Hot Weather

Performance Horse Nutrition

The upper critical temperature for horses is about 100°F and about 80°F for foals. Shade should be provided; preferably that allows unrestricted air flow. Coat clipping may help dissipate heat in horses with a long hair coat. In addition to providing adequate shade and ventilation, feeding habits can be changed in hot weather to help keep your horse cool. Provide plenty of water, as their intake can increase by nearly four times the amount they would drink in temperate weather. This high intake of water compensates for the increased sweating rate in hot conditions especially in exercising horses; high amounts of electrolytes are also lost with increased sweating and should be replaced with an added electrolyte supplement. Feed less forage, particularly legumes. The higher protein in legumes creates additional heat as the body digests it. Feed more grains and added fat to meet the energy requirements. Fats in particular result in less body heat when they’re digested, decreasing the heat load on the horse. Always make sure to provide adequate salt. Horses that are overweight will have difficulty keeping their body temperature down in hot weather. The excess weight also has a negative impact on performance, resulting in an increased heart and respiration rate.

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