Horses do not tolerate heat as well as we do. On a day that feels comfortably hot to you may be unbearable to your horse. Here are some suggestions on cooling your horse on a hot day.
1) Provide unlimited access to water
Horses like people cool off by sweating. As they lose fluids through sweat they can become dehydrated. Fresh water will replace these losses. If it is very hot they may consume 20-35 gallons a day.
2) “Cool” foods
Proteins and starches produce more heat in the body and fats produce less heat. Maintain your horse on free-choice grass hay or grass-alfalfa mix with appropriate vitamins and minerals. If your horse needs extra calories supplement with a high-fat supplement, just remember that fats can turn rancid quickly in warm weather.
If the air circulation in your barn is poor then turn-out is a must. Fans can help whilst inside and many barns remain very cool even in the warmest of conditions. Outside most horses will seek appropriate shelter and will position themselves to maximize the breeze.
4) Avoid riding when the dew point is high
This is when it feels the muggiest outside which means that you and your horse will have difficulty sweating.
Removing hair from the head, neck, and belly will help your horse sweat. Just remember that shorter hair means less protection from the bugs.
6) Ride your horse after a shower
Water cools as it evaporates so spraying the common sweat areas will help your horse cool down. These areas include the head, neck, chest, and legs.
7) Offer salt in the feed or as salt blocks
Sodium chloride is a primary component of sweat so if your horse is sweating a lot you will need to supplement. Horses lacking in salts or electrolytes may start chewing on fences/walls etc. 9) Ride when the weather is cooler