KALISPELL – It’s not just people who have to hydrate in this week’s warmer temperatures — trainers at The Event at Rebecca Farm are keeping a close eye on horse health too.
MTN News caught up with experts at Rebecca Farm who explained how horses and their riders stay safe and healthy in the heat.
With 700 horses and riders competing at Rebecca Farm, veterinarian Emily Sandler says they follow a strict health check policy for the horses.
“They go through four main inspections. They go through an arrival examine upon arrival. They then do an official horse inspection which involves watching them jog, and making sure they’re fit to compete in that way,” she explained. “And then they also go through a thorough exam every 10 minutes after cross country until their temperature has reached a suitable level again.”
Max Corcoran with Rebecca Farm explained how strenuous cross country can be on horses – especially in this heat.
“It can be from one mile to four miles long, and you are galloping across country — over solid obstacles, through water over ditches, banks and everything else. So, it’s sort of the heart of the sport of eventing,” Corcoran said.
Sandler pays close attention to the horses’ health following this event, trying to immediately cool them down, keeping them healthy.
“You’ll see lots of people immediately with sponges, putting the ice water on and then scrapping it off to help dissipate the heat,” Sandler said.
Corcoran noted that if a horse is sick from heat the rider and horse can not compete.
“A higher heart rate will indicate dehydration and maybe their fitness level. So, they’re getting assessed all the time to make sure these horses are fit and sound enough to even start and to continue on,” Corcoran said.
Riders are also encouraged to stay hydrated and cool as the competition continues.
The Event at Rebecca Farm officially starts Wednesday and continue through Sunday. Click here for more information.
Reporting by Maren Siu for MTN News