What do I need to do to get my horse ready for summer?
For most folks, summer means beach vacations, no school, and longer days. For horse folks, it means bugs, horse shows, and longer days. Now is the time to start preparing your horse for the summer, so that everyone is comfortable and your show weekends can go smoothly!
Here’s a list of things I like to do to get the horses ready for summer:
- The next rotation of deworming is probably due! Check with your Veterinarian for an appropriate worming schedule for your climate and area. Many Veterinarians are now suggesting targeted deworming and fecal egg counts.
- Clip! I don’t mean body clip, but it’s a good idea to get into the habit of clipping ears, muzzles, bridle paths, legs, etc. This makes getting ready for a show easy, and if you keep your horse clipped up, the better he will tolerate the clippers. Or skip the clipping if you like.
- Now is also a great time to shorten that mane, bang that tail, and start to practice your braiding!
- Check your fly sheet and fly mask fit. You may not be using them full time just yet, so get prepared. I have two sets, just in case of an accidental tear or when one set is in the laundry. Fly sheet fit is critical to be safe, and protected from the bugs.
- What’s your bug control plan for the summer? Now is the time to start fighting flies and critters!
- What are you doing for sunscreen for your horse? A fly mask with nose is a good idea, so is some zinc oxide cream on his nose.
- Are you taking steps to prevent your horse from getting sun bleached? Sun bleaching can be helped with diet, and some management ideas.
- You may want to do a diet analysis with the help of a Veterinarian or Equine Nutritionist. Pasture conditions change, metabolic changes can flare during seasonal changes, and you want to make sure he has the proper nutrition to get you through the show season!
Fly season is upon us!
- Adjust slowly to the heat and humidity. Exercise your horse early if the day is going to be unseasonably hot and/or humid, so he can slowly acclimate to the summer time temperature extremes.
- Be wary of your arena footing. Often the warmer months are drier and your footing can become hard and possibly uneven. Here's a quick read on arena maintanence.
- You may need to adjust your farrier schedule, as hooves sometimes grow a little faster in the summer.
What else is on your summer-ready list?