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Care of Horses in Hot Weather

Managing horses during hot weather can be a challenge for horse
owners. Horse owners need to provide extra care during hot weather in
order to decrease stress and maintain health and well-being of the
horse. Normally, horses cool themselves by sweating and a horse
that is working hard in a hot environment can lose 7 to 15 liters of
sweat per hour.

Heat stress has a negative impact on
feed intake, and most horses will not voluntary consume as much
feedstuffs on hot days, similar to humans and other livestock. The
change in metabolism, coupled with the likely reduced feed intake, can
result in body weight loss, most specifically muscle protein. It is
critical to track feed intake and body condition and weight during hot
weather, especially for thin, older, and younger horses. If body
condition or weight loss is observed, contact an equine nutritionist or
veterinarian for assistance

To help reduce the effects of heat and keep horses comfortable:

  • If possible provide turnout during cooler times of the day (early in the morning, late at night, or overnight).
  • Provide relief from the sun through access to shade from trees or
  • Watch for signs of sunburn, especially on white or light-colored areas; use masks and sunscreen.
  • Ensure access to clean, cool water at all times. Depending on feed, an adult horse in a
    cool climate will normally drink 22 to 40 liters of water each day
    while at rest, and much more while working or in hot conditions.
  • Water buckets and tanks may need to be cleaned more regularly in
    hot weather as algae and bacteria grow rapidly in warm water. 
  • Free choice access to salt will encourage drinking. Loose salt is preferred over a salt block.
  • Consider providing electrolytes to horses that have been sweating
    heavily or are expected to do so. Only use electrolytes that are
    formulated for horses.
  • Reduce riding intensity and length; heat stress can affect any
    horse but is especially common in older, obese and out of condition
    horses. Young foals also tend to be more prone to heat stress and
  • Clip horses with long hair coats (i.e. horses with Cushing’s disease) to enhance cooling.
  • Transport horses during the coolest part of the day and ensure that
    trailers are well ventilated and offer water frequently..
  • Horses with anhidrosis have little or no ability to produce sweat; these horses are prime candidates for heat stress.

It is recommended to avoid riding a horse when the combined
temperature and relative humidity are excessive. If a horse
must be ridden during hot and humid weather, or you live in an area
where hot and humid weather is prevalent, it is essential to:

  • Adjust your schedule (ride early in the morning or late at night).
  • Keep the work light and include frequent breaks that allow the
    horse to cool down and regain a normal respiratory rate. Do not work
    the horse beyond its fitness level. 
  • Watch for normal sweating.
  • Create airflow and work the horse in shade when possible.
  • Provide access to cool, clean water at all times and offer water
    frequently during work. There is no reason to withhold water from a hot
  • Call a veterinarian immediately if your horse stops producing sweat,
    breathes heavily, or becomes lethargic, distressed or uncoordinated.

To cool an overheated horse,
spray or sponge the horse’s head, back, neck, rump, and legs with cool
water and immediately scrape the water off, repeating continuously until
the horse is cool. This is an effective cooling method
because heat is transferred from the horse’s muscles and skin to the
water, which is then removed to cool the horse.
It is critical
to scrape the warmed water off immediately, or the water may serve as
insulation and might actually increase the horse’s body temperature.

Adding ice to the water will increase the speed of cooling for very
hot horses, Ice baths have been found to reduce
core body temperature and lower heart rates after intense exercise, and
horses were also observed trotting more freely after an ice bath. If a
horse is prone to tying up, do not directly apply ice water to the
large gluteal muscles in the hind end, but focus on areas where blood
vessels are more superficial (i.e. head, neck, back and rib area).
Finally, do not place a sheet or blanket on the horse while trying to
cool it. Rugging will block the evaporation of water from the skin
and is not recommended during hot and humid conditions.

Prolonged exposure to high temperatures can result in heat stress,
heat stroke, and complications such as dehydration, muscle spasms, and

Signs of heat stress include a rectal
temperature greater than 103°F, increased heart and respiration rates,
profuse sweating, droopy ears, signs of fatigue, and dehydration with a
prolonged skin tent of several seconds when the skin of the neck or
shoulders is pinched. Horses worked hard in extreme heat
and/or humidity may go on to develop signs of heat stroke, a very
serious overheating condition in which rectal temperature rises above

Signs of heat stroke include rapid heart and respiratory rates
that do not drop within 20 minutes of stopping exercise,
whinnying and distress, marked dehydration with dry mucous membranes and
a prolonged skin tent of 4 to 10 seconds, marked muscle weakness,
incoordination, and collapse.

Articles sourced from University of Minnesota

To read full article go to

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Time to Trim

With Summer upon us and the show season finished here in Australia
its time to think of getting your horses feet in great condition what
better time to take shoes off and go barefoot, if your horse is shod,
and do some tidy up trims on your barefoot horses.

have evolved over 65 million years and during that time they developed
the ideal hoof to travel vast distances over a wide range of terrain,
sometimes a speed, in order to survive. Their hooves are truly a
wonderful thing that given the opportunity will regenerate and recover
even from years of shoeing, bad trimming and even founder.

So why not take the time over summer to do some tidying up on your horses feet, if they need it, 🙂

To encourage you for the remainder of December we are offering 10% off all farrier tools so check out our large range of nippers, knives rasps, aprons etc.

Click here to shop

To get you started on the right path here is a link to some videos and websites that have some good information. And, if you want to get some one on one advice, why not ask Peta Patterson on Ask the Expert just submit your photos and you will receive recommendations on how to trim for free, a great service for those of you new to trimming your own horses.

Some Great Links

Advice from Peta Patterson : 
Click Here

Here is a Video that gives a step by Step instructions on how to trim 
Click Here

And another good trim demonstration 
Click Here

Some great books on trimming are (click to view more details)

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Mosquito Control

I received a request from a lady asking about what methods there were to control mosquitos and I thought I would share my findings here:


for the interesting idea, hadn’t thought much about the mosquitos as I tend to
put repellent on as soon as I go outdoors.

looked into it and came up with some options there is a interesting page on
mossies which you can find at

All the
suggestions seem rather pricey to me and since CO2 seems to be one of the
things the mosquito hones in on I would imagine that a horse would put out far
more CO2 than the machines would and therefore would be a more attractive
target for them.

that something that would work and be safe around horses is to put a couple of
drops of oil on the top of all open water if this is possible. Mosquitoes breed
in stagnant water and the oil prevents the lava from breathing yet would not be
harmful to the horses.From what I found
eliminating the breeding places seems to be the best form of control as they don’t
appear to fly any great distance so that may be the best form of control.

As a repellent
I have used is Cotex which has pine oil and pyrethrum in it and that seems to
repel most things as well but you will need to reapply at least daily.

You can
find more information on the Cotex here

this helps

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Flies – Control Hints and Tips

Its that time of year again, at least in Australia, time for the great Aussie salute

Flies are starting to make their presence felt and numbers are increasing. So I thought some ideas on how to control these pests

would be in order, not only for your horse, who will thank you, but for us poor humans as well.

Is it possible to get rid of flies?

Yes although when you read further you will realise that it isn’t going to happen here. Before the Beijing Olympics every person in China was given the task of killing a fly a day and I believe that by the time the Olympics came about flies were indeed scarce.  So assuming that we are not going to be able to get our neighbors on board with a mass eradication program we are stuck with finding a solution that will minimize numbers in our immediate area.

Why Should we Control Flies?

Apart from the nuisance factor, fly control is a must to reduce the instance of diseases they can carry.

are over 30 species of blood letting flies. These flies hunt by sight.
They are painful vicious biters of both people and horses. And they are
more than just an annoyance – they can transmit diseases like Equine
Infectious Anemia (EIA) and Potomac Horse Fever (PHF). The horse &
deer fly can suck blood for several minutes and only the female horse
fly bites to feed on blood.

horse flies and deer flies will deposit eggs on vegetation around moist
soil or very near water. The larvae will burrow down into this soil and
feed on organic matter. The larvae mature into flies in the late

adult flies are very strong fliers traveling long distances from
breeding sites. They will enter any area within minutes of spraying with
insecticides. Fly sprays are basically ineffective when it comes to
horse flies. The best control is obtained by trapping the female flies
before they have the opportunity to bite/reproduce. This will reduce the
population and make the area around your barn and pasture a much more
enjoyable place for both you and your animals.

Homemade Fly Trap

2 cups water

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup vinegar

ingredients to make fly bait. Cut a plastic 2 liter soda bottle 1/4
down from the top. Invert top portion into bottom portion. Punch 4 holes
at top, tie string (twine) to hold both portions together and hang. Add
fly bait & hang at your barn. Dispose of entire container when full
of flies. (as you probably know, the longer this hangs the worse it
smells and the more flies that it attracts.)

Some great more natural control measures can be found in this article
Click Here to Read...

What works for me?

I have had the best results from using traps, usually commercial ones that you refill with a prepared bait, although he idea of making my own that can be thrown away has definite appeal as cleaning a reusable one is a less than delightful task so this year I am giving the home made ones a go so I can throw the lot in the trash.

I have also used
dy-fly Plus (no I dont sell it but your produce store probably will)  this is a bait that I sprinkle on manure and has a hormone that attracts flies and kills them.  When I am persistent using it there was a major decrease in numbers.  Although looking on line for this article I was unable to find it. Maybe another product taken off the market. A similar product appears to be QuickBayt Fly Bait. Update Dy-Fly Plus is now made by John Cooper industries so you should still be able to purchase if. Although it is for house flies I found it effective for most other species as well since once the dead flies accumulate that will also attract the other species.

If you have dogs you will need
to be careful using it to avoid accidental ingestion as the dogs don’t mind the horse manure and the sugar type attractant also seems to appeal to them,. Sprinkling it on the dog poo works well as the dogs wont touch it and the flies love it.

Looking on the net I see that there is a range of fly bait stations now available and I may give these a try myself this year. One that seemed particularly promising is
Fly Sentry Fly Bait Station which seems straightforward and hopefully effective.  I will let you know how they work.

Would love to hear from you as to what works for you particularly with Buffalo Flies and March Flies which drive my horses crazy. So this year it is fly rugs as usual and some chemical control around the place and off course break out the Aeroguard 🙂

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Spring is Here … Time to get Grooming

Spring is here …  Time to get Grooming

Spring Cleaning

So Why Groom?

So why Groom? It is a lot of work and it is definitely
easier to just hose off after working your horse. So why do it?..

Well it promotes good health in the horse, bring oils to the
coat and promoting a shine you cant beat. It is the best way to stay in touch
with yours horses body and allows you to be instantly aware of any changes or
problems and….best of all it is quality time with your horse.

So why not put the hose away a few days a week and spend some
quality time you wont regret it 🙂

Some Great Grooming Tips and links

How to give your horse a deep down clean
Click to read article

Here is a great video how to as well 

A fabulous book on grooming is

World-Class Grooming for Horses:  The English Rider’s Complete Guide to Daily Care and Competition by
Cat Hill,Emma Ford

When owning, training, riding, and showing horses, there is a certain
“look” to which one aspires. Often it is set by the horses seen on
television, at special events, in public performances, and in top
competition around the globe. World-class “turnout”—a horse in peak
condition, perfectly coiffed and luminous with good health, outfitted
with gleaming and well-fit tack appropriate for his sport—literally
takes your breath away. …..
Click to Read More

I hope you are inspired to “break out the brushes” and your horse will be looking like a masterpiece in no time.  Happy grooming 🙂