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  1. #1
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    Default Tips on quickly cooling overheated horse?

    I know most endurance folks ride breeds that aren't easily overheated, but, in the event that you are away from a cold source of running water, what can you bring with you that will hasten cooling down an overheated horse?

    Are there any products/materials that can be soaked/chilled and placed over the horse to draw off heat?

    Is adding ice to the sponging water too drastic?

    I currently bring two big jugs (20 gallons) of cold water for sponging to the hunts, but that was not enough to cool her down in a timely manner two weeks ago and it got me thinking if there is anything else I can do to speed the cooling process on the hotter days.

    Any tips?
    Last edited by Daatje; Sep. 2, 2009 at 10:45 AM.



  2. #2
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    Rubbing alcohol. You can use it straight, or dilute it with water. It evaporates quickly, and pulls heat away from the horse's body much faster than water alone does.

    But the optimum situation is to never overheat a horse in the first place. If your horse is getting that overheated while hunting, then something needs to change. You're riding too fast, in too hot of weather, the horse isn't fit, the breed isn't right for the job, etc...........



  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Auventera Two View Post
    But the optimum situation is to never overheat a horse in the first place. If your horse is getting that overheated while hunting, then something needs to change. You're riding too fast, in too hot of weather, the horse isn't fit, the breed isn't right for the job, etc...........
    Well of course, but in some circumstances it's unavoidable (as it was two weekends ago).

    Don't even start with the "breed suitability" thing. Friesians aren't suitable for much, but mine does her best to keep up with me.

    It's not as if she overheats every ride. The last hunt was the first time it's happened in a long time. I'm just looking for ways I can be prepared if it happens again. And of course I'm going to do my best to prevent it.....but sometime we get into a situation where it sneaks up on us.



  4. #4
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  5. #5
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    I like the Dixie Midnight Pad under their saddle pad to wick sweat away. The difference in my QH is night and day with that pad: before I started using it, he'd be in a full body sweat, for example...but with the DM under his Prof Choice pad, he would be soaking wet under the saddle and streaming down his flanks, but with only a little sweat over his shoulders and chest. You could clearly see he was more comfortable, too.

    Rubbing alcohol is cheap and makes a great deal of difference in pulling heat off the horse.



  6. #6
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    I'd suggest doing a hunter clip on you horse as a preventative, use the alcohol (keep 6 bottles in the trailer at least) and consider ice boots. Several types available, the Arbee are neoprene sleeves that hold ice against the horses legs. another type is soaked in water at home then frozen in a freezer. If kept in a cooler of ice then they travel pretty well. There are things made by the Cool Medic company that may help. Probably the best thing is to carry a digital thermometer and take your horses body temp after riding. If it's in the normal range then don't worry about your horse, just get them hydrated with water and wet feed and cool normally. If however the body temp is up then go to work on them. Yes, ice in the cooling water is OK OK OK. It is perfectly fine for the horse, apply to the neck, chest, legs, inner legs. Personally, I use on the entire horse unless it a really chilly day or you have one of those horses that hate cold/wet.

    Bonnie S.



  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Daatje View Post
    Well of course, but in some circumstances it's unavoidable (as it was two weekends ago).

    Don't even start with the "breed suitability" thing. Friesians aren't suitable for much, but mine does her best to keep up with me.

    It's not as if she overheats every ride. The last hunt was the first time it's happened in a long time. I'm just looking for ways I can be prepared if it happens again. And of course I'm going to do my best to prevent it.....but sometime we get into a situation where it sneaks up on us.
    I did not know you had a Friesian. But I'd just be very careful. I used to board with one who stayed in the barn during the summer under a fan because she overheated easily. Having trouble with heat affects some members of the breed, and if you're fox hunting with one, I'd definitely body clip. The high body temperature can cause the horse to founder and/or colic.

    Fox hunting is pretty strict on atire and turnout, but CoolMedics makes various horse coolers that can be worn while riding. http://www.coolmedics.com/ I'd be more worried about my horse's health than the rules of fox hunting.



  8. #8
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    I keep (2) 6 gallon containers of water in my rear tack at all times so I have a good supply of water if he gets overheated as well as have drinking water for him. A few friends have trailers with outside hose spickets and can rinse their horses off wherever they are.

    I have a 30 gallon water tank and can get water from the sink if needed.

    I also read where it gives their sweat glands a chance to rest if you rinse them down before riding - wet the legs, chest, and neck so they will dry off first before they start sweating. I try to do this when riding in the summer and have noticed how much it helps them.

    Always rinse their head down as well - it really cools them off quicker.

    I have a sponge on a rope and yes I imagine they wouldn't want you carrying that on a hunt - what is more important - your turnout or your horse?

    We ride in and past alot of lakes and if my horse is hot, besides watering him, I undo the sponge, drop it into the water and can squeeze it out over his neck and head. I'm located in South Fla and it's pretty much 90's every day from May thru Sept, so we only ride in the mornings or evenings and mostly walk. Plus the humidty is quite high here.



  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by chicamuxen1 View Post
    I'd suggest doing a hunter clip on you horse as a preventative, use the alcohol (keep 6 bottles in the trailer at least) and consider ice boots. Several types available, the Arbee are neoprene sleeves that hold ice against the horses legs. another type is soaked in water at home then frozen in a freezer. If kept in a cooler of ice then they travel pretty well. There are things made by the Cool Medic company that may help. Probably the best thing is to carry a digital thermometer and take your horses body temp after riding. If it's in the normal range then don't worry about your horse, just get them hydrated with water and wet feed and cool normally. If however the body temp is up then go to work on them. Yes, ice in the cooling water is OK OK OK. It is perfectly fine for the horse, apply to the neck, chest, legs, inner legs. Personally, I use on the entire horse unless it a really chilly day or you have one of those horses that hate cold/wet.

    Bonnie S.
    Very helpful, thank-you! I keep her body clipped all season long as her summer coat is quite thick. I'll do a full clip right up until the end of October at which point I'll do the hunter clip until Thanksgiving after which she can grow the remainder of her winter coat. (which is pretty substantial, even that late in the season!)



  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Leather View Post
    Very informative, thank-you!



  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Auventera Two View Post
    I did not know you had a Friesian. But I'd just be very careful. I used to board with one who stayed in the barn during the summer under a fan because she overheated easily. Having trouble with heat affects some members of the breed, and if you're fox hunting with one, I'd definitely body clip. The high body temperature can cause the horse to founder and/or colic.

    Fox hunting is pretty strict on atire and turnout, but CoolMedics makes various horse coolers that can be worn while riding. http://www.coolmedics.com/ I'd be more worried about my horse's health than the rules of fox hunting.
    Yup, 100% FPS Dutch. I'd rather her not be, but that's a l-o-n-g story. (I'm probably the ONLY person who owns a Friesian but would rather have another, much more common, breed!) I absolutely love her and she's not going anywhere, so I try to find a balance between her ability and the equine activities I like to participate in.

    She's better than most Friesians (I've ridden dozens....don't ask me why I bought one!) regarding her fitness, but the overheating can happen despite my best efforts to prevent it.

    She's in a full body clip almost all year round (with the exception of deep winter, when I'm not riding much, then I let her grow a coat) which includes most of her feathers (I can't stand them anyway!) and her mane is kept short. I'm quite open to options when it comes to keeping her healthy and comfortable in the field. I'll check out the coolmedics link when I get a moment.

    I'll most likely keep her in the hilltoppers until the days are in the 60's and 70's. 80's and up are just too much for her to work at speed for any length of time and I must say we both were a little too enthusiastic for our first hunt out this season.

    There's another member of my hunt who rides a full Perch. She has many of the same issues that I do so I'm looking forward to sharing this information with her. She may be able to benefit from the knowledge as well.



  12. #12
    gothedistance is offline AERC Decade Team - 2000-2010 Premium Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Daatje View Post
    Well of course, but in some circumstances it's unavoidable (as it was two weekends ago).

    Don't even start with the "breed suitability" thing. Friesians aren't suitable for much, but mine does her best to keep up with me.

    It's not as if she overheats every ride. The last hunt was the first time it's happened in a long time. I'm just looking for ways I can be prepared if it happens again. And of course I'm going to do my best to prevent it.....but sometime we get into a situation where it sneaks up on us.
    The good thing about hunting is -- it is pretty much a winter sport, so keeping warm is more often the problem than keeping cool!

    However, for foxhunting during cubbing season (fall) when the weather can still quite warm, is hard on the internal cooling systems when the hounds are pulling the fields along at a hard pace. So.....the best way to cool down your horse naturally while out with the field is to use three things: shade, breeze, and water.

    Air blowing across a wet (sweaty) body wicks away heat faster than anything. If there is a breeze, position your horse so the one side is facing the breeze. The more mass you present to the air, the quicker it will cool the horse.

    Look for shade, and if you can park under a tree during a check, do so. If there is no breeze under that tree, create you own by walking a slow circle. As long as you keep relatively quiet, no one will mind, and your horse can be cooled down faster than if you just stand under that tree, or out in the sun with the rest of the field.

    There is little chance of you being able to stand in a stream during a hunt, but do try to take advantage of water by having your horse walk through deeper sections of the stream, and don't feel uncomfortable about moving aside to let your horse stop to drink. As long as the field isn't on a run, you can take a few seconds to let your horse cool itself by drinking.

    If you are at a long check, or at a check where the huntsman is calling in the hounds -- feel free to dismount, When you remove weight from your horse's back, you also remove a source of heat.

    We have a Friesian who goes 2nd Flight in our hunt, and while she sometimes tails way behind the field on some of the more strenuous runs, she's an absolute darling horse with a very game heart, gentle manners, lovely build... and, best of all, takes wonderful care of her owner.

    Good luck with your Friesian, and enjoy the season.



  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by gothedistance View Post
    The good thing about hunting is -- it is pretty much a winter sport, so keeping warm is more often the problem than keeping cool! [A-men to that! ]

    However, for foxhunting during cubbing season (fall) when the weather can still quite warm, is hard on the internal cooling systems when the hounds are pulling the fields along at a hard pace. [yes, yes, totally agree] So.....the best way to cool down your horse naturally while out with the field is to use three things: shade, breeze, and water.

    Air blowing across a wet (sweaty) body wicks away heat faster than anything. If there is a breeze, position your horse so the one side is facing the breeze. The more mass you present to the air, the quicker it will cool the horse.

    Look for shade, and if you can park under a tree during a check, do so. [We did this! During the stirrup cup, everyone was hot, so it was a longer rest than usual. I kept her walking in circles under the shade of a tree, a slight distance away from the other horses.] If there is no breeze under that tree, create you own by walking a slow circle. As long as you keep relatively quiet, no one will mind, and your horse can be cooled down faster than if you just stand under that tree, or out in the sun with the rest of the field.

    There is little chance of you being able to stand in a stream during a hunt, but do try to take advantage of water by having your horse walk through deeper sections of the stream, [We don't have many stream crossings, unfortunately, but there is one good one that is belly deep to most horses.] and don't feel uncomfortable about moving aside to let your horse stop to drink. [Will do.] As long as the field isn't on a run, you can take a few seconds to let your horse cool itself by drinking.

    If you are at a long check, or at a check where the huntsman is calling in the hounds -- feel free to dismount, When you remove weight from your horse's back, you also remove a source of heat. [I did this too! Glad to hear I was on the right track with her. It was simply a hot day for everyone, high 80's with zero breeze and quite humid!]

    We have a Friesian who goes 2nd Flight in our hunt, and while she sometimes tails way behind the field on some of the more strenuous runs, she's an absolute darling horse with a very game heart, gentle manners, lovely build... and, best of all, takes wonderful care of her owner. [Wow, another hunting Friesian, how awesome! They are wonderful souls, mine take better care of me than any horse I've ever owned. I often feel quite spoiled when other horses are fussing and mine is watching them like they've lost their marbles. She is a VERY good girl and thoroughly enjoys the hunt.

    Good luck with your Friesian, and enjoy the season. [Thank-you! We both will most definitely enjoy our second season with the Wentworth Hunt. It is the most fun I have ever had while on horseback. Nothing quite like following a pack of hounds at speed through the lovely New England countryside. ]



  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Daatje View Post
    Well of course, but in some circumstances it's unavoidable (as it was two weekends ago).

    Don't even start with the "breed suitability" thing. Friesians aren't suitable for much, but mine does her best to keep up with me.

    It's not as if she overheats every ride. The last hunt was the first time it's happened in a long time. I'm just looking for ways I can be prepared if it happens again. And of course I'm going to do my best to prevent it.....but sometime we get into a situation where it sneaks up on us.
    One common mistake I see people make at vet checks at endurance rides are a) not untaking (which I am sure you did) and b) putting on water but not scraping it off.

    Water acts as an insulator so it can actually make the horse hotter if not done properly. We sponge repeatedly- putting on the water and then quickly scraping it off. Over and over until the water coming off the horse feeling cool.

    It's really hard with those heavy breeds, but they can do it if managed properly. I would also always park your girl in the shade at the end (not really sure how hunts work) and having ice boots can be really helpful as well. At least you don't have to worry about a thin-skinned shivering arab in the winter!



  15. #15
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    Eddy's mom is right. It is the scraping off of the bath water that is the most important part of the rinsing process. Water on the body will seal IN the heat, so water sponged or hosed on, then scrape right away. Rinse, scrape, rinse, scrape. You'll feel warm water coming off initially; when water is cooler, then your horse is returning to a normal body temp.

    You can use cold water anywhere on the body. Much of this info came out of the heat adn stress trials performed prior to the '86 Games. The techniques are used all the time now, and no one seems to have a problem. I personally think the neck/chest/heartgirth/head area, where so many of the major organs are located, are the most important, but with the Friesan, with the muscle mass, everything is important!



  16. #16
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    Whne you mix alcohol with water for sponging then scraping what ratio do you mix? 1 botle to 1 gallon of water?

    I ask because last weekend I rode in south Georgia and it seemed to take forever to get our horses cooled down.



  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eddy's Mom View Post
    One common mistake I see people make at vet checks at endurance rides are a) not untaking (which I am sure you did) and b) putting on water but not scraping it off.

    Water acts as an insulator so it can actually make the horse hotter if not done properly. We sponge repeatedly- putting on the water and then quickly scraping it off. Over and over until the water coming off the horse feeling cool.

    It's really hard with those heavy breeds, but they can do it if managed properly. I would also always park your girl in the shade at the end (not really sure how hunts work) and having ice boots can be really helpful as well. At least you don't have to worry about a thin-skinned shivering arab in the winter!
    Yes, I did untack immediately after dismounting and I have heard that water on the body acts as an insulator so it's always in my mind to sponge/scrape, sponge/scrape.

    I'm going to look into the ice boots. They sound neat and easily transportable. If I can't tie her in the shade, I usually open all the doors in the trailer, and put her on. I've got a big aluminum Elite that's 8' high from floor to roof so it is usually cooler in there than outside, even if it is parked in the sun. She always appears quite comfortable in there.

    Too true about the winter! She LOVES the cold. Thrives in it. No blanket required until I clip in the spring! I have yet to see her shiver, even in below zero temps.



  18. #18
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    If your horse doesn't mind spray bottles, you can fill one with water/ alcohol mix and mist them. Just take care not to get it into the eyes.
    Horse Show Names Free name website with over 6200 names. Want to add? PM me!



  19. #19
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    This may just be a small thing but as long as we are looking at all ideas:
    be cognizant of the grooming products you use. Avoid silicone or oil-based products that coat the and reduce the capacity for air to move.....



  20. #20
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    Along the same line as Jake's ideas - baths make it easier for the filthy horse to cool. True they don't stay clean long; it's the last thing we do before leaving for an endurance ride.



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