Tips for Summer Horsekeeping

Keep both you and your horse comfortable, whether you're in the barn or out horseback riding.

Keep your horse's environment enjoyable with simple "horsekeeping" practices. Journal photo

Manure Management

To manage stockpiled manure on small farms, good practices will keep nuisance and environmental issues to a minimum. Here are a few management tips:

  • Keep the manure as dry as possible.

  • Remove manure from the farm regularly during fly breeding season.

  • Try not to use insecticides or larvacides; naturally occurring fly predators - tiny, nonstinging wasps and parasites - are actually beneficial to the pile.

  • When cleaning out a stall, leave a couple of inches of dry manure over the bottom of the stall area to provide a population of fly parasites and predators. Manure removal can be staggered to leave one section per week to supply fly predators and parasites.

  • Remove winter’s stockpile of manure during cold weather (<55 degrees F) before fly breeding season

Don't forget that manure needs to be removed from corrals and barnyard areas, too.

For many riders, summer is the best time to hit the trails. But it's important to remember that while trail riding can be fun, there are special safety concerns that need to be addressed. Learn all about trail riding safely in AQHA’s FREE Trail Ride Safety Tips ebook.

Sun Shields

Sun-protective clothing can be an effective way to shield your skin from the sun's harmful rays. Sun-protective clothing is made of tightly woven fabric and is sometimes manufactured with added elements that absorb ultraviolet radiation.

It is important to read the labels of sun-protective clothing before purchasing. Levels range from UPF (Ultraviolet Protection Factor) 15 to 50+. If a shirt has UPF 30, it will only let 1/30 of the UV rays reach your skin. A protective garment that is marked UPF 50+ might not offer much more protection than a UPF 50 garment. If you do invest in protective clothing, keep in mind that it might lose its effectiveness to some degree if it is stretched, gets wet or is repeatedly washed. Anything with a UPF 40 or more may hold its effectiveness against UV rays better. The UPF rating does not refer to the design of the garment.

Trail riding can be a great way to relieve stress and expose your horse to new things. Trail riding carries its own inherent risks, though. Be aware of and prepared for these risks with AQHA's FREE Trail Ride Safety Tips ebook.

If UV protective clothing is not an option for you or your family, consider other choices, such as tightly woven and lightweight fabrics (linen, cotton or hemp). Older, threadbare or faded clothes may have a lower UPF rating. Darker colors of the same fabric type will absorb more UV radiation than lighter shades. If cotton or natural fiber fabrics are wet, they offer lower protection from UV radiation. Don't forget simple options such as continually applying sunscreen or wearing sunglasses or a hat. Protecting your skin from the UV rays from the sun now will benefit you later in life.

-- Content provided by Country Living Association