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When the temperatures start to rise, you feel uncomfortable and try to escape to the shade or air conditioning. Your horse is no different. So this summer, it’s important to watch your horse for signs it may be overworked, overheated, or worse.

During the warm, summer months it’s imperative you provide your horse with shade, cool drinking water, and not overwork the animal.

Prolonged exposure to warm temperatures and high humidity can result in heat stroke, heat stress, dehydration, colic, or muscle cramps. The weather itself, poor barn ventilation, and excessive work can lead to these issues.

If your horse starts sweating profusely, has droopy ears, or shows signs of fatigue, it is time to stop working or riding and cool your horse down.

A simple skin tent test can help show if your horse is suffering from dehydration. With this test, simply pinch a piece of your horse’s skin. If the pinched portion stays white for more than 4 seconds after you have released the skin, it’s time to start cooling your horse down. Also, if your horse shows a rectal temperature of more than 103 degrees Fahrenheit, your horse needs to begin cooling down.

If your horse begins showing any of the above-listed signs, it’s extremely important to begin cooling it down, stopping any activity you may be performing, and moving to shade as quickly as possible.

Bring your horse cool drinking water, give it a cool bath, and give your horse electrolyte supplements in order to replenish its salt levels.

It’s important to watch your horse during the summer months, because it may be telling you it’s overheated.