The weekend of the Preakness Stakes is always a busy one at my boarding barn. Not only do the owners host a Preakness Party for boarders and friends each year, it’s also the weekend we switch from day turnout to night turnout to help keep the horses comfortable in summer’s soaring temperatures.
Researchers and veterinarians have confirmed that older horses have decreased thermoregulatory abilities, essentially meaning they have a harder time keeping themselves cool and warm in temperature extremes. So while I can’t wait to leave the 70¡s in the dust, some owners of senior horses dread when the temperatures soar.
Summer is a nice, albeit toasty, time to be a horse in the Bluegrass!
Photo: Erica Larson
Historically, 19-year-old Dorado has been a huge fan of warm weather. I’m not sure if that comes from his early days growing up in Florida, the fact that he’s a thin-skinned Thoroughbred (read: he’s just a weenie when it comes to cold weather), or some other factor, but he’s a much happier horse when the sun is shining and temperatures are warm. But during a few unseasonably hot days last week that he seemed to be sweating just a bit more than he usually did in those conditions. There are a few possible reasons for this I’ve consideredÑit’s still very early for temperatures to approach 90¡ and maybe his body just hasn’t adjusted to the heat yet, or maybe his new fly sheet doesn’t breathe quite as well as th