With high temperatures and high humidity we can put our horses at risk when we ride. Long summer days give us lots of daylight hours, but the summer also brings a lot of heat. Fresh, cool, clean water is always of utmost importance in the summer, and cooling off our equines should also be a priority. Can it, however, be too hot to ride? Yes! Riding in heat indexes exceeding 180′ can be dangerous for you and your horse, donkey, or mule.
The following is a guideline to use when we ride.
Determine the Heat Index for Horses using the following formula:
Temperature (F) plus % humidity minus wind speed.
Example: Temperature 97 degrees (F)
+ Humidity 80 percent
Minus wind speed 10 MPH
Total index 167
Index less than 130, no restrictions assuming adequate hydration
Index 131-165, use caution, some cooling procedures should be available such as utilizing shade, being able to rinse with a cool bath. Use electrolytes. Riding limited to 4 hours
Index 166-180, use extreme caution, electrolytes should be administered often, shade and cooling rinse should be sought ASAP. It is recommended this index range be avoided if at all possible. If not, maximum 2 hours
Index over 180, DO NOT RIDE!