Spring sprang a few weeks ago, and summer came in like a bummer over the weekend! The Stables was attending a show in Green Cove Springs, FL, where temps hit well into the 90s. As a couple of events unfolded we were hit with the reminder of how important it is to recognize the change in weather and seasons, and adjust equine management accordingly.
There are two main changes that I give lots of attention to when the weather gets hot. The first is the most dangerous and important one: water intake. I find that my students have the most trouble with heat exhaustion not in July and August but in the first weeks of spring. Temps rise, but no one is in the habit of keeping a water bottle on them, or just drinking plenty in general. Next thing I know I've got students dropping like flies from the heat, especially at shows where they are clad in polyester, wool, and leather. If it's warm enough to wear short sleeves start the water intake!
This applies to our horses as well. Now is the time to make sure your horse has plenty of electrolytes in it's feed, and water down feed as needed if your horse decides drinking is optional. We had a repeat offender at the show decide to start colicking Friday night; likely due to a lack of drinking.
Second, pay attention to your horse's hooves right about now. This is the time of year that we start rinsing off horses after rides, which means the feet get soaked then dry, then soaked then dry, on and on. The feet start to get brittle and crack as they expand and contract according to workout and turnout schedules. I like to paint feet with Fiebling's Hoof Dressing before rinsing. It allows a bit of moisture to condition the foot while the oil causes water to slough off the foot. This type of hoof oil is conservative in it's own conditioning properties, which is fine by me. I'm really using it for it's oil base.
Seasons come and seasons go, but it's our job to recognize when we need to change our habits accordingly!