Welcome to summer! Here in Texas it means 100° days and not so much cooler at night.
Horses and hot weather can be a dangerous combination. Finding ways to keep them cool can be difficult. Riding either early in the AM or later in the evening so they don't overheat and offering them fresh water and treats in a new and different way works wonders.
Nan and Misty generally seem more interested in trying new treats when the weather is hot. I am very much of the school of keeping it simple and whole. I offer lots of hay and along with it I clean and refill the water tanks twice daily.
I know it seems like a waste, but the black tanks that are generally used for water makes keeping them hydrated much harder. The water in these tanks can heat up, just like a closed up car gets hot, and water in self-contained water tanks gets VERY hot during the summer.
Dumping, refilling, and keeping clean water encourages water consumption. Both girls are usually right there with me as I am dumping and refilling. Misty loves to lip play in the water and both drink deeply as the cool water fills the tanks.
I don't recommend placing anything in the main water tanks and my two girls generally are not the "play" types. Nan is the more food adventurous and Misty likes the tried and true.
A list of suitable summer fruits for horses
Summer also means a plethora of fresh fruits that horses enjoy. Here is a list of acceptable fruits for horses. Keep in mind that mass quantities of anything is not healthy nor should it take the place of a balanced diet.
- Apples, Apricots
- Bananas, Beets, Blackberries, Blueberries
- Carrots, Celery, Cherries, Coconut, Corn
- Grapes, Grapefruit
- Peach, Pear, Pineapple, Plums, Pumpkins
You can make a fruit salad and freeze it in a horse bucket. Once frozen, empty from the bucket, place in a deep feeding pan, and let the horses lick and chew their way through the "Bucket Popsicle".
Or you can simply place a small amount of the fruit salad in the feeding pan and let them eat it. Nan and Misty both love whole watermelon. I buy a large one, cut it into strips (rind included), and place it in ground pans and let them munch away.
A tip for preventing flies, wasps, and spoilage of horse treats
I also clean away leftover and rejected fruit treats within an hour of them finishing. Down here it will rot very quickly and attracts all manner of flies and wasps.
Try some warm weather homemade treats
In experimenting with various homemade treats, I find that those with molasses as a holding base do not last long and they mold quickly. In general, I have found that basic cookie recipes have nothing dangerous for horses and I add raisins, oats, sweet feed, shaved carrots, and apples to the base and then cook them in small muffin tins.
I fill the tin about half full and then "overcook" just a bit to get a crunchier cookie. I have also found that using a biscotti-type dough also works very well and in these I use canned pumpkin.
Like humans, horses have likes and dislikes and I would suggest that you try till you find what your horse likes and will eat in a reasonable amount of time. I do not use peanut butter or nuts for my horses.
Unlike humans, horses cannot burp and gas turns into colic for horses and you would not want to "treat" your horse and find out that you have a gas colic several hours later. Again, everything in small quantities and limited supply keeps treats safe.
Summer has barely arrived -- stay cool, stay safe, and Happy Trails!