Sunday, May 5, 2013

Horses - Cooling Down

Let me first say that my wife is a City Girl at heart. She's getting better, but there are some things that she just doesn't understand they're done. Cooling down your horse slowly is one.

I really hate stating the obvious, but as we all know - during the summer, the heat can be tough on both horse and rider.

In some cases, after a ride, you may find that your horse is covered with sweat even though you thought you took it easy. In that case, what do you do for your horse?
Well, believe it or not, whether its the heat of the summer or after a hard workout in the winter and steam is pouring off your horse, it still necessary to cool down your horse.

The cool down period is essential a time to prevent exhaustion and injury. It gives the horse a time to relax and recoup.

Cooling down means lowering the temperature for the horse’s muscles slowly without allowing the horse to catch a chill. It is especially important after the horse has been worked up.

Here's how to make sure he gets comfortable.

Common Sense & Time

Yes, common sense and time is required to cool off a horse.

After a workout, your horse should always be walked for about 10 to 20 minutes. Walking your horse around for a while until its not as warm is important. This may take a while depending on how overheated it is.

Make sure the horse is moving at a good working walk since a sluggish horse will cool too quickly.

Do not let them just stand tied somewhere to stand still. This will tense their muscles and isn't healthy for them. A horse left to stand after strenuous exercise may experience swelling around the lower leg joints caused by a decrease in circulation.

After they are cooled down, you may dismount.

At that time loosen the saddle cinch without removing the saddle right away. This will allow the air to cool his back slower, which helps to prevent cramps.

Your horse should then be offered a few swallows of water. Give your horse the minimal amount of water to drink, wait a few minutes, and then you can give him some more. Limit his intake of cool water as too much too fast can bring on cramping.

Remove the saddle, but you should leave the pad in place until your horse cools down slightly so they don't get a chill. A blanket is highly recommended over anything else when the weather is cold and windy and your horse has been working hard.
If it is a real hot day, a hose should be used to apply cool water to the horse and then rub them down with a towel.

Vigorously rub the entire horse and pay special attention to the area where the saddle was as well as the areas on their neck and flanks, then you should start walking them a bit.

There are many factors that go into the equation for cooling a horse including their condition, the weather, the wind chill, and how hard the horse has worked.

To decide the best way to cool a horse you should use your best judgment. A horse’s comfort should always come before your own.

Common sense will tell you if your horse is ready to be put back in its pen.

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