Stable Works to Keep Horses Cool
COLUMBIA - Workers at the Stephens College stables had a hard time Wednesday keeping their animals cool. The college's Summer Riding Program moved up its Child Morning Camp half an hour earlier to 7:30 a.m. so students could move indoors when the weather got hot.
Virginia Claire Alexander is an eight-year-old girl in the morning camp. She said they moved inside because it's really hot, and "It's also hot for the horses."
As the equestrian operation coordinator at Stephens Equestrian center, Ellen Beard works with other staff to take care of the horses every day. She said heat is really dangerous for the horses, and moving indoors in these hottest days is good for both children and animals.
"The horses are doing very well right now, but that's because we have implemented some management practices early on in preparation for the heat, " Beard said.
Under the heat wave in Columbia, the center has adopted many methods to keep the horses from dehydration and overheating.
"We've implemented shade cloth to try to deflect the intensity of the sun. And we have large barrel fans to move the air for the horses. They are positioned every 20 to 30 feet, " Beard said.
Also, workers keep the horses out of the sun during the day and only have them going out overnight or in the early morning.
Clay Stem works as the equestrian facility director at the center. He said they always have to keep an eye on all the fans in the summer, keep them running and keep the air cool.
Besides that, Stem said the horses need lots of water these days. He said their crew water the horses four times a day instead of three times because of the heat.
"We water them in the morning, and then at lunch, we water again in the evening, and we come back at 9 o'clock to water them again. Because of this heat, they drink a lot more than usual," Stem explained.
The program also canceled its evening session for adults this week.
One way the stable cooled their horses off and made things educational was by painting a horse. The girls in the summer camp learned the parts of the horse while the horse got to try on a new coat...of paint! Of course, the horse was rinsed off afterwards.