For the past few weeks, a large portion of the United States has felt like someone turned up the heat from warm to sweltering. Here in Lexington, we had several consecutive days with heat indexes over 100°F last week which was even too warm for me, a self-proclaimed hot weather lover.

On the hottest days, I opted to let Dorado, my 16-year-old Thoroughbred, take a break and just focus on keeping cool. Although I thought he'd appreciate the sentiment, he acted bored out of his mind and clearly had no idea why we weren't going out for rides in the afternoon. The lucky boy stayed cool as a cucumber under his fan all day, which probably kept his stall a good 10° to 15° cooler than the ambient outdoor temperature. This "Come on, mom, let's go work!" attitude is a welcome change from our experience with last year's summer heat.

Last year, Dorado struggled with the high temperatures due to his living situation. He lived at a different barn with a different living arrangement that made it difficult for him to come inside during the day. On some of the hottest days in early summer I'd arrive after work to find him sweating and clearly uncomfortable.

I'd bring him inside and hose him off until his body temperature dropped. Often times I stayed inside with him while he ate his dinner; after that we'd play in the cooler barn until the sun began to set and the outdoor temperatures dropped. Then I'd turn him back outside a much happier horse.

After this happened a few times, I became very concerned that Dorado, then 15 years old, would overheat and develop heat stroke. Researchers and veterinarians have confirmed that older horses have decreased thermoregulatory abilities, essentially meaning they have a harder time keeping themselves cool and warm in temperature extremes.

To avoid the onset of serious health problems for Dorado, I worked out a deal with another boarder. She would bring Dorado inside each morning in exchange for me doing evening turnout for her mare, who hated waiting in her stall until her owner got off work later at night. Once we put our arrangement into practice, both of our horses were happier and more comfortable in the summer heat.

This year, at our new barn, the horses are turned out at night and stalled during the day from May until about October. This schedule allows Dorado to stay cool during the day, which is especially important for him as he's aging.

How do you manage your senior horses during heat waves? What works, and what doesn't? Please share your experiences below.