Have you ever noticed that your horse seems less willing and sometimes irritable on windy, hot days? Well, you were not imagining it.
According to a study performed by researchers at the University of Life Sciences in Lublin, Poland, the summer weather can impact our horse’s mood.
16 Anglo-Arabian geldings were used in the study that ran during the warm months, July 1 to September 1. To make sure they received the most accurate results, they used the same riders and had the horses exercised at the same time each day. From 9 to 10 a.m. the horses were ridden and immediately afterward evaluated on their mood and willingness to work by the rider.
They were given a score from 1 to 5 with 1 meaning “lethargic or overexcited” while 5 indicated “very willing to cooperate.”
Air temperature, relative air humidity, wind speed and atmospheric pressure were also recorded each day. Researchers discovered that horses ridden when temperatures were above 26°C (78.8°F) and when winds exceed 5.5 m/s (12 mph) showed a “reduction in mood and willingness to work”.
Iwona Janczarek, one of the researchers, told Equus Magazine that the findings would most likely not shock horse owners. She said, “Windy weather is associated with more intense sounds, to which horses are sensitive.”
Surprisingly, humidity or atmospheric pressure didn’t seem to impact the horse’s mood. However, it does still take a toll on their physical well-being.
Researcher stated, “Physiological parameters like heart rate and body temperature seem to be more sensitive indicators of the horse body reaction to the weather than behavioral reactions.”
Horses can suffer heat exhaustion just like us. Horse owners are advised not to ride when the air temperature plus humidity is over 150. Instead, find ways to keep your horse cool and comfortable.
Let’s not forget that our beloved horses also must deal with annoying bugs biting them in addition to the heat and wind, which would make anyone crabby.