Animal Health Tips: Traveling with Horses in the Summer
With plenty of hot summer days left this year, you’re probably still thinking about how to maintain the health of your horse while temperatures are at their highest. Animal health is a major concern during the summer, what with cloudless sunny skies, dry heat, humid heat, and a surplus of flies around the barn, among other problems. That’s why traveling with a horse during the summer presents its own special set of challenges. So whether you are traveling to a horse show, heading to compete at the rodeo, or just want to ride the trail on a summer’s day, keep in mind these tips for traveling with your horse during the summer and staying animal health conscious.
Prepare Your Horse Trailer
One of the best things you can do for the animal health of your horse is to assess your horse trailer and make sure it’s road-ready. In the days before your trip, you should check for defects, clean it, make sure the tires are full, and be sure that the trailer is properly ventilated so your horse won’t overheat. If you don’t have much experience traveling with horses, you ought to practice driving your trailer while it’s fully-loaded.
Travel When It’s Cool Out
By starting your journey early in the morning or late in the evening, you can take advantage of lower summer temperatures and keep your horse (and yourself!) more comfortable while you travel.
Did you know there’s an easy way to check if your horse is dehydrated? Just pinch the skin on his neck, pull it away, and let go. If it takes more than a second or two to return to normal, he might be dehydrated. Hydration is extremely important to animal health, so be sure your horse is well-watered during your journey. If you are able, bring some water from home. (Some horses refuse to drink unfamiliar water.) Add electrolytes to the water as well to ensure a good balance in the horse’s system. It’s actually best to start doing this a couple of days before you travel so that your horse will be accustomed to the taste. And remember, good hydration isn’t just for animal health! Pack plenty of bottled water for the drive, and maybe a Gatorade just for good measure.
Keep the Right Animal Health Supplies on Hand
To keep your horse healthy, stock up on the right animal health supplies before you go. Fly control spray and mosquito spray will help keep pests away from your horse and ensure that he is more comfortable, and a quality horse sunscreen will prevent sunburn once you’re out on the trail..