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Embracing the Summer Heat for Horse Owners


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Managing Heat for Our Animals


One of the biggest challenges in this heat is keeping our animals comfortable. While we can't combat the heat directly, we can manage it by getting our animals out early in the day. This allows them to exercise, run, and soak up essential sunlight before the temperatures peak.


Being out early means they acclimate to the temperature as the day grows hotter.  Having a nervous system that works appropriately, horses can sweat to cool themselves.


In a light breeze even on the hottest days, sweating  horses are cooler than horses who are not sweating.  That said, in a dry climate, the sweat may not show up on some horses as they dry as fast as they sweat.


There has been long discussion on whether to hose your hot horse off or not.  Remember that sweat is the natural method the body uses to remove heat, excess toxins, and salts.  Hosing your horse down makes them wet, but it does not improve their ability to cool.


In the same way you would not offer your horse urine to replace liquid in his body, offering him the water scraped from his skin that includes sweat is NOT a method of replacing lost electrolytes.


Making sure your horse has access to salts he needs (not the nasty salt blocks bought at the feed store, but fresh Himalayan salt) and freshwater are the best ways to replace what is lost in sweat.


Reducing inflammation in the system of your horse is another important way to help him stay cool in the heat.  When we feed horses highly processed oils, sugars and grains, we increase their overall inflammatory body composition. This makes them hotter and makes cooling more difficult.


For a long list of reasons, having an inflammatory diet makes it harder for the organ systems to do their job of maintaining normal internal temperatures.  Many of these horses actually have a lower than normal rectal temperature.  


The Importance of Nighttime Grazing for Horses


Our horses have been quite active, roaming the ranch and grazing throughout the night. This nocturnal activity is vital for them, especially in hot weather. Horses are constant grazers, needing to keep their digestive systems moving. They’re like the whales of the prairie, eating small pieces of plants and converting them into the necessary proteins and carbohydrates their bodies need.


Navigating the Dark: Horses' Special Abilities


Horses have a remarkable ability to navigate in the dark, thanks to a special part of their retina called the tapetum lucidium. This feature reflects light back onto their retina, enhancing their night vision. However, they do struggle with transitioning quickly from light to dark due to their slower pupil response.


Hence coming up on them and shining a strong flashlight into their faces can make them temporarily blind.  Somewhat like the proverbial “deer in the headlights” effect.  If you can see the orange reflection of their retina, their pupils are large and will not shrink for several very long seconds.


The Role of Chiropractic Care


A significant factor in our horses' ability to move around the ranch efficiently is regular chiropractic adjustments. These adjustments help them maintain balance, coordinate their muscles, and navigate the terrain more effectively. Our horses receive chiropractic care twice a month, which might seem frequent, but it’s essential for their well-being and for our students' learning.


Chiropractic care also aids in draining excess inflammation from their bodies.  This means they have more mobile joints, organs that work more efficiently and a better ability to overcome heat.


High Standards of Care


We are meticulous about our horses' diet and hoof care, ensuring that they receive the best possible nutrition and management. This attention to detail helps maintain the quality of information their brains receive, promoting overall health.



For your horse’s optimum ability to manage heat and heat stress, follow these tips:


  1. Provide fresh water all day long

  2. Provide shade

  3. Provide an anti-inflammatory diet like Bos Equus

  4. Find a certified animal chiropractor near you at www.animalchiropracticeducation.com/alumni or www.animalchiropractic.org


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