The sun has well and truly been out the last couple of weeks with the temperatures soaring. Although this was a nice change to the horrid, prolonged winter, it did bring a few issues in terms of flies and heat stroke.
One of the evenings we went up as usual to the horses, and on pulling on to the drive straight away I heard alarm bells as the big one wasn’t waiting at the gate for his dinner. He appeared after I jumped the gate, ran to the corner of the field and looked a bit sweaty and dull. Immediately we got them in thinking he was just a bit hot and bothered, but on offering him his bucket he wouldn’t even sniff it - for him to have zero interest in food is a major sign of a problem as he is a greedy sod. I instantly got a bucket and started washing him off, as well as offering him water from another bucket. We put him in the stable briefly to get him out of the sun and put a cold wet towel on his back and one on his head (zero reaction to this – normally he would freak out). I got straight on the phone to the vet who advised me to get him in a shaded area and hose him down for a minimum of 10 minutes then repeat 5 minutes later. I was also advised to syringe a bute into him (I had already syringed a small bit of water into his mouth so I knew he was not going to be happy, but it was tough!) and if there was no improvement in a couple of hours they would need to come out.
We walked him about very minimally after the first hosing then hosed him again, on this second time he started to perk up slightly and move around (he’s not a fan of the hose) which showed us some improvement, 10 minutes later he ate some sticky weed (he loves it), followed by a small piece of apple and then he progressed from there and within two hours he had eaten his dinner and was almost back to normal which was a huge relief. He went out in the field a while later and enjoyed a few rolls before happily munching grass. It was such a scare though as it’s one thing I haven’t really encountered with horses before. I know the sodding flies caused it as he’s a sensitive boy and hates them, so he was more than likely galloping round in the 29+ degree heat to try and get them off him (he won’t wear a fly rug as if a fly gets under it, he is a danger to himself and anyone near him as he blind panics). I had sprayed him two times on the yard and another time in the field before I left that morning and felt awful that he had still been attacked. One positive that came out of it though, is that I put the experience on my Facebook page and the following day a friends daughter’s pony was acting off and irritable, my friend referred her daughter to my post and within a short time her pony was back to himself and happy so I am very glad I was able to share the knowledge and help someone else.
I’ve been taking advantage of the hot temperatures by repainting my jump poles – I just don’t advise doing sanding in the heat. I’ve mixed and matched some different colours to last year to see what the horses think of them (and due to what paint I had available!) – I do like trying different designs, next I will start repainting the planks and a few of the jump wings.
Keep an eye on your neddies in this ever changing weather and note any differences in their behaviours so you can pick up on it quickly, and also keep an eye on yourselves especially for heat stroke and fly bites – I had three nasty bites recently (through my breeches!) and my other half had a very bad one on his elbow that made his arm swell within an hour and turned half his arm bright red – off to the doctors I have sent him!