Learn how to keep your horse from overgrazing rich grass, utilize horse grazing muzzles, protect your horse’s feet from summer terrain with proper hoof care products, and what type of fly sheets you should use during hot, buggy weather. Warmer temperatures can bring summer horse turnout challenges that likely every horse owner will face. Here is how you can conquer them!

Protect Your Horse From Overgrazing

As horse owners, we dream of beautiful green fields to turn our horses out in but often know that we must be careful when it comes to letting our horses graze too long on rich spring grass. Summer grass can still be just as dangerous for some horses, especially with fluctuating temperatures, heavy rain, or mowing, which can all result in a spike in the sugar content in grass. Overgrazing horses can cause conditions such as colic, laminitis, and founder.

Muzzle to Prevent Overgrazing

How do I stop my horse from overgrazing?

  • Limit the amount of time your horse grazes on pasture or build up the amount of time they are eating grass by hand-grazing for an increased amount of time each day.

  • Use a grazing muzzle for horses to reduce the amount of grass or hay they can eat while on pasture, without the need to restrict them to a stall or dry lot.

  • Being on grass, in general, can be risky for a horse with metabolic issues, insulin resistance, or suffering from chronic laminitis/founder. Fitting them with a grazing muzzle can control how much grass they can eat, reducing intake up to 80%, while still allowing them to drink water, move around in a pasture, and socialize with their friends.

  • Limit your horse to grazing when sugar content is lower, which is typically early in the morning hours, and keep them off rich pastures right after large temperature increases from a cold spell, multiple days of rain with bright sunny days, or right after mowing.

Prevent Hoof Soreness and Damage

As excited as we are when the mud has dried up from spring rain, summer brings its own issues when it comes to the terrain and the effects on horses’ hooves. You can read more about Summer Hoof Care here. With higher temperatures and less rainfall, the ground can get hard, dry, and rocky. Combined with biting flies, horses will stomp the ground repeatedly throughout the day which can be just as hard on their feet causing soreness, cracks, or even loosening shoes.

Hoof Boot for Sore Horse Hoof

How do you protect your horse's hooves from Summer terrain?

  • Hoof Boots – are a great way to protect your horse’s feet from hard or rocky terrain from turnout to riding or when hitting the trail. With a wide variety of styles, sizes, and designs, there are hoof boots for every type of horse. These are also a smart choice to keep on hand anytime your horse loses a shoe, to help prevent soreness, stone bruising, or chipping hooves.

  • Hoof Dressings and Conditioners – help seal in moisture during dry weather to help prevent cracking and chipping hooves, which can also lead to lost shoes or lameness. Hoof packing can be used to help relieve stone bruises or sore feet.

  • Hoof Supplements – contain vitamins and minerals to help not only grow more hoof but better-quality hoof for horses that tend to have dry, brittle hoof walls.

Keep Your Horse Cool and Protected From Flies

If your horse spends long periods of time outside during the summer, making sure they have shelter from the sun and bad weather is important for keeping them cool and comfortable.

Horse Turnout in Summer

How do you keep your horse cool in the Summer weather?

  • Pasture Shelters – offer your horse shade and protection from the hot sun and rainy weather. Portable horse shelters also give your horse a place to get away from the bugs and mud in the early and late part of the summer season.

  • Waterproof Turnout/Rain Sheets – can keep your horse clean and dry from the rain when the temperatures are still cool enough for a rain turnout sheet, or use a hybrid sheet that is part airy fly-sheet material in areas that tend to sweat, with traditional waterproof fabric over the horse’s back and hips to keep them dry and cool during those fluctuating temps.

  • UV Protection – bleaching coats, sunburn on white hair or pink skin, and even the threat of melanoma are all valid reasons to make sure your horse is protected from UV rays. Using horse fly sheets, fly masks, and topical sunscreens for horses can all offer excellent UV protection.

  • Stable Fans – can be hung from your horse’s stall with fan holders or placed around your barn to keep air moving, rotating stagnant air and helping to cool down your horses.

  • Electrolytes and Salt Licks – will help encourage your horse to drink plenty of water and stay hydrated. Making sure there is plenty of fresh water in both their stalls and pastures is critical, especially in the hot summer weather.

Is night turnout good for horses?

Night turnout is a great solution for protecting your horses from the sun, UV-rays, heat, and many bugs and biting insects. Depending on the set-up of your pastures and if your horse can be trusted unsupervised overnight, night turnout can be the best option for summer horse turnout.

  • Only turn out your horse in safe, secure, paddocks or pastures with their regular pasture-mates, or alone if they are used to being solitary.
  • Using a horse fly sheet with reflective strips can help you keep an eye on where your horse is at.
  • Make sure your horse still has access to fresh water.
  • If bad weather is expected, it may be a good idea to leave your horse inside on those evenings if there is no proper shelter or run-in-sheds available for them.

Fly Gear to Protect Horse from Flies

How to protect your horse from flies this Summer?

There isn’t much worse than watching your horse act like they are being eaten alive by bugs! It may seem like an endless battle, but these are the best ways to keep flies from biting your horse this summer:

  • Fly Sheets – are lightweight and comfortable even during hot weather, providing not only UV protection but a variety of insect protection from biting flies, horse-flies, gnats, no-see-ums, and mosquitos depending on the style and material of the fly sheet you choose.

  • Fly Masks – offer the same protection as a fly sheet from insects and UV rays, but for your horse’s sensitive face, eyes, ears, and even nose.

  • Horse Fly Boots - are a great way to protect your horse’s sensitive legs from biting, annoying flies during the summer months, while also reducing the constant stomping that can lead to lameness, chipped hooves, and loose shoes.

  • Fly Sprays and Insect Repellents – are a necessity when it comes to having horses in the summer months. Fly sprays and repellents can be applied directly to your horse’s coat with mists and sprays, wipe-on products, and even roll-ons around their face and eyes. There are even insect repellents and automatic misting systems for around the stable area, fly traps, and curtain screens made from similar materials as fly sheets, for your barn windows and doorways.

Battling the heat, hard summer terrain, and relentless biting flies can seem like a challenge when it comes to summer horse turnout, but we hope these tips and tricks can help keep your horse safe, happy, and cool!