PDA

View Full Version : Horse struggling in the humidity



mackandblues
Jul. 26, 2011, 02:59 PM
Recently moved to Houston which is just as hot as where we were living but not as humid. Mare is not adjusting well still after being here for a month. After a short 30 min ride of just easy walk and trot, she is panting at a 120 breaths per minute. She was never like this before where we used to live. I could ride her for 2 hours. She gets hosed off after being ridden and parked infrint of an industrial fan until her breathing is more normal. Also started the supplement one ac but probably too soon to notice a difference. Anyone with any tips/help?

baylady7
Jul. 26, 2011, 03:03 PM
try hosing off before you ride and ride her while she is wet coated

LShipley
Jul. 26, 2011, 03:06 PM
Humidity increases the heat index, so it probably feels hotter than where you lived previously.

Do you give your horse electrolytes? I find those really help my mare in the summer.

mackandblues
Jul. 26, 2011, 03:15 PM
Yes sorry she is on electrolytes.

kch7238
Jul. 26, 2011, 03:23 PM
I have a gelding that spent the last 5 years in Seattle, then came here to the Houston area for our really severe hot, early, and dry summer. He is not a good drinker. I believe hydration helps them. I soak his hay, give him very weak gatorade (3/4 scoop in a big bucket of water, he thinks it is a treat). On really hot days I pull him inside during the heat of the day, hose him, and put him under a fan for a while. Good luck!

Velvet
Jul. 26, 2011, 04:46 PM
Any time you move to some place new that is hotter (hotter feeling due to humidity which increases the heat index) it takes about a year for horses and humans to completely adjust to the change. Some (usually warmbloods) take longer to adapt. I'm just saying that you might want to see what happens over time. Take it easy for now, it will get cooler. Then when it gets warmer next summer, she might be better equipped to handle it.

It's not an overnight thing. I LOVE warm weather, but every time I've moved from some place cooler to some place warmer, it takes me a long time to adapt. If it's more humid, it takes me even longer. Same for my horses, based on my experiences.

Actually, moving some place truly cold can be easier for some horses, unless you do it in the dead of winter. Then it's brutal to both man and beast! :eek: Sometimes seems worse to me. You just cannot get warm. Cooling off usually takes hosing off and maybe applying some ice--and not doing too much until you adapt.

You could do a cool off FIRST, then ride and then cool off again. The eventers would have even better suggestions than us dressage riders on how to cool them down well and safely. I do know that there are a lot of new developments that they are testing out at events and could possibly help you get her started. (Hopefully not too expensive!)

Velvet
Jul. 26, 2011, 04:47 PM
On really hot days I pull him inside during the heat of the day, hose him, and put him under a fan for a while. Good luck!

Yep. Night turn out is the best in hot places. Inside with fans and sometimes even misters (when you have them) is best during the day in the hotter climates.

candyappy
Jul. 26, 2011, 04:57 PM
Can you change the time you ride? I used to be in Missouri ( moved last Sept) where humidity abounds! I always did my best to ride early mornings. My horses would stay in their barn ( their choice) during most of the day and go out in the evening. I know some people don't have a flexible schedule as to when they can ride, but your horse would do much better, in my experience.

cnm161
Jul. 26, 2011, 05:10 PM
Be forewarned... Houston's experiencing severe drought. It's not normally this "pleasant" outside. It's usually significantly more humid.

Tips for Houston riding:
Ride either before 10am or after 6pm.
Invest in fans. Lots of 'em.
Find shade for "real" work
Longer/more frequent walk breaks
Rinse before riding
Rinse after riding
Always scrape off excess water
Turn out at night
Water everything you can (feed, hay, etc)
Wait til October/November when the temps dip below 90.

If you want to cool her off quicker, sponge her down after her rides with water + rubbing alcohol. If you REALLY want to cool her off, ice + rubbing alcohol. Some people leave a water+alcohol bucket by the arena to cool the horses during walk breaks.

Enjoy Houston.

SGray
Jul. 26, 2011, 05:18 PM
Be forewarned... Houston's experiencing severe drought. It's not normally this "pleasant" outside. It's usually significantly more humid.

Tips for Houston riding:
Ride either before 10am or after 6pm.
Invest in fans. Lots of 'em.
Find shade for "real" work
Longer/more frequent walk breaks
Rinse before riding
Rinse after riding
Always scrape off excess water
Turn out at night
Water everything you can (feed, hay, etc)
Wait til October/November when the temps dip below 90.

If you want to cool her off quicker, sponge her down after her rides with water + rubbing alcohol. If you REALLY want to cool her off, ice + rubbing alcohol. Some people leave a water+alcohol bucket by the arena to cool the horses during walk breaks.

Enjoy Houston.


good advice

I would add - ride while she feels herself and take a rinse-off break before she gets stressed - so if she was stressed at 20, rinsebreak at 15 then ride another 15 - repeat

Alagirl
Jul. 26, 2011, 05:32 PM
I was only going to add that this stinkin high humidity here in bamaland is making me huff and puff with no exercise...can't blame any critter for doing it in work....:no:

moonriverfarm
Jul. 26, 2011, 05:49 PM
Meeeee toooo alagirl. As in - not riding unless it's before 8AM. Too hot for man and beast down here!

LShipley
Jul. 26, 2011, 05:51 PM
I am not sure about Houston, but in Austin the allergens are always high. Although you would think nothing is growing with the drought ....
But allergens can definitely affect breathing as well.

I personally take it very easy with my horse - trail riding or walk trot for 30 minutes - except for when I ride at 7 am on weekends.

horsefaerie
Jul. 26, 2011, 05:54 PM
I easily mix 50 quarts of weak gatorade for my horses everyday. Big help.

They are rinsed before coming into the barn and standing under fans mid day.

I have a garden mixer thing for wintergreen alcohol, listerine and apple cider vinegar to be mixed at least once a week if not more.

Gotta love the south and the humidity.

Liz
Jul. 26, 2011, 08:18 PM
Honestly, if it is your first summer here, I would take it easy until September when it cools off. You do not want to stress your horses system and have her stop sweating. I usually scale back in August because I feel like the heat starts to get to the horses, especially this summer being so hot. I just try to keep them from losing fitness but I don"t train on them as much. As another poster suggested, I would try night turnout and put up a fan.

Zu Zu
Jul. 26, 2011, 08:38 PM
JINGLES FOR YOUR MARE DURING THIS EXTREME SUMMER OF
HEAT & HUMIDITY ~

Classical DQ
Jul. 26, 2011, 08:58 PM
Please be sure to scrape the water off when you rinse!! In humidity the water on the hair/skin can not evaporate and it just sits and gets warm and makes it even hotter for the horse to cool off. Because of this, I would not recommend rinsing before I rode unless you had time to let her almost completely dry. After you ride, cold or ice water and continue to scrape. You will know when you may stop when your horse's coat is not hot to the touch. Definitely keep in during the day under high velocity fan and turn out at night. Keeping their coat clean also helps them to stay cooler, so on days your don't ride, be sure to groom her and get the sticky dirt off so that the skin can breathe!

Banner
Jul. 26, 2011, 09:54 PM
It is simple - Move back to NC :-)

OK, in all seriousness - lots of walk breaks, ride early in the am or late in the pm, hose her chest off before you ride, and it doesn't hurt to have a bucket of cold water in the arena while you are riding. Have some clothes in it and put a fresh one over her withers throughout your ride. Some rubbing alcohol works too - what cools down you and a horse is the evaporation process. Alcohol (rubbing that is ;-) evaporates quickly.

Sorry they are having such a tough time. Banner had a hard to time when her first moved from Canada to NC, but he did acclimate.....

J-Lu
Jul. 26, 2011, 11:16 PM
Honestly, if it is your first summer here, I would take it easy until September when it cools off. You do not want to stress your horses system and have her stop sweating. I usually scale back in August because I feel like the heat starts to get to the horses, especially this summer being so hot. I just try to keep them from losing fitness but I don"t train on them as much. As another poster suggested, I would try night turnout and put up a fan.

This, and cnm's suggestions. It'll take your horse time to acclimate. I hope you have access to a covered arena....

AllWeatherGal
Jul. 27, 2011, 12:53 PM
Good thread. I didn't know about hosing down until cool to the touch ... my very thin-skinned mare is adjusting pretty well to the move from hot (but dry) northern California to central Florida, but we do a LOT of walk warmup.

lorilu
Jul. 27, 2011, 01:20 PM
Another comment re: skin cool to the touch. My heavy bodied Perch X (not drafty - looks like an old-time WB)holds heat internally - even if I hose until he is cool to the touch, and his breath is cool, in 30 minutes he will feel warm again.... I hose for a long time, paying particular attention to the lower legs, inside hind legs, and poll/neck areas where blood vessels are close to the skin.

Sunsets
Jul. 27, 2011, 02:00 PM
This summer is absolutely miserable. We're not getting a break at all.

You've gotten great suggestions. I prefer to ride after 7 pm (we have lights on the arena) - I think the humidity is lower than it is in the morning.

I bet your mare will be better next summer. They do acclimate.

yaya
Jul. 27, 2011, 02:17 PM
If they become truly anhidrotic, they do MOT acclimate.

My mare has been in the south for 18 years, and quit sweating after she had been here for 5 or 6 years already. So no, she has not acclimated in the last 13 years.

There is a crew outside right now spray-foam insulating my barn to try to keep it cooler in there.

Next step will be to air-condition a stall. Sigh.

leilatigress
Jul. 27, 2011, 02:21 PM
Welcome to hell..I mean Houston! Picked a *WONDERFUL* summer to move here. I'll second the water/alcohol mix as a lifesaver during the summer. We actually have a gelding at our barn that you can walk till you're legs fall off and he's still breathing as hard as if you just worked him. He requires water to cool down and bring his temps down. He also has the sweating problem so we ride him wet during the summer in a COVERED arena. Any and all hard work for horses is suspended during the summer as they should be pretty fit from winter riding. I ride at 6am and even at 6 the temps are usually in the high 80s and by 10 we could have triple digits. So it's ride everything you can from 6-9am water/feed/whatever and get in the house by 11 and stay in till 5 or so. It's still triple digits at that time but the horses that are out have had enough and are at that time trying to tear the gate down to get in. Get them in/fed/hosed whatever. Get your barn chores done till 8 or so, toss the night guys out and saddle whatever you didn't get rode in the morning. Hose out and get done by about 10 or 11 get up and do it again.

BaroquePony
Jul. 27, 2011, 07:10 PM
Posted by mackandblues:

Recently moved to Houston which is just as hot as where we were living but not as humid.

Check the *air quality* (pollution index) on your weather page every day. A *code orange* in NC makes me and my pony drag our feet.

Boomer
Jul. 29, 2011, 08:03 PM
This summer is absolutely miserable. We're not getting a break at all.

You've gotten great suggestions. I prefer to ride after 7 pm (we have lights on the arena) - I think the humidity is lower than it is in the morning.

I bet your mare will be better next summer. They do acclimate.

I agree- to me it does feel less humid if I ride at 7pm after work. But the heat of the day is hard, even as the sun starts going down. My guy does better when I ride before 8am on the weekends but alas, not every day is a weekend ; )

Hampton Bay
Jul. 29, 2011, 11:36 PM
the high humidity combined with high temp means there is less oxygen in the air, so breathing becomes more labored to get the same amount of oxygen into the body.

my mare has been having similar issues starting last summer, worse this summer. she's 20, and I'm just going to have to stop riding her in the summer.

GimmeQs
Jul. 29, 2011, 11:47 PM
These are a great help - great topic, OP!
Question: does the alcohol cause any danger regarding constricting vasculature? I'm thinking it's not that powerful (or does nothing at all).

I remember seeing scores of competitors keeping their dogs in the AC until show time and then run the crap out of them in the heat. At first it sounds good but is really bad. Now I'm vigilant about double checking heat advice.

mackandblues
Jul. 30, 2011, 12:12 AM
My trainer and I have come up with a plan that seems to be working so far... we work her (not too hard - just working her balance issues at the walk and trot) and then hose her off. She just gets a good rinse and then stands infront of an industrial size fan. She loves the air blowing in her face. Within 5-10 minutes she's cooled down.

Question - if I wanted to try the alcohol/water thing - whats the ratio of water:alcohol?

lorilu
Jul. 30, 2011, 05:21 PM
the high humidity combined with high temp means there is less oxygen in the air, so breathing becomes more labored to get the same amount of oxygen into the body.

.

HUH? Never heard this before.... since I am a bit of a science geek, would love to get a source for this!
L

Hampton Bay
Jul. 30, 2011, 09:04 PM
HUH? Never heard this before.... since I am a bit of a science geek, would love to get a source for this!
L

Humidity %-age is based on how much water is in the air relative to the total possible water in the air at the given temp. More water can be vaporized at higher temps. So a 50% humidity at 100 degrees means there is more water in the air than a 50% humidity at 50 degrees.

More water in the air (and higher temp) means less oxygen per unit volume. It's basic chemistry.

lorilu
Jul. 31, 2011, 08:05 PM
But the difference is less than 1% ! Here is an interesting chart:(for some reason I cannot copy the chart and past it here.... Go to page 4 of this document http://www.apogeeinstruments.com/pdf_files/o2s_correcting.pdf
and look at the chart.
It shows that the difference in % of O2 in the air at 80% humidity (whew!) at 25 degrees C vs. 35 degrees C is only about .5%. That's about the same as going up 500 feet in elevation. (another chart at the begining of the article).
I just don't think horses struggle any more at 500 ft than they do at sea level?

Again, just trying to understand this comment.

Personally, I think it is a problem with body heat, cooling the body, the lack of evaporation due to humidity, and the resulting lack of cooling.

Liz
Jul. 31, 2011, 08:21 PM
My experience with a horse struggling in the summer heat is to scale back to the bare minimum until the temps go down. The last thing you want to do is stress their system and cause them to stop sweating. Once that happens sometimes they can sweat again but they will always be prone to stopping sweating. Down here that can be a big problem for a performance horse. This summer is hotter than normal. If I brought a horse down I would take it easy until September. Really, it is only a month away, you won't lose much. I am not inclined to rinse them off before i ride because in high humidity, if the water is not evaporating off, you may be making the horse hotter. I am all for sponging off a horse in the middle of a lesson if they do not sweat enough. I think heat is cumulative, it is not the first 30 days of 100+ temps that cause horses to stress, it is the last 30 (or in the case of this summer 60).

mackandblues
Aug. 14, 2011, 07:28 PM
So she has stopped sweating now. And only being ridden at most 3 times per week for the past several weeks.... my poor baby

jm2
Aug. 14, 2011, 07:50 PM
If she has completely shut down, I'd try acupuncture. True anhidrosis has several *presumed* causes. One could be thyroid, another is electrolyte imbalance and the newest I just heard was something to do with dopamine. Sweating is part of the para-sympathetic nerve system.

I had an OTTB (R.I.P.) that was not a good drinker or sweater. He was not true anhidrosis as he would get a little sweat between his butt cheeks and at the base of his ears.

I have a mini who has shut down this summer (and last) and you HAVE to get them to drink. I just had her Aqua-punctured (8, B-12 shots at different meridians) and started her on One AC and she has begun to sweat on her chest. I also have tried yarrow and peppermint (herbs)- but not sure if those have worked since she got those along with the One AC. I also add iodized sea salt to both feedings. 1 TB. in both feedings. (less for my mini)

I also feed all meals soaked. All of mine get soaked hay cubes as their "base" meal.

I already know my mini has weak thyroid and I believe One AC is somewhat successful with those that have weak thyroid.

On a sidenote, I was told NOT to hose before you ride as this will close up the pores and make it worse. I always did this with my old TB and then was told not to do this. It is better to hose, stick under fans until dry, then work the horse. Once the horse IS working, you can sponge water on the neck and chest.

When you hose, you should concentrate on the thin skinned areas and the jugular. You will cool the blood faster. From the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta it was found that hosing a minimum 3 times with scraping in between to be sufficient for most horses. Hose until the belly "drippings" are cool water.

I have horses in Florida (all Florida born) and still have problems with sweating. My 3 big horses though sweat like pigs!

mackandblues
Aug. 14, 2011, 07:52 PM
Just talked with my trainer - she's still sweating a bit under her saddle pad but she's stopped sweating on her neck and chest which used to be sopping wet...

horsefaerie
Aug. 14, 2011, 08:42 PM
We never gave electrolytes without plenty of liquid. I know this is inconvenient for a lot of folks but that is why I mix Gatorade. One scoop from the large container to eight quarts of water. As it cools off they drink less. However, some days I have a gelding that will drink 64 quarts! Rarely, but then we are having incredible temps that just keep coming.

They all learn to like it very quickly and their consumption is very good. I always leave a bucket of plain water in the stall as well.

Samuel Adams live culture beer did the trick for an acute case of non-sweating many years ago. 4oz twice a day for a large t bred mare.

I think the practice of putting one A/C in the food is risky.

When I rode endurance I was told electrolytes will NOT make them drink and that consuming them without water could really cause more problems than not.

I wonder if that has changed? If it has I'd love to see the paper on it.

TequilaMockingbird
Aug. 14, 2011, 10:30 PM
Although it's been hot and dry this year in Houston, we have been very blessed humidity wise. Also we've had hardly any mosquitoes. But if you think it's humid now, you're in for a nasty surprise next year. This is probably the best summer to try to acclimate if you're already used to the high temperature.

I hate riding in the mornings when it's this hot because it's more humid. I normally ride at 6pm in the shade. It's hot but not humid at that time.

I have been hosing down the horses before and after I ride since we started getting triple digit temperatures for days on end.