And suddenly, it feels like summer – okay, not everywhere it seems – but in much of the country the days are getting awfully hot and humid. Riders, farm employees and horses may start to slow down a little, but the work still has to get done, so particular care must be taken in summer to bar against dehydration and heat exhaustion.
For the sake of ourselves and our horses, our schedules and habits must change: for instance, ride earlier in the morning or later in the evening to avoid the heat of the day; take shorter rides and allow for lots of walk breaks; remove your helmet between rides if you ride multiple horses and try to remember to drink more water than you think you need – if you’re feeling thirsty, you’re already behind on H2O intake.
Keeping the horses hydrated can be a bit trickier, however, because as the old saying goes, “you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink.” There are plenty of tricks to try and get horses to drink, like flavoring water, soaking hay and feeding sloppy, watery mashes.
Water is inarguably the most important nutrient, but do you know how dehydration actually affects your horse’s health and wellbeing? The Horse published an article this week outlining what happens when horses receive insufficient amounts of water. Click here to read the article, and remember to always make sure your horse has access to clean, fresh water, regardless of the weather!
Insulin Resistance: Insulin resistance in horses is the decreased ability for cells to transport glucose (sugar) into muscles and other tissues. It is often associated with metabolic disease, laminitis and Cushings. Diet, age, breed and many other factors are at play, but grazing on lush grass and becoming overweight is considered a common culprit. A recent study tested the effects of heavy grazing on glucose tolerance, and the results may come as a surprise. [Horsetalk]
Equine Herspesvirus: With so many horses in the United States on the move for shows, lessons and even vet visits, there is a lot to consider as they may come in contact with unfamiliar horses. EHV-1 is a contagious viral disease that affects the respiratory tract and may cause abortion in pregnant mares, and some agriculture department websites maintain updates on the presence of the Equine Herpesvirus (EHV-1) in their state. Fran Jurga has rounded up important notifications regarding the disease from around the country. [The Jurga Report]
Laser Therapy: Laser therapy is an increasingly popular form of treatment for a variety in ailments in horses. However, according to this article, the “scientific jury” is still out because there are no “peer reviewed controlled clinical trials” analyzing the affects of laser therapy in horses, even though it has proven to be an effective treatment in humans. How does laser therapy work? How is it used? Here is what you need to know. [Horse Canada]
Nutrient Deficiency: Most commercially prepared horse feeds provide your horse with a balanced diet to meet his energy, protein, and vitamin and mineral needs. However, some horses are at risk for developing a nutrient deficiency or imbalance. But like most aspects of horse ownership, you shouldn’t change a diet or add supplements willy-nilly. Learn about the common nutrient deficiencies and how to find out if your horse has one. [The Horse]
Remarkable Reading: You may not want to read this first thing in the morning (like I did!) or if you have a weak stomach, but this is an incredible story about a veterinarian determined to help a horse who was going to be put down if the foreign object in his body was not recovered. The story has a happy ending, but it took quite a lot of persistence took get there. [Horse and Hound]