With Britain’s soaring temperatures, those caring for horses are coming up with interesting ways to help keep their critters cool.
Temperatures exceeding 30 degrees Celcius (86F) have meant equines need extra shade and shelter, and additional treats never go amiss.
Donkeys at The Donkey Sanctuary in Sidmouth, Devon have been enjoying specially made ‘ice lollies’, which provide a refreshing, healthy treat and the perfect way to cool down in the heat.
The ice blocks are made from fruit and vegetables in water. They not only provide a welcome treat during the sizzling temperatures, but they also provide a valuable form of enrichment. Donkeys love exploring, and this activity allows them to exhibit their natural foraging behaviours – a critical factor in improving donkey welfare.
Over at the Redwings Horse Sanctuary in Norfolk, extra forage has been added to the equine diet as the grass burns off. But staff are also working on making lots of ice lollies and frozen treats, containing apples, carrots and some other refreshing snacks.
Staff have moved horses into fields with the most natural shade and shelter, in the form of tree lines and hedgerows. The team has also been working hard to supply the horses with extra hay and keep their water tanks topped up.
To make an ice block, use a small plastic container such as a 2-litre ice cream tub. Add water, and chopped apples and carrots – or whatever else your horse likes. After a few hours in the freezer, it will make your horse’s day.
If your horse is showing signs of overheating, take action quickly. Getting as much cold water as possible on them to help to bring their temperature down. The water should remain on the body and not be scraped off as this will provide further cooling as it evaporates.
Last week World Horse Welfare offered some tips to help owners keep their horses healthy during the extreme heat.
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