Keeping Horses Cool in the Hot Summer Heat

Keeping our horses cool, especially during the hot heat of summer, is a concern for many horse owners.  There are management practices that you can follow to help your horse avoid getting too hot during the summer.  It’s also important to know how to quickly and efficiently cool your horse if they do get overheated.

Summertime management practices that help to keep horses cool:

  • Turnout horses overnight and bring them inside during the day to avoid the high heat.  Good airflow through the barn is essential to keeping them cool while inside.  Fans properly placed on horses stalls and in the aisle ways is a good way to ensure airflow
  • Fly management.  Keeping annoying flies at bay helps to keep your horses comfortable and ensure they are not running and stomping around excessively
  • Exercise your horses in the early morning hours when it is typically the coolest
  • Plan long trailer hauls for overnight.  Trailers can become very hot very quickly under the hot summer sun.  Trailering at night when it is coolest and utilizing trailer fans, open ceiling air vents and open side and rear windows to move air through the trailer is a great way to help keep horses cool while transporting them.  Giving your horse a dose of Equiotic paste before travel helps to protect their sensitive GI tract from the stress of travel.  *If you keep your trailer parked with the windows and vents closed, open them all long before loading the horse to help let the hot air out.
  • Always ensure that your horse has access to fresh, cool water.  Keeping buckets in stalls and troughs in pastures clean is important for your horses overall health and ensuring that they will drink the water.
  • Ensure that your horse has access to electrolytes as needed.  Speak with your veterinarian to discuss your horses individual electrolyte/salt needs.  Many vets recommend that horses always have access to salt in the form of a salt block or loose salt.

Tips for cooling out you horse: 

  • There is often a debate between horse owners on if you should scrape the water off your horse after you hose them off.  Research shows that the most effective way to cool a hot horse is to continuously hose them with tap water.  Leaving the water on your horse doesn’t cause them to heat up again but rather encourages evaporation, pulling heat away from your horse.