Horses and the Heat

By: Gene Petriello Email
By: Gene Petriello Email

News 12 at 6 o'clock, August 9, 2007

AIKEN CTY, S.C.-- The record heat continues, and while most of us just think about keeping ourselves and our family members safe, one of the most important things we forget are the animals.

In the horses stables, the horses and their owners are taking several precautions to make sure the horses stay safe and cool during this hot stretch of weather.

"You do what you can. It's hot out there, just provide shelter, plenty of water," says horse owner Kelli Hofstetter.

Hofstetter keeps water running in the horses troughs throughout the day. She knows if her horses aren't drinking in a matter of seconds.

"You can pull their skin and pull it away from their necks. If it stays out, then they are dehydrated."

To avoid the hottest part of the day, Brad Stauffer makes sure his horses are in the stables by 9AM for two reasons: to train them for racing conditions and to keep them cool.

"Everything's back in the stalls with the fans on and the windows open so we're not working out in the heat," Stauffer said. "This morning it was 80 degrees at 8AM, but that's better than 90 at 9 o'clock."

Those fans are on top of the stables to circulate the air, even if it is hot air.

"Hot air blowing around is better than no air blowing around."

As for treating the horses in this heat, Stauffer has a simple method to cool them down.

"We'll bring them out. We'll walk with them some more to get them on their feet into the cool air under the tree in the shade."

And another cool tip, "We can even put alcohol on them to get them to open up their pores and stay cool."

Although he's never lost a horse due to the heat, temperature is a concern for Stauffer.

"When they hit 101, 102, that's when I start to get concerned. If they start to go above 102, then we're starting to get brain fry."

Out of all those precautions, owners say the best way to keep these guys and girls cool is just to hose them down.

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