Hauling horses is inherently stressful for the horse, add inclement weather conditions and the stress on both the horse and the driver increases. With temperatures reaching record breaking highs across the country this year it is even more important that steps are taken to ensure your horse’s health and comfort be a priority before leaving home.
We’ve listed the following article which will help make the trip safer and keep your horse’s travel more comfortable. Most importantly, safe.
First off, heat stress is dangerous for horses. The following excerpt on HEAT STRESS is compliments of TheHORSE online and Marcia King:
Heat stress is the response of the horse's body to increased dehydration, high heat, and electrolyte loss. If unaddressed, heat stress can lead to heat exhaustion and circulatory collapse.
In extreme dry heat horses can sweat off so much moisture that they become dehydrated due to loss of fluids and electrolytes. In contrast, a working horse in hot and humid conditions doesn't evaporate much sweat because there's so much water in the air already; consequently, the horse gets no cooling effects from evaporation and continues to sweat, resulting in loss of electrolytes and fluids.
Signs of mild heat stress include a temperature above 103ï¿½F and an increased capillary refill time (more than two seconds). Signs of serious heat stress include a temperature of 106ï¿½F or above, elevated heart rate, dehydration, thready pulse, pale or brown-red gums, depression, lack of appetite, and a lack of thirst in spite of dehydration.
If your horse appears to be suffering from mild heat stress:
Move him to a shady, well-ventilated spot.
Cool him off by sponging or hosing him, particularly on the undersides, the limbs, and the neck, with lots of cool or cold water.
Walk him for a few minutes (this helps move the heat away from the muscles).
Cool him off again with water.
If your horse appears to shows signs of serious heat stress, immediately contact a veterinarian, then apply the above cooling techniques while waiting for the veterinarian's arrival.--Marcia King
Safe Travels from all of us at CowboysHighway.com!