As the sun beats down on the Keystone Centre grounds, Sarah Boothe hoses down seven-time national champion horse Khalena Royale.
It’s Day 4 of the Canadian National Arabian & Half-Arabian Championship Horse Show and it’s a hot one. With the temperature reaching 30 C, combined with high humidity, owners are taking precautions to make sure their horses stay cool.
"The humidity here has been not only hard on the people, but ... hard on the horses," Boothe said. "Trying to keep them hydrated just like a person is a major thing. Just monitoring them, making sure they’re eating, making sure they’re drinking."
Boothe and her daughter Hillary travelled from Los Alamos, located on the central coast of California to take part in the national event. They brought nine horses to compete.
While they are used to the heat in California, they aren’t used to the muggy weather and mosquitoes that Manitoba offers.
To keep the horses cool, Boothe gives them electrolytes, to encourage them to drink water.
"You can also put a little salt in their feed which encourages them to drink as well," she said.
Before leaving California, the horses got a fresh hair cut.
"For us we can wear lighter clothes, for the horses we body clipped them before we came here, which means ... you clip their coat as short as you can so that helps them stay cooler as well," she said.
Fresh water in the stalls is a necessity, and when it is really hot they take buckets of water to the arenas so they can have a drink there.
"The main thing is, know your horses and monitor their condition," she said.
The Boothes were busy spraying down Khalena Royale, also known as "Buttons" to bring down her body temperature.
"Then you want to scrape it off because if you just leave the water on, it can cause them to be even hotter," she said. "You do scrape that off after you cool them down."
Meanwhile, at the other side of the stalls, Valeria Sylla of River Falls, WI. was tending to her horses. It’s her third year attending the national event in Brandon.
She said the weather has been perfect.
"A little bit of heat’s not too bad for (the horses)," she said. "They love it outside especially, with the breeze it’s been beautiful."
Sylla hangs fans in each horse stall and takes off the blankets when necessary.
"They wear their winter blankets at night because we’re stalled outside, and take the sheets off in the day," she said.
Fourteen-year-old Mia Martin of Munson Performance Horses in Washington competed in a Canadian national event for the first time this week.
"It’s been amazing, I got my two first national championships," Martin said, standing next to her nine-time national champion horse she calls "Grandma."
The 22-year-old horse has proven to be quite the star.
As for the heat and humidity, Martin said it doesn’t really bug her horse.
"She’s been in worse," she said. "When we went to nationals in Albuquerque it was 110 (F)."
Martin said she just makes sure the horses drink lots of water and "make sure that we don’t work them very, very hard."
The Canadian Nationals continue in Brandon until Saturday, featuring 187 classes in youth, western, dressage, hunter and English disciplines.
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