Summer of 2020 may not be what we all hoped with the current pandemic ongoing, but we still need to prepare for hot weather and hurricanes and develop a plan for our horses. A few big topics to consider are dehydration, sunburn and developing a hurricane plan.
It can be incredibly hot and humid in Florida during the summer months. Similar to humans, horses can suffer from dehydration and other heat related problems. If possible, avoid exercising your horse during the heat of the day and stick to early morning or early evening.
If your horse is stalled for part of the day, consider keeping them stalled in a cool, well ventilated area during the day and pasture turnout at night. Fans are a great way to help keep the air moving while your horse is indoors. Keeping your horse out of the sun will allow it to stay as comfortable as possible and will prevent pink-faced horses from getting sunburn. If your horses live outside during the summer, make sure they have enough shade to keep cool and make sure to use a fly mask with a nose cover or sunscreen to prevent sunburn.
Encouraging your horse to drink water is also important during these hot days. If you have multiple horses on the pasture, try to provide several drinking options. Maintaining a fresh, cool water source is key to keeping your horse drinking regularly. Consider adding a salt block or an electrolyte water bucket in addition to plain, fresh water.
Another big topic to address is your hurricane plan. Check your first-aid kit and ensure you’ve stocked up on bandaging material, wound care creams, essential medications and sun block. A printed copy of your vaccine records and coggins is a good idea. If you need to evacuate, make sure you have available transportation and a plan for where you will go. You can never be over-prepared, so start now!