What happens if a horse becomes hot? Can they cool themselves down, and do horses sweat? Find the answers here!
Horses are magnificent, and highly intelligent creatures. Not only have they been used for riding for centuries, but we also use horses for work. They are very hardworking animals and are always eager to please humans, which is why you need to be wary that you do not work your horse too hard, as they can become very hot, and prone to overheating, especially in warmer climates and weather conditions.
Do Horses Sweat?
Yes, horses do sweat as it is the main way that horses are able to cool their bodies down. Horses, just like us, even have sweat glands and release sweat to wet the skin, to cool the body down quickly, and prevent overheating.
Horses can sweat during exercise, when they become hot when they are in pain, or unwell, and can even begin sweating when they are nervous. They may sweat when they are being ridden, when they are jumping, or when they are doing general activities, and this is completely normal.
During exercise, a horse’s muscles generate a lot of heat, and this heat is dissipated through the skin. If the horse is working very hard, or the climate is very hot, then the horse’s sweat glands will start to pump out the sweat onto the skin so that it can evaporate, and the horse will cool down.
This works in a very similar way to how humans sweat to regulate body heat. However, horse sweat contains electrolytes, which will appear on the skin like white foam.
Horses actually sweat a lot, as it is the main way they regulate their body heat. When a horse is exercising or being ridden a lot. It can lose around four gallons of sweat per hour! This is why you have to keep your horse hydrated when exercising and riding them.
Why Does My Horse Sweat So Much?
Your horse may seem to sweat more than other horses or more than usual. This is caused by physical fitness. Some horses are unfit for some working tasks and excessive riding, which will result in them sweating much more.
If you think that your horse sweats a lot, then it could be worth improving its fitness levels, and implementing regular exercise routines, to keep the horse fit and healthy. They should not sweat as much when participating in riding and working exercises in the future.
What Helps A Horse From Sweating?
To prevent excess sweating and the risk of overheating in your horse, it is best to ride and work them in the morning or evening, when it will be the coolest part of the day. You can also use a hose with cool water to hose down the sweat points. Like, between the legs, on the chest, and neck to help keep the body temperature down. Ensure that your horse is always hydrated and drinking enough water to keep them healthy.
What To Do When Your Horse Is Sweating?
The best thing to do is to cool the horse down with water. Hose the horse down with a little cool water, and this should bring the temperature down quickly and safely.
How Do You Tell If A Horse Is Overheating?
Horses naturally produce a lot of heat, due to the muscular activity they use during exercise and work. Therefore, they will need to cool themselves down. To do this, the horse’s body will rush blood to the skin to get rid of excess heat during colder weather. If the weather is very hot, then the blood is not enough, and the horse will need to sweat it out.
By sweating excessively, the horse is able to wet its skin and the body will cool through the process of evaporation. When the horse is extremely hot, it may struggle to sweat and cool itself adequately, which leads to overheating and heatstroke.
If a horse is overheating, there are a few warning signs that you can look out for. For instance, they may feel hot to the touch, and the skin may feel very warm. They may begin breathing more rapidly, and the heart rate and pulse rate may be higher, and slower to come down after exercise.
You may notice that they are stumbling, or that the muscles seem weak, and the horse can show signs of dehydration such as sunken eyes or a lack of urination. Finally, they will have an increased body temperature, as a normal temperature for a horse is about 98 degrees Fahrenheit to about 101 degrees Fahrenheit, whereas during heatstroke, they may have a temperature of about 102 degrees to 106 degrees Fahrenheit.
What To Do If your Horse Is Overheating?
If your horse shows signs that they are overheating, then you will need to stop riding the horse, call a veterinarian immediately, and place the horse in a shaded area to bring the temperature down.
You should also try to provide air, by having them in a breezy area or using a fan on them. Then, you’ll need to wet the body to cool the horse down, by dousing them in cool water, not cold water. To do this, start by wetting the feet and legs, and work up to the body, before wetting the head with cool water too. This should bring the temperature down.
You can also provide a little bit of drinking water at 15-minute intervals whilst you wait for the veterinarian to arrive to administer the proper treatment for the horse.
To summarize, horses sweat just like humans do. Horses have sweat glands that release sweat to help cool the body down and help regulate their temperature to prevent overheating and heatstroke. If you ever think that your horse is overheating, then contact a veterinarian immediately for treatment.