ride with tendon or splint boots for added protection. It is also a good idea to ease off jumping and hard work on hard ground. You can also spray a little witchhazel and rosewater onto the legs after work. – Kim Dyson (082 888 6511). |fw

An effective fly repellant

250ml strained wormwood tea made from a good handful of wormwood in boiling water; 250ml apple cider vinegar; 15 drops citronella oil; 5 drops eucalyptus oil
Mix well together in a 500ml spray bottle and spray all over your horse. This mixture will also deter ticks from biting.