Posted December 2, 2016 in Equine
Keep Your Horse Cool in the Summer Heat
It’s as hot as a tin roof and you’ve got a day-long trail ride ahead. How can you tell if your horse gets too hot? Watch for the following heat-stress signposts that you should never ignore.
Signpost 1: Elevated Respiratory Rate
Why it happens: Hard breathing forces air to flow past vessels in your horse’s lungs and airways which help cool his blood.
Risky: When your horse’s respiratory rate is more than 40 to 50 breaths per minute and/or he’s breathing shallowly and his breathing doesn’t return to normal after two minutes’ rest.
Signpost 2: Elevated Heart Rate
Why it happens: A pounding heart transfers blood to your horse’s skin surfaces to be cooled by outside air.
Risky: When his heart rate is more than 80 beats per minute which doesn’t start to slow down after two minutes’ rest.
Signpost 3: Profuse Sweating
Why it happens: Evaporation of sweat from your horse’s skin helps him cool down.
Risky: When he’s sweating over his entire body or worse he stops sweating entirely.
Signpost 4: Elevated Temperature
Why it happens: Your horse’s cooling mechanisms have been overwhelmed.
Risky: When his rectal temperature goes up to 105° Fahrenheit or higher.
Signpost 5: Lethargy
Why it happens: Blood is being transferred away from your horse’s vital organs to his skin surfaces for cooling leading to severe heat stress.
Risky: When he shows signs of becoming depressed or lethargic, isn’t interested in food, or begins to stumble or collapse.
Signpost 6: Discolored Mucous Membranes
Why it happens: As your horse’s circulatory system becomes overwhelmed by trying to cool itself, blood may pool in his gums.
Risky: If his gums become dark red or “muddy” colored.
How To Treat Heat Stress:
How To Prevent Heat Stress: