Commentary: Will Rising Temperatures Affect How Horses Compete? - Horse Racing News | Paulick Report

Commentary: Will Rising Temperatures Affect How Horses Compete?

A Florida-based horse show competitor has weighed in with Heels Down magazine on how climate change might affect how riders train their horses in the future.

Though high heat and humidity are a common occurrence in Florida, the summer temperatures have risen even more than expected over the last few years, she said, making training and conditioning horses safely more difficult. 

This year was no exception to the high temperatures, and other parts of the United States also experienced intense heat waves. In Florida, even the nights brought no reprieve, with “feels like” temperatures still over 100 degrees F after the sun went down. 

Extreme heat advisories have been issued multiple days in a row, so many horses are kept in stalls during the heat of the day, under fans or misters. Even so, the horse shows continue, particularly for riders seeking to qualify for year-end championship competition or those needing to keep their horses fit it preparation for the competition. 

At what point does training for these competitions threaten equine welfare? Will riding and showing in air conditioned arenas become the “new normal?” Will riders in the South travel North for the summer to continue to ride? And what does this mean for riders who can't afford such luxuries?

Though the author offered no answers, she is steadfast in her belief that equine health and welfare should be top priorities, especially when they are asked to work and compete in weather extremes. 

Read more at Heels Down magazine. 

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