For horses and their riders everywhere, summer comes as a welcome relief to the cold days of winter and the rainy days of spring. The days are longer, the breeze is warmer and with them come horse shows, trail events and the opportunity to just enjoy leisurely rides later in the day. As good as summer is, it is not all care and no responsibility. With the sun comes heat, high UV….and flies. Left unaddressed these things can be enough to make horse and rider miserable. So we’ve pulled together a short article covering some essentials that will ensure you and your horse make the most of the summer riding weather.
Stable Equipment Essentials
The heat of the sun and the increased presence of ultraviolet light can play havoc with your horse’s skin and hooves. Horses with pale or pink skin are especially susceptible to burning if they spend too long out in the sun whilst hot surfaces can cause a horse’s hooves to split and crack, making walking, let alone running or trotting painful. As if all that isn’t bad enough, flies and mosquitos are also in their greatest number and at their annoying best; harbouring disease, causing eye infections and delivering painful bites.
Thankfully there are a range of product options available that can easily address these issues:
Summer Horse Rugs - Mesh Rugs, Cotton Rugs & Fly Rugs
In a previous article we covered what to consider when choosing the right summer rug for your horse. It's important to use summer horse rugs whose light weight, breathable material helps guard your horse from the sun, flies and the elements. Active Equine’s summer horse rug range includes:
Cotton rugs - they provide the best protection for the horse that likes to roll in everything or when you need to keep a horse clean the night before a show or event! Cotton rugs also provide the best UV protection for your horse. If you have a horse with a dark coat that is prone to bleaching (hello black and dark brown horse owners!) a cotton or hybrid rug that has cotton across the back will help to avoid bleached coats and uneven colour.
Active Equine Ripstop Premium Paddock Horse Rug
Active Equine Horse Rug Show Set
Mesh rugs - are a great choice in climates with high humidity or on warmer days in the southern states. Mesh rugs provide a good level of UV protection and offer better air flow while reflecting heat away from your horse’s body. They are also fantastic to use in areas with lots of flies and bugs as they assist in keeping them off your horse’s body.
Fly mesh horse rugs - offer horses welcome relief from flies, provide UV protection are waterproof and are extremely light, protecting your horse from the sun, bugs and unpredictable showers.
Hybrid rugs - are a great all round choice. They provide a fantastic balance between keeping horses comfortable while allowing increased air flow.Ripstop Premium Hybrid Cotton Mesh Combo
Ripstop Hooded Hybrid Cotton Mesh Combo
Fly Masks & Fly Veils
In a previous blog we covered fly masks and how they protect a horse’s face and head. All five senses (sight, sound, smell, taste and touch) are captured there so it’s essential that the fly mask you choose provides for a soft and comfortable fit, doesn’t hinder your horse’s vision or hearing and has no sharp irritating edges.
Fly masks for horses come in a few key categories with some nifty features to suit a horse’s specific need and preference:
- Full Face Mask - great all over protection against flies, midges and the sun.
- Fly Mask with Ears - for horses who are prone to suffering midge bites.
- Fly Masks without Ears - for horses that cannot tolerate anything touching their ears.
- Muzzle Fringe Fly Masks - for horses that don’t like nose coverings, or need protection from flies and midges with added UV protection.
- Detachable Nose - perfect for horses who are very sensitive to flies or midges around their muzzle,sensitive to the sun and need added UV protection.
Horse Conditioner & Shampoo
Regularly grooming and cleaning your horse’s coat and face will help keep them free of flies. Flies and biting insects as a general rule are attracted to animals with dirtier coats so a rigorous and regular cleaning regime will definitely give your horse a fighting chance.
Our horse conditioner and shampoo range includes Australian Made shampoos from Mache Pets. They are vegan, made from natural ingredients and are cruelty free. Our range also includes products for horses with specific needs including stain-removing shampoos, soothing shampoos, anti-allergen shampoos, show shampoos, whitener shampoos and conditioners that complement our shampoo selection.
Active Equine Tack Tip - Giving your horse a hair trim will help keep your equine friend cool during the summer months.
Whilst we don’t carry hoof oil as part of our range, we do find it to be a useful product during summer. Applying hoof oil will keep your horse’s hooves moisturised and protected against hot surfaces.
Active Equine Tack Tip - Just like with dogs, it’s worth assessing the heat of surfaces that your horse might be walking on before letting them roam – especially paved, concrete or bitumen surfaces.
General Health Suggestions
Since domestic horses can't roam and escape the sun and insects like wild horses can, here’s a few other strategies to consider to keep them cool and (relatively) fly-free this summer:
- Shelter - Shade (be it nature or built) is a great way to prevent sunburn and dehydration.
- Water - The average 500kg horse will need between 30-50 litres of water per day, and this might need to be doubled on summer days. On top of this, horses can expend a tremendous amount of energy stomping and swishing at irritating pests. Your horse should have fresh clean water every day.
- Electrolytes - because horse’s sweat to keep cool, they will quickly deplete their reserves of essential minerals and salts. Electrolyte paste or powder for horses is added to water and is a great way to ensure they regain those lost essential minerals.
- Specialised equine sun cream - for horses who burn easy, sun cream is a great way to protect their skin.
So take the time to consider this information and review your tack to make sure you are prepared for the coming summer months.
As always, if you have any questions about which summer rugs, fly masks and horse care products are best for your horse, contact us at Active Equine, your premiere Australian Online Saddlery.