What is a horse latitude

The horse sweats: what horse sweat tells us

Those who make an effort work up a sweat. The horses feel the same as the people. But why actually? And why do some horses sweat more and others less?

If the horse sweats and creates white foam, this can become a big topic of conversation. Veterinarian Dr. First of all, Annette Wyrwoll states: “Sweating is fundamentally very healthy. The organism removes pollutants through the sweat and ensures that the horse maintains its core temperature of 37.2 to 38.3 degrees. “This is important, because the body temperature of horses can rise to over 41 degrees when exerting a lot.

Horses sweat for a reason - two types of sweat

The horse's thermoregulation is a biological marvel. This is a complicated but very effective anatomical, physiological and behavioral mechanism.

When the horse sweats, moisture wets the surface of the skin to allow evaporation cold to develop and thus to cool the body down again. About 85 percent of the heat is given off through evaporation.

Veterinarian Dr. Annette Wyrwoll explains that there are two types of sweating - on the one hand, that caused by muscle work and, on the other hand, sweating that is due to psychological pressure, excitement or pain.

A cool sock or a hot stove - causes of profuse sweating in horses

The amount of sweat that an organism produces varies from person to person and depends on various factors.

On the one hand, there is the number and distribution of the sweat glands (around 400 to 500 per square centimeter in horses, depending on the part of the body). They are located in the layer under the epidermis, the so-called dermis. The more glands, the more intense the sweating.

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On the other hand, the interior of the individual horse also plays an important role. A hot stove is more likely to sweat than a cool sock. When it comes to the question of whether or not sweat flows, climatic conditions such as outside temperature, humidity and wind speed are also important.

Horses do not sweat in exactly the same way when exposed to a similar load. How much each individual sweats depends, among other things, on the situation. (© www.toffi-images.de)

Horses in motion - do you sweat even while walking?

It is impossible for athletes to stay cool - not because they are not casual enough, but because their usually very well-developed muscles produce warmth during sport. The muscle converts around 20 percent into energy, the remaining 80 percent into heat. So that the body can continue to perform, the accumulated muscle heat must be released to the outside.

A damp coat, sometimes white sweat and a higher breathing rate are clear signs of physical exertion in horses. The more the horse exerts itself and the hotter the climate, the more the muscles warm up.

High temperatures and high humidity, calm, long fur and a lot of body fat make it difficult for the horse to give off heat. For these reasons, a horse can start sweating as soon as he walks. If it is particularly hot outside, summer temperatures over 30 degrees and tropical nights (temperature not below 20 degrees Celsius) are no longer uncommon in our latitudes, horses can then sweat in their boxes.

Horses' water needs

Water requirement

A horse is drinking Every day between 30 and 50 liters. The amount depends on the size of the animals, but also on the type of husbandry and training intensity and thus how much the horse sweats.


Water for horses should always be fresh and clear be.


Just in the pasture Care must be taken in summer temperatures that sufficient water for all horses is available - even to lower-ranking herd members. Vats, old bathtubs, or other containers that are being refilled should be inspected for cleanliness. Standing water is often full of pathogens and also breeding grounds for all sorts of insects that disturb the horse.


If you feel like your Horse doesn't drink enoughThe water quality seems good but try that Apple juice trick: Simply pour some apple juice into the bucket with drinking water. This stimulates the appetite and is common practice with many international competition horses when they do not want to drink the chlorinated water that comes out of the tap in many countries.

After training: the horse sweats in the box

Sweating is a sign that the body has not yet cooled down to "operating temperature" after exertion. But it should actually be when you bring the horse back into the stable. The horse only sweats in the box after the work is done if it has not been ridden dry enough while riding. Cooling with water also helps, but does not have the same effect on muscles, tendons and joints as the long, quiet movement of step riding.

Extensive step riding is important for the horse after a sweaty session - leading is also possible. (© www.toffi-images.de)

You can even try it out for yourself: Anyone who immediately lies down on the sofa after a sporting activity will have significantly more sore muscles than those who relax afterwards with a quiet walk.

Incidentally, horses usually sweat afterwards in those areas that remained dry during work. After all, these also have to be cooled down. This explains why the croup is suddenly wet after riding under the sweat rug and the saddle area is already dry.

Conclusion: A horse that sweats should be ridden dry at rest.

The horse sweats in peace - disturbed peace of mind?

If the horse sweats without being exposed to stress, it may be the horse's psychological tension that is producing the sweat. The autonomic nervous system - the so-called sympathetic nervous system - is responsible for this. This is the "emergency escape fear nerve", which also activates the sweat glands when danger threatens. By the way, fear sweat is actually cold or it is actually not the sweat that is cold, but the body underneath. On the other hand, if a horse sweats from exertion, it is because the work heats it up and tries to cool down.

Warning: mineral deficiency due to excessive sweating!

Profuse sweating can lead to disruptions in the horse's mineral balance. The lack of electrolytes in particular can be life-threatening for the horse. Therefore, a salt lick with the most important minerals should always be available in the box, in the open stable or possibly on the pasture. This is usually enough with average stress to keep the horse's mineral balance in balance.

If horses nevertheless lick the ground or even eat soil, it can be assumed that they are missing an important mineral. In such a case, you should consult the veterinarian and clarify the problem with a blood test.

When the horse sweats profusely, it loses important minerals. A salt lick can create the necessary balance. (© www.slawik.com)

Heat source of danger

Sweating itself is never dangerous as long as the horses are given enough minerals and water is available to balance fluids.
However, a body can overheat, for example with a high fever or exertion in an unusually hot environment. But then overheating is the danger and not sweating. Through the sweat, the horse's body only tries to bring about a temperature equalization in order to prevent overheating.

Conclusion: For heat-sensitive horses, hot weather should be used for a walk rather than for strenuous training.

Correct welding pattern - what it can tell us

Partial sweating can be a good or a less than good sign, depending on the context in which it occurs and where it occurs. Veterinarian Dr. Annette Wyrwoll explains: "Sweat stains generally indicate that the muscles have been particularly stressed at this point."

  • Head and neck
    It is normal for the horse to sweat on the head and neck during exertion. The muscles above the forehead and partly also behind the ears are in motion when the horse chews.
    The horse sweats on the head and neck for no reason when it is suffering from mental tension. This is often caused by excitement, fear or pain.
  • Underside of the neck
    When working with the horse to make it more permeable and bulge the neck, sweat stains on the underside of the horse's neck are extremely positive. The muscles there are responsible, among other things, for the mouth activity and sweat at this point can mean that the horse has eagerly chewed.
  • Ears
    Do horses sweat here because they think so much? Unfortunately, no! The sweat behind the ears is a result of the pressure on the bridle or the contact surface, which hardly any (cooling) air can reach during training.
  • Saddle and belt position
    Some horses even sweat at the crotch because the saddle, saddlecloth or saddle pad and the girth store additional heat. Practical additional information: The sweat pattern can reveal whether the horse's saddle fits properly. If the sweaty areas in the saddle position are asymmetrical, it is best to take a photo with your smartphone and show it to the saddler on your next visit!

    The welding pattern of the saddle shows whether the horse's equipment is sitting correctly. (© Pauline von Hardenberg)

  • Flanks
    Your horse is sweating on the flank - congratulations! The horse has strained its oblique abdominal muscles. This is what it takes to be able to arch your back. “Especially when I work with the younger horses that are still at the beginning of their training, I pay very close attention to where they have sweated. Damp spots on the flanks show me that we are on the right track, ”explains Dr. Annette Wyrwoll.
  • Hind legs
    When you begin to work more in the direction of the gathering, sweat on the long ischial muscles and on the so-called trousers, the muscles on the outside of the hind legs, is a good sign. You can recognize the incipient bending of the knees.
  • Inside of the back thighs
    However, anyone who thought that the white sweat between the horse's hind legs was an indication of particularly active work from behind will have to disappoint the Olympic rider and veterinarian - “The foam between the hind legs is caused by friction when the thighs touch. This can be the case when horses are very muscled or simply too fat. "



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