For some reason, the weather has well and truly lost it’s mind. Within the space of 6 weeks we have had pretty much every form of weather. But now summer is truly here, well…spring, although with soaring temperatures I’d be more inclined to say summer. This sudden change in weather has come as a shock to us all, not least to the ponies. Whilst the heat can be uncomfortable, there are ways to make it slightly more enjoyable for our four legged friends.
1) Invest in a good fly mask
I am seriously irritated by flies, I could not imagine them all over my face all day. Hence why when the weather perked up, I rushed to the local tack shop to get some newer masks for them both as theirs had seen better days. My choice is Premier Equine’s fly mask with the added nose protection- mainly for Milo as he suffers badly with sunburn on his muzzle. I like the way these fit, very true to size as well as having a forelock hole to help with fitting. I get the extra ones with the nose covering for further protection.
2) Fly Spray!
This can be such a minefield with soo many on the market, all with different prices, smells and bottles. And believe me, I have tried every one over the years as Guinness suffers so badly with sweet itch. I have finally found one to work- Power Phaser. It is slightly expensive, although so worth it as it is so strong. It stays all day.
3) Regularly check field waters
Not just for quantity but also temperature and for bugs! It goes without saying that the water must be kept topped up as the horses will drink more. But also consider the temperature, could you fill up in the morning so the water is cooler? Could you move the buckets into the shade? Maybe add another bucket out? Try to keep your water source as clean as possible to encourage drinking and prevent bacteria. From my dissertation, I have found that larger buckets are more appealing to horses to drink from.
4) Consider dietary changes- grazing.
The spring grass will be booming this year due to the recent weather, and if your yard is anything like mine the grass is greener than ever before! Although it looks lovely, it goes without saying the dangers that his grass can have on a horse. The use of a muzzle is fantastic at restricting grazing and managing their weight. As well as this, strip grazing or having a smaller paddock will also help. Whilst muzzles are a bit unsightly and it will make you feel bad when your pony looks at you with sad eyes because they can’t gauge on the grass, they will be so thankful to you in the long run. You will be thankful too when you avoid a huge vet bill!
5) Dietary changes- hard feed.
This goes hand in hand with the grazing management. Make sure that your hard feed compensates this too. Advice can always be sought after by a nutritionist. The best piece of advice is to be honest about your horse’s work requirements, most horses aren’t in hard work so don’t feed for it. Also don’t forget that your horse’s needs change yearly, so before you put them back onto that mix “because they have it every year to perk them up for competition”, consider if it is still appropriate.
6) Hoof Oil
I have written on here about my hoof oil of preference which is Kevin Bacon’s hoof solution, and I still love it! I find it so easy to use. With the sudden change in weather from cold to hot, the ground has dried up far more quickly than usual. Help prevent your horses hooves from cracking and hardening by applying this. Remember to cover the sole of the hoof as well as the outside.
7) Make sure they are ready for the season
This time of year attention is often turned towards competing and whilst there is a lot of focus on improving horse’s fitness levels, don’t forget the importance of complimentary therapies. Even for horses which do not compete regularly, a sports massage can have many benefits as well as just a general treat. For those who compete, it is important to start the season with a comfortable and sound horse. Do some research into what will be most beneficial for you and your horse.
I hope these tips and product recommendations prove useful!