As we settle into the hottest months of the year, it is important to remember that your horse can suffer from heatstroke, sunburn and dehydration. These conditions can be easily avoided if you have a plan of action and are fully equipped to help prevent them from taking hold.

We have put together a quick guide that can assist you in being prepared for the heat, with simple solutions on how to make sure your horse is kept safe and well in the summer heat.

Heat stroke

If not spotted in time this can be lethal for horses. They are unable to lose body heat quickly, meaning their temperature will only continue to rise unless stopped.


  • Heavy breathing
  • Fast pulse
  • Restlessness
  • Lethargy
  • Increased salivation
  • Muscle spasms
  • Higher body temperature
  • Collapse


  • Don’t expose your horse to the hottest time of the day
  • Ensure that water is available at all times of the day
  • Clip their coat
  • Do not travel with your horse if it can be avoided
  • Dampen your horse with cool water
  • Remove tack as soon as it is not needed
  • Assist with cooling after exercise by walking lightly


Horses are just as at risk from sunburn as we are. It can range from a slight discomfort with some redness and peeling, to more severe blisters which can be very painful


  • Redness of the skin
  • Peeling
  • Blisters and sores


  • Cover your horse in a summer sheet or fly rug to help protect the skin
  • Masks and hoods can help to protect the head and face
  • Apply animal safe sunscreen to any exposed areas of the body
  • Keep your horse in a stable during daytime hours


If your horse is dehydrated they will perform less well than normal, but more than that, it can cause a risk to their life if not spotted quickly. A horse can sweat profusely during exercise which can speed up the process of dehydration, so it is important to know what to do to fix this as soon as they start to cool down.


  • Loss of appetite
  • Excessive sweating
  • Lethargy
  • Dull and dry eyes
  • Higher heart rate
  • Fever
  • Dark urine
  • Disorientation


  • Make sure that water is available at all times
  • Soak their food so that they can have extra water
  • Use electrolyte supplements so that you can replace what is lost through sweating
  • Ensure a good warm up and cool down routine with exercise
  • Hose your horse down with cool water whenever they are hot
  • Move them into a shaded spot


Post By Kimberley Roderick