1. Keep him hydrated
Having continual access to fresh, clean water is important all year round but especially in hot conditions. Place outside water sources in the shade, if possible, but try and avoid a position where debris can fall into it from trees.
2. Beat the bugs
Flies and biting insects can be a real nuisance. There are some effective fly repellent products on the market to protect your horse from biting pests – if your horse does not like spray, use a gel or cream, which are often easier to apply to the face and ears. You can also invest in a fly sheet and there are some clever new designs on the market. Bucas's Buzz Off Zebra print range (www.bucas.com) works on the theory that flies don't like stripes, while Horseware (www.horseware.com) and WeatherBeeta (www.weatherbeeta.co.uk) market sheets which have been treated with an insect repellent product. To give your horse the best protection, check out reviews of fly repellents, rugs and masks in the July issue – on sale 12 June.
3. Replace lost salts
When a horse sweats, his body loses important salts and minerals. Ensure he has access to a salt or mineral lick in the field or stable. If you have been competing or he has been sweating a lot on a particular day, you can add electrolytes to his food or water.
4. Keep him entertained
If your horse or pony is prone to excessive weight gain, he may have to spend more time in his stable or in a starvation paddock. To try and keep things interesting for him, hang up some home made toys, such as a swede on a sturdy rope, to keep him entertained. An old football with holes punched in it and treats inside makes a cheap treat ball. If your horse is unable to have any treats at all due to weight gain try to make him work harder for his usual food. For example if you feed hay, dot sections all over the paddock as this keeps him interested and also means he has to move about more. Horses need different types of forage and providing branches from safe trees such as apple, elm, birch or beech to nibble will keep him busy. Make sure he has equine company at all times.