As equestrians we’re all relieved when winter’s finally over and spring pushes into summer. However, with the sun come horseflies and increased temperatures that our hoofed friends are less keen on. We’ve got some super horse care tips to help you through the warmer months – making your summer a little easier… and cheaper!
#1: Homemade fly spray
Fly spray is definitely an essential during the summer months, however, it’s expensive which means many of us don’t use as much as we should. Below is an easy recipe to make your own at home (now you can spray to your heart’s content!)
- Find an old spray bottle
- Add 2 parts Dettol and 5 parts water
- Give it a good shake
This recipe works out at less than £1 for 500ml! You can also add a few drops of lavender or citronella oil to increase its potency, just make sure you give it a good shake before application to ensure the oils are homogenised. It’s advised that you perform a patch test on your horse before full application to ensure they don’t react to it.
#2: Keeping flies away in the stable
As part of their summer routine most horses are in during the day and out at night. Yet, even horses stabled out of the heat are often pestered by flies. A great way to keep them away is to spray your horses bed and stable walls using the recipe outlined in point #1.
This also works if your horse likes to eat their bedding as it makes it taste even worse! This approach has worked wonders for me with wood pellets.
#3: Post exercise wash off (fly tips)
As the weather gets hotter our horses sweat more and more. Although a sponge and water does the trick, you can add another stage in your defence against flies by adding a dash of Dettol, and a single drop of baby oil into a bucket of water (this also leaves your horse’s coat smooth and grease free).
#4: Hoof moisturiser
Warmer weather dries out horse hooves. Over the years I’ve tried multiple hoof oils and moisturisers, including aqueous cream which is supposed to be a cheap alternative to hoof products. However, aqueous cream typically contains sulphates which act as a detergent and is not good for yours horse’s feet.
The best hoof product I’ve found is Kevin Bacon Hoof Grease. My horse’s feet would crack during the dry weather, however, after applying this 3 times a week the cracks began to seal. Although it’s relatively expensive (approximately £17 /litre) it does last about two months.
I believe hoof care is not something to scrimp on. After all, everyone’s heard the saying ‘no foot, no horse’.
Horses sweat in the heat, so it’s important to feed electrolytes – especially after exercise. You can buy electrolytes online for around £12 a tub, but they’re really easy to make:
- 50g low salt
- 50g table salt
- 10 litres of water
- (optional: a splash of apple juice to mask the salty taste)
#6: Be safe be seen
All of us know we should wear hi-visibility clothing when riding on the road, however, sometimes the last thing we want to do is put on more clothes.
Instead of turning to builder/horse specific hi-vis clothing check out the offerings of your local sports shop. Many sell clothing specifically aimed at runners and alike, meaning that they’re designed to wick away sweat and reducing your temperature.
Stuck for somewhere to put your phone? Get a bumbag. Again, the best ones are aimed at runners so check out your local sport shop. I’ve been using one I found on Amazon.
#8: Cooling your horse’s legs
After strenuous exercise it’s important that you cool off your horses legs to reduce their risk of injury. There are countless boots made specifically for this purpose, but if you don’t have any to hand try placing a J-cloth between your horses leg and some frozen, disposable ice-cube bags. I often fix this all in place using a brushing boot, but a cool water boot would work even better.
#9: Ice lollies
Perhaps one of the best horse care tips for summer: homemade ice lollies! These will keep your horse occupied and also help to cool them down. All you need are some horse friendly fruit and/or veg, an old ice cream tub, and some water.
- Chop up the fruit/veg into appropriately sized chunks
- Put all of the pieces into an old ice cream tub with water
- Place it in the freezer
- Once frozen, simply tip out into your horses feed bowl
#10: Providing extra water
Hay can get dry and dusty during the summer months, often resulting in eye infections and respiratory issues. To overcome this consider soaking or wetting your horses hay – this not only reduces dust, but also adds to their fluid intake. Soaking the hay does remove some of the nutrition, however; this includes sugars, and can be put to good use if you’re not riding in the heat or your horse is on a diet!
If you’re still concerned your horse isn’t taking on enough fluids then consider adding soaked feed to their diet (e.g. sugarbeet or Calm and Condition). In both instances you can add more water than suggested, you might just end up with a sloppier consistency!
Have you got any of your own horse care tips for summer? Be sure to leave a comment below!