Stables, shelters stress animal safety as summer in Bexar County heats up

One barn in Helotes is changing lesson plans, scheduling to keep its horses safe and teaching students proper care

HELOTES, Texas – A horseback riding center in Helotes is changing its scheduling to keep its horses safe in the extreme heat.

Morgan Fabbri, the owner of The Gentle Cowgirl riding center, said she looks for signals from her horses when it’s time to take a break from training.

“I’m watching the ears, watching the tails for signals,” Fabbri said. “Horses do talk to you, just not with words, with their body.”

Fabbri said she’s been working overtime this summer to ensure her horses stay healthy with the extreme heat. She’s had to change up lesson plans and scheduling for her students looking to learn how to horseback ride, and she’s not the only business that’s had to adjust to the heat.

“It’s really difficult,” Fabbri said. “We’re trying to stay out of the heat during the really hot part of the days, but it’s been an adjustment.”

Fabbri said she’s including more horse care into her lessons, teaching her students how to own horses and not just ride them.

“Less time on the horse and more time learning the other things that go into it as well,” Fabbri said. “Like what to do if your horse isn’t feeling good, how to clean a stall, braiding their manes and their tails, and how to clean their feet.”

She said her students are also taking more breaks to cool down their horses.

“In the middle of our rides, our students are unsaddling and bringing their horses in and cooling them off with a water hose,” Fabbri said.

And it’s not just horses feeling the heat. Chelsea Contreras, a graphic design associate at the San Antonio Humane Society, said she’s seen an influx of animals showing up at the shelter.

“It’s just that time of year,” Contreras said. “We get a huge influx of these young babies coming in needing shelter, needing homes, needing care, everything.”

From the shelter to the stables, animal safety is top of mind for Contreras and Fabbri.

“There’s so much that goes into a horse,” Fabbri said. “We’re doing a lot more horse care stuff this summer.”

About the Author:

Avery Everett is a news reporter and multimedia journalist at KSAT 12 News. Avery is a Philadelphia native. If she’s not at the station, she’s either on a hiking or biking trail. A lover of charcuterie boards and chocolate chip cookies, Avery’s also looking forward to eating her way through San Antonio, one taco shop at a time!