It seems that some of the best shows fall on the hottest days of the summer. Are you worried about keeping your horse cool during summer horse shows? Here are some great ways you can help keep him cool and comfortable.
When deciding on which saddle pad you’re going to use on the day of the show, choose a pad that offers maximum breathability and wicking power. Saddle pads made of sheepskin are great because they naturally circulate air and wick moisture from your horse’s back, which will help to make him more comfortable.
As your horse exercises, his girth can become a trap for sweat. In between classes, wipe down his girth area to keep him cooler and to help prevent girth sores or rubs. Alternatively, you might consider using a sheepskin girth cover or a girth with a sheepskin lining. Both of these will help to wick moisture away from your horse’s coat and to circulate air, keeping him more comfortable.
Between classes, at a minimum, loosen your horse’s girth. If you have time, remove his saddle to give him a chance to cool down. Offer him some water and let him stand in the shade until it’s time to tack up again.
If you have a while to go between classes, it’s a good idea to hose or sponge your horse off. Remember to bring along a bucket, a sponge, and a sweat scraper. Hose or sponge your horse off with cool water, then immediately scrape it off of him. You can repeat this process until he is cool, and if you continuously scrape the water off of him, it will help him to dry faster. You can also target the large blood vessels in your horse’s hind legs to provide rapid cooling.
Using a lightweight fly sheet on your horse in between classes can actually keep him cooler. A fly sheet will reduce the energy your horse exerts in trying to keep the flies off of himself, which will help to keep his body temperature lower. Some fly sheets have the added benefit of offering UV protection, so you’ll be helping to protect your horse’s coat at the same time.
Summertime horse shows can be hot events. Be sure to monitor your horse continuously throughout the show, and if you suspect your horse is becoming overheated, untack him, cool him with water, take him to a shaded area, and offer him water to drink.