We are still having scorching weather here at the moment. The ground is hard and the school is deep and I don’t actually remember the last time it rained. This has meant that Scottie has been having quite a quiet life at the moment. We have had nearly 2 weeks off work completely now. But all this hot weather has got me thinking about how people are managing to keep their horses fit and healthy in these conditions.
When this hot weather first started, everyone was worried about keeping your horse cool and heat stress. I even wrote a post about keeping your horse cool in light of the extremely warm weather we were having. However, as the heatwave has continued with very little rain, we are now facing very different issues for looking after our horses.
- Where has the grass gone?
The grass has been scorched by the sun and I know that Scottie has now resorted to clearing his field of stinging nettles and thistles during the day, rather than bothering with the remaining grass! I have also having to put the odd section of hay out in the field for him too! Everywhere people are running out of grass and since we haven’t had any rain, it simply isn’t growing.
- Lack of hay!
The past couple of years haven’t been great weather for growing hay. This means that many farmers have less hay and poorer quality hay than they would usually. So hay (and straw) have been in fairly high demand and if this weather continues we could easily see the prices increase.
- Dust. Dust everywhere!
Our arena is dusty, the fields are dry and dusty. The roads are dusty. EVERYTHING is dusty! I feel like I am constantly covered in a layer of dust and I know that this weather must be causing havoc on some horses’ respiratory systems!
- Hard ground
Even the grassiest areas are now really hard. While we do such light work out hacking, mainly walking with the odd trot and canter, I am being a lot more reserved about what we are doing out hacking. We are only cantering on areas with really good grass cover and even then we are sticking to a nice steady canter. While most horses are worked regularly on hard ground to help them build strength, I know that the ground is affecting lots of owners decisions about training and competitions.
- Deep surfaces
Since the ground is so hard, you would think sticking to the arena would be a good idea. However, so many people I have spoken to have said that their surface has become deep and fluffy in the heat. We have a sand and fibre surface at our yard and it is in desperate need of a watering.
What things are you starting to struggle with in this heat? Have you decided to give your horse a bit of a holiday?