British horse owners urged to prepare for heat wave

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All horses need constant access to clean, fresh water, especially when it is hot.
All horses need constant access to clean, fresh water, especially when it is hot. © World Horse Welfare

Temperatures are on the rise in Britain, with a red extreme heat warning issued for parts of England on Monday and Tuesday next week, and owners are urged to take extra measures to ensure their horses are kept healthy and happy during the unusually high temperatures.

International charity World Horse Welfare has issued advice to help owners keep their horses comfortable during the heat wave. The vast majority of horses – if they are fit and healthy – should cope well in the heat as long as they aren’t being overworked, and have plenty of shade and water. However, for those younger and elderly horses and those with medical conditions, they will need an extra close eye kept on them.

Individual horses cope differently with hot or humid weather conditions so it is important to know what is normal for your horse in order that you can spot any changes as soon as they occur.

Consider these points:

  • Avoid travel and working your horse unless it is completely necessary.
  • All horses will need constant access to clean water and shade and have good ventilation if stabled.
  • Horses with white noses and legs may need to be protected with sun cream or a full-face mask to prevent sunburn.
  • Horses are likely to be more lethargic in hot weather but if they are breathing heavily and appear dull with an increased heart rate, they are not coping; call the vet and take extra measures to cool the horse down.
  • If your horse is showing signs of overheating, take action quickly. Getting as much cold water as possible on your horse will help to bring their temperature down. This can be done with either a hose or bucket and the water should remain on the body and not be scraped off as this will provide further cooling as it evaporates.

» Advice on heatstroke in horses      » Caring for horses in hot weather

Shade, be it in the form of trees or sheds, is important.
Shade, be it in the form of trees or sheds, is important. © World Horse Welfare

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