KarenChaton.com - Full Article
by Karen Chaton
It has suddenly gotten hotter. It should get up to 90 degrees here today and will get even warmer than that in the next few days. I know in previous years when I have ridden my horses more in the heat, they acclimate to it rather well and have done well on rides that were very hot or else hot and humid.
When my horses have gone to rides that were suddenly hot or abnormally hot and humid compared to the kind of conditions we had been riding in – it was a lot harder on them.
This got me curious about how long it takes to acclimate a horse to riding in heat and humidity. I was able to find quite a bit of information including a few studies where they were able to acclimate horses in 21 days, with results showing up in 14 days. Perfect timing for those planning on going to the Tevis – NOW is the time to really get our horses acclimated to the heat. Later this week we are also due to have afternoon thunderstorms which means it will be hot AND humid. As a side benefit, while I am getting my horses better prepared to handle working in hotter and more humid conditions I will also be acclimating myself.
I know riders who have worked their horses with sheets on in order to help the horse learn to deal with the additional heat load. That makes sense. It’s a lot like working them in the spring with their winter coat and then doing a full body clip just before a ride. With careful monitoring of your horses vital signs you can do this safely – just make sure your horse doesn’t over heat or become dehydrated, and that you allow enough time for the horse to recover after each work out...
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