Summer Stresses Part IV

Horse staying hydrated at Gatcombe Festival of eventing

Keeping hydrated…………………not just a thought for the horse!

Competing, or even just riding horses during the summer months can provide many headaches, as already mentioned in previous blogs, but a real headache can be self inflicted by not keeping your self hydrated, and I am sure many people have experienced that 4 o’clock head from lack of fluid.

If you are any thing like me you spend all your time rushing round; trying to fit in riding with work, school runs, house work (not overly obvious in my house that much time is spent on that!!), feeding the family and the ultimate time waster- shopping for the food to feed them all…..(which, with rugby playing son, William, home from Uni is crucial to keep the peace!!)

And with all that rushing round it is so easy to forget to drink – and i am not talking tea or coffee but water………and you would be amazed how much you should really pour down your self to stay properly hydrated on an ordinary day, let alone on hot humid ones, as we have already had a few of this summer!

I try and keep a water bottle on hand during the day, drink and top up, and if I concentrate on drinking regularly can easily see off 2 litres of water during a day. Not only is it good for my head, but kidneys also really appreciate a good dose of water during a busy day, and skin too – when reaching an age- one has to consider ones skin!

But jockey aside, hydrating your horse is vitally important to their well being and achieving the best performance.

At home, it would be very unusual to need to stress about getting your horse to drink – they just do – although there is no denying when they are in during day and out at night, they save themselves up for a lovely bit of trough water, rather than a nice fresh bucket in the stable! But when staying away from home – or on a long day competing, it can be tricky to get your horse to have a slurp – let alone a significant and worth while drink of water.

When staying away from home I take a few apples, slice up one and drop slices in to a bucket of water………Henry can’t resist and while apple bobbing starts the drinking process and before you know it has had a good re hydrating!

If just on a long day trip, a large syringe can help to wet his whistle or sponging water into his mouth tides him over until we get home.

When it is warm and the horses easily sweat up during day to day exercise, I give them electrolyte powders in their feed as a norm, but the day before a competition and for 2 days afterwards I use liquid electrolytes to help ensure the balance of minerals and salts stay at the correct levels to aid recovery and help tired muscles repair -ready for the next excursion. There are many products on the market, and far be it from me to say what is the best product…………….but my electrolyte of the season is the Equine UK Products Restore-Lyte – it comes in a liquid as well as powder, the former is my preferred as it is so easy to mix with feed, and they do a really handy syringe to top up after a competition, easy to administer and you know every bit is used!

Stay hydrated and enjoy the sun!

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