Horses need special care in hot weather


June 27, 1993|By MUPHEN WHITNEY

Karen Holloway, extension agent for agricultural science in Howard County, is celebrating her first year in the position. She came to the Howard extension office in July last year after several years in the same post in Allegany County.

"I grew up on a farm in Harford County and I'm glad to be back in this area," Holloway said. "It's refreshing to have a change, and I really enjoyed my first year in Howard."

Holloway currently lives on a 600-acre Howard farm, and she said one beneficial thing about the area is that she can live on the farm but be close enough to the city to take advantage of things going on there.

"We can provide a wide variety of resource information, general management advice and pasture management advice to horse owners," Holloway said. "We have the resources to call on to get lots of answers about all kinds of topics, including horse nutrition and health."

Holloway and veterinarian Doug Carmel conferred to come up with some advice for hot-weather management of your horse.

The first things horse owners need to be aware of when the weather gets hot is that they must provide their horses with plenty of fresh wa

ter, shade and proper ventilation.

Carmel said that horse owners need to be aware of hyperthermia, heat exhaustion and heat stroke. An excess of activity under conditions of poor ventilation, high temperature, high humidity or a combination of these factors can bring about heat-related physical problems in a horse.

The first warning signals are weakness, increase in pulse and respiration and muscle tremors. The horse's body temperature may or may not rise when the problem begins. Lack of sweating is a later symptom. Eventual collapse of the horse is possible without treatment.

You should know what is normal

for your horse so that you will recognize signs of distress. If you suspect your horse is having a problem with heat, call your vet, get your horse into the shade or another place with good ventilation and bathe him with cool water. If you can get him into a stream or pond, so much the better.

Make sure that you get cool water or ice on his head and on the major blood vessels in his neck and between his legs. Don't forget that a horse lying down is always at increased risk, so try to keep your horse on his feet.

If you must work your horse in typically hot, hazy, humid Maryland summer weather, make sure you work only for short periods and try to do it in the coolest part of the day.

Carmel said horse owners should be concerned about trailering in hot weather. Make sure your trailer is well-ventilated and try to move your horse in the coolest part of the day.

Two notes from me: Water buckets need to be cleaned out more often in hot weather.

Also, most horses do not need any kind of grain during the summer. They will do just fine with good quality grass, good hay to munch on when they are in their stalls, access to a salt or mineral block, and as much water as they want to drink.

Calendar of events

Today -- All English Horse Show. Lehigh Show Grounds. (410) 848-6597.

Today -- TRRC Horse Show. Foxfield Farm, Woodbine. (410) 442-2880.

Monday and Tuesday -- Maryland Combined Training Association Cross Country Clinic with Lucinda Green. Jackson's Hole Farm, Upperco. (410) 666-3157.

June 30 through July 3 -- U. S. Pony Club Regional Rally. Combined Training. Fair Hill, Elkton. (410) 398-8270.

July 4 -- Mid-Maryland Horse and Pony Association Show. Howard County Fairgrounds. (410) 875-2050.

July 7 -- Severn Valley Stables Twilight Shows. Dressage, Combined Tests, Clear Round Stadium Jumping. Judge: Vanessa Holden Swartz. (410) 757-1971.

July 10 -- Howard County Youth Horse Show Series. Judge: Robin Townsend. Schooley Mill Park, Highland. (301) 596-9461.

July 18 -- Mid-Maryland Horse and Pony Association Show. Howard County Fairgrounds. (410) 875-2050.

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