Equines and Summer Heat

Hydration is particularly important during the summer.
Hydration is particularly important during the summer.

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

Index        177

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!