Our Spotlight Series is back! We are focusing on your questions this year and will be answering them over the next several weeks in #AskTheVet. Next up is Dr. Sarah Gold!
Question: I am currently rehabbing my horse. On the real hot summer days, what are some exercises that I can do to keep my horse moving safely in the heat?
Answer: Great question! Normal healthy horses without anhidrosis (inability to sweat) concerns are excellent at regulating their body temperatures – so exercise, especially rehabilitative work as prescribed by your veterinarian, is completely fine to continue to do! For your horse’s comfort (and your own!) it is typically best to exercise when the sun and humidity are reduced, so early mornings and in the evenings are typically the most comfortable times of the day. The hot hazy days of summer are not going to be detrimental to a rehabilitation program – think of it as “hot yoga” where your horse may in fact be more relaxed and supple!
The biggest climate concern is extreme humidity, as this does reduce the horse’s ability to cool off, as the sweat cannot evaporate as efficiently – this is what actually whisks the heat away. So you may notice more sweat on your horse on very humid days, which can also lead to skin issues. If possible, using fans to keep the air moving and improving good ventilation is key. And of course, ensuring your horse has access to fresh drinking water at all times is important.
For heat waves like we are currently in – please remember to be careful, stay hydrated, and consider if you need to work your horse. If so, early morning and after sunset would be your best times. OR just consider heading to the beach, like me and Coco!
At B.W. Furlong & Associates, we are progressive leaders delivering the ultimate in veterinary care to our equine patients and clients in both the hospital and ambulatory setting. We have several associated practices offering exemplary care and services in New Jersey, Florida, and Virginia