I live in northwest NC, and here, like in much of the country, we have had day upon day of really high heat and humidity. We are in desperate need of some RAIN!
Many of my friends in NC have really curtailed their horse-plans to take into account the high heat and humidity: riding and teaching lessons very early in the day, doing lighter, less intense work sessions with the horses, maybe doing ground work instead of actually riding.
I was hoping to trailer out for a lesson soon, but this heat has me a bit worried. We will be traveling a little over an hour from home, but I am questioning myself about the decision. I am worried that even an hour, in 90+ degree temps, will be detrimental to my horse's health. I'm not as worried about the trip to the trainer's facility, as I am putting the horse through a stiff work session, and then having to trailer her back home.
I thought I would start a post about how others handle situations like this with their horses. Maybe you can post tips on how to successfully trailer in higher heat and humidity conditions - or maybe even NOT trailer - and just wait until better weather conditions prevail.
As much as I would like a lesson, I'm not to keen on putting my horses into situations that could possible endanger their health and well-being to fulfill my own wishes.
I think it depends on whether or not you will hit traffic on the way home. If you are stuck in traffic, it could easily get too hot for the horse. If you have a well ventilated trailer with fans, I think you should be ok if you don't have to stop for traffic. We usually hose the horse thoroughly before loading so he at least starts out well cooled. Our trailer is a white colored Sundowner with lots of screened windows and fans. It does get hot in there, but is usually tolerable. I would carry a cooler of ice and a couple of 5 gallon containers of water in case something goes wrong.
Can you do the lesson and then wait to come home until it cools off and is starting to get a bit dark?
It's what you're used to, of course, and we don't have as much humidity here - but in California it's pretty routine to trailer our horses in 90F weather. Indeed I would say that it's the most common kind of weather to trailer in. All summer you'll see horse trailers going up and down Interstate 5 for 5 hours + when it's 90-100F out. (At those temps, I also worry about trailer tires a bit.)
I think I would try it, and I would be aware of the horse, and be prepared to abort as needed. If the horse looks peaked and is dehydrated when you get to the lesson, well, cancel the lesson (or do just walk work).
Horses, at least my horses, are used to being out in the heat all day.
My trick, btw, is to travel with carrots and some water handy, then dip the carrots in water and feed them to help deal with dehydration. I have little luck getting them to drink, but they rarely refuse carrots.
If you are allergic to a thing, it is best not to put that thing in your mouth, particularly if the thing is cats. - Lemony Snicket
What? What? Another thing to worry about? :-) Are the trailer tires at significant risk when it's that hot? My trailer manufacturer recommends shielding the tires from direct sun when the trailer is parked, but, I hadn't even gotten to the point of worrying about what could happen to them while driving down a hot highway (though I'm not on the road for anywhere near 5 hours at a time).
My horses get soaked, shredded beet pulp without molasses every day for lunch. Good source of fat, low protein, high fiber, good for digestion, etc. Anyway, it's very useful for getting water into horses at shows. I add a lot more water than I usually would so that it's a soup. They love the beet pulp and will lick the grain bucket clean, lapping up all the water as they go. Of course, you want to get your horse in the habit of eating it at home since some horses need a few times to come to the conclusion that it's pretty tasty.
Fixating, thanks for the link. Interesting reading.
Last edited by suzy; Jul. 9, 2010 at 01:26 PM.
Along with make sure you have lots of ventilation, there is a trick I learned from some folks many moons ago.
Ice the floor of the trailer--put down a layer of shavings, get bags of ice from the mini mart and put them around the hoof area, then a layer of insulating shavings. Add ice as needed during hauling breaks and before you head home. It's amazing how much keeping the feet cool helps the whole horse.
fwiw, I have found that on hot days it is cooler inside my trailer in the full sun than right outside it. I would still rather not be stuck in traffic in the heat towing horses, and I do tend to stay home more in the summer, but I recommend checking out your particular trailer's insulation and airflow.
I won't gleefully head into 5:00 Atlanta traffic in the July doldrums, but beyond that I load up and go. Open every vent, let the horse truly cool out before loading up to come home, etc...I haul to lessons and shows off and on all summer. The horse is fine. Now if YOUR horse is a heat-weanie that's different, and only you know that about your horse- I know that my guy I'm training is fine, he's fit as a fiddle and the heat doesn't seem to get to him. I offer water, a great rinse and scrape then park him in the shade til he's cool, then load up and come home. I don't get diesel, etc if I can help it- I do try to make sure that here to there has no stops along the way, little things like that- but no, for an hour trip? Just go.
Lots of great tips already shared! Here in SoCal it gets hot during the summer, so we just try to travel early or late, keep as much air flowing through the trailer, and try to avoid sticky traffic areas. A little trick I have learned that I use mostly while my horse is in her stall is to hose her off with her Kensington Fly Sheet on- the fabric creates little water pockets and it takes a little longer for it to evaporate.
Great replies - keep them coming. I had to chuckle at katarine - is my horse a "heat weenie" - well, she is an Arabian if that tells you anything! She tells me all the time she can take the heat, and she pretty much does.
I pretty much haul all summer long, but I try to plan ahead so that I'm as sure as I can be that I won't hit traffic at the hottest part of the day. I have an airy stock-type trailer, which certainly helps with airflow, but sometimes doesn't provide quite enough protection from direct sun.
I carry a couple of these just in case I get stuck in traffic, the battery life on them is pretty good. I've also done a quick pull-over, sluiced him down with water and then get on the road again. The evaporation really helps.
So, know what your horse can deal with, plan ahead, and have some backup measures in mind just in case plans go awry.
Some REALLY good tips! I must say, I haven't been doing much of anything in the 100 degree + temps we've been having. I have a stock side to my trailer, which I really do like - and drop down windows on the opposite side (plus top vents), that helps keep air flowing during trailering - I live in the country so I don't really have to deal with any traffic issues when trailering. I am looking into fans now. I like what EiRide suggested about icing the trailer floor/shavings - COOL idea!
Pretty much May-Sept here, it is 90 degrees plus with high humidity. July and August are generally brutal. I will NOT haul if getting stuck in traffic is a possibility. I also will NOT haul in the middle of the day, unless it is just absolutely necessary. But, I go to my weekly lesson, which is a 46 mile drive each way. My trailer has top vents, drop down windows on the head side and slats on the hip side. And I just got a fan installed. So, there is good ventilation in my trailer, especially when it is moving.
I like to hose and scrape (you MUST scrape) my horse off just before I load her. That definitely keeps her cooler on the trip.
I do make sure my horse is THOROUGHLY cooled out before I head back home. (My trainer has a big fan in her wash rack so she stays under that fan after I hose and scrape her after the lesson.) And if necessary, I do a second hosing/scraping before loading up. Ideally I would like her to drink before we head home but rarely will she do so. I do rinse her mouth out with the hose so at least she doesn't have "cotton mouth."
I do NOT haul my anhidriotic mare during the summer but the others I don't worry about it too much. I just do everything I can to keep them comfy and try to haul in the cooler part of the day (relatively speaking, of course, because many days there is no time it is "cool.")
A little trick I have learned that I use mostly while my horse is in her stall is to hose her off with her Kensington Fly Sheet on- the fabric creates little water pockets and it takes a little longer for it to evaporate.
interestingly, by keeping water ON the horse (ie not scraping) the horse cant cool as efficiency.
so, cold hose and scrape, cold hose and scrape etc, but dont leave excess water on the horse.
(see already linked article for a short reason why not)
We have heat in 100F+ here and many people show and trailer around. If your horse is used to that kind of heat, it can be done if you want.
Make sure that you open all of the windows and all of the vents. You can install a fan in your horse trailer. You can rinse your horse and scrape it before and after the trailer ride. Put limited wraps or shipping boots on your horse.
Give lots of electrolytes 1 week before the trailering.
If a horse is sensitive to the heat, ask yourself if risking a chance of a colic is worth it?