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Cooling Down Your Horse Correctly

How to Cool Out a Horse

Cooling out a horse is very simple, but very important in keeping your horse healthy. Follow these steps when your horse has been worked and/or it is very hot outside to cool-out safely.

Things You’ll Need:
Step 1:
Walk your horse for several minutes to allow respiration to return to a normal level. You will be able to watch the respirations as the horse's chest expands. You can lead it with a halter or ride it.

Step 2:
Remove tack and allow horse to walk uncovered. Using a sheet only traps heat next to the body unless, of course, it is very cold outside.

Step 3:
Find a cool, shady area away from sun and heat.

Step 4:
Place your horse on a high-fat diet to help keep him cool. Replace up to 10 percent of your horse's total daily ration with corn oil or rice bran. For the average adult horse, that's about 2 cups of corn oil daily. Check manufacturer's recommendations for rice bran. Start with 1/4 cup of oil per day, gradually increasing the amount. Consult your vet when changing the nutritional content for growing horses.

Step 5:
Let your horse drink as much water as he wants.

Tips & Warnings:

Condition your horse for hot weather with a light conditioning program over 10 days to help your horse adjust to hot weather conditions.
If you know you will be working your horse in hot weather, hauling for long distances, or exposing your horse to extreme heat, increase the amount of electrolytes in the diet 1 - 2 days prior to the exposure.

Ride and haul in the cool, early morning hours.

Make sure your horse is well-hydrated and drinking during a ride.

Keep training to short segments of 10 to 15 minutes with a 5-minute cool-out period in between.


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