With the National Reining Horse Association Derby right ahead of us and the Futurities on the heels of that, I am taking extra precautions with my horses’ health. With the heat of the summer, I am always concerned about the stress and pressure on my horses.
Most of my basic training for my 3 year olds is complete. They all stop, can run circles and change leads. If they are not doing it by now, chances are they are not going to do it in the fall. Most of the summer months, I am working on the fine-tuning and finishing work. I have to be conscious of how much I ride the horses due to heat. Of course starting in the early mornings and riding under a covered arena certainly help, but there are other things I do for my horses.
Electrolytes are given daily when the horses are working hard — salt is always given free choice. I prefer the Himalayan salt blocks. My favorite electrolyte is Equisel-Lyte by Omega Alpha Equine. I like this because it comes in both powder and paste. You can use it as a top dressing for feed or give it as a paste. When I am hauling, I will use the paste, and for everyday use we put it on the horses’ feed.
Your horse needs supplementary electrolytes during hard work or hot weather:
• As a general rule, whenever he’s under unusual stress. This may include long trailer rides (of one hour or more), particularly if he’s not accustomed to hauling, or if the weather is 80 degrees Fahrenheit or hotter.
• When he works in conditions — heat plus high humidity — that make it extra-difficult for him to dissipate body heat.
• When he sweats profusely.
• When he works harder or longer than he’s accustomed to.
Reining horse professional Craig Schmersal is the fourth-leading rider of all-time, with earnings of more than $3.2 million. Over the last decade, Craig has won almost all of the major reining events, often taking all three of his entries into the finals.