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Preparing for the Summer Season with Senior Horses

horses in field during golden hour

Summer is a great time to take your horse on trail rides, try out new tricks, and for you to bask in the warmer weather. For your older horses though, summer may bring about a few issues. These issues may be fueled by weak joints, older bones, or an increased amount of exhaustion. Below are a few tips on how you can prepare for the summer season with your senior horses.

Horse drinking water from a bucket

1. Hydration!

Dehydration is more common in the summertime due to extreme heat. Horses usually drink 50 liters of water in warmer weather so it is crucial to have plenty of water available for your horse. It is important to make sure that the water is clean and fresh. Along with clean water, make sure to have numerous stations that are accessible to your horse. For example, have a few stations in the field, have one near the stable, and have one placed within the stable. If you don’t provide enough water for your horse, the horse has an increased risk of colic over time. Another fun fact in regard to hydration is that you can soak or spray your horse’s hay with water. This is yet another way for your horse to intake water. Once the hay is immersed in water, the hay should be distributed immediately for consumption. If you decide to add this approach to your horse’s diet, make sure you do this gradually. If it isn’t done gradually, then the horse could potentially develop colic.

2. Take your Horse Out to Roam in Mild Weather

As summer approaches, the weather can get extremely hot. It is not a good idea to take your senior horse out during the hottest time of the day and temperatures spike; the hottest time of the day is usually mid-day. The recommendation is to take your horse out early in the morning or once the sun has set. This way, your horse can comfortably roam around the field. It is really important to make sure your horse isn’t in the sun for long amounts of time; cancer can sometimes form if the horse has too much sun exposure.

Horse and woman in stable with fan

3. Add Fans into The Stables

Summer is known to be a pretty dry season. Due to the extreme heat and humidity, there really isn’t a strong wind production. A great investment is to add fans to the stables. In particular, you should install mounted fans inside the stalls or outside of the barn to produce wind. This can keep your horse cool and comfortable even with the hotter temperature. Your stall should already have windows and if you don’t have windows, make sure to add those before installing the fans. This will help with strong air circulation.

4. Pick out Different Riding Times

Different riding times should be picked in the summer than times you would normally choose in the fall. You should schedule out weekly riding times with your senior horse. Two great times of the day to ride are when the sun is just riding or once the sun sets. If you do schedule rides, make sure to go on shorter rides in cooler temperatures. This allows for both you and your horse to get some sort of exercise, but you aren’t exerting too much pressure onto your horse. Also, listen to your horse; if your horse is panting or struggling, turn around and walk your horseback to the stable.

5. Bathe, Bathe, Bathe!

Bathing your horse is paramount, especially in the summer. Not only is this important in regard to health concerns, but it is a good way to cool down your horse. Make sure to wash your horse after rides with cold water. This will help bring your horse’s body temperature back to its normal state. The bathing process should be soothing and a great relaxation technique as well.

Woman hosing down horse

6. Dehydration and Heat Exhaustion Symptoms

Dehydration and Heat Exhaustion are common in the summer, especially with older horses. It is crucial to know the symptoms that occur in both of these conditions. If you understand these symptoms, you could potentially prevent any life-threatening issues. In regard to dehydration, some of the symptoms include dark urine, reduced amounts of droppings, dry skin and mouth, dark gums, depression, and dull eyes. In regard to heat exhaustion, some of the symptoms include muscle spasms, irregular heartbeat, panting, decreased appetite, and reduced performance. In either of these cases, get your horse to shade, provide an ample amount of water, and apply water to your horse’s body. In extreme cases, make sure to call your local veterinarian.


Try to incorporate these tips into any preparation for the summer season with your horse. Hopefully, the summer weather isn’t too harsh for you or your senior horse. Visit our website to learn more about our senior horses.

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