Hot weather horse riding clothes
The warmer days and longer daylight hours means there's more time for us horse lovers to be with our horses and be outdoors. However, riding and doing all our jobs in the heat and humidity can be a daily challenge. Whether you're schooling, hacking or simply looking after your horse during the summer, what can you do to keep your temperature regulated and under control? Here are a few of our tips and suggestions to help you survive.
First things first: Stay safe
When the temperature rises and everyone around you starts stripping down to shorts and vest tops, it can be very tempting to sacrifice safety to maximise short term cooler comfort. Don't be tempted to do away with the correct clothing and equipment when around horses in the heat: always wear your riding hat and what’s more keep it correctly fastened when you’re mounted.
Plus, always make sure that however hot it is, you always wear Hi-Viz out hacking even if you're not going on the road. Finding breathable Hi Viz clothing is challenging. So if you want to stay cool, go for Hi Viz that is breathable by the very nature of its design! The HyVIZ Waistcoat and the Roma Reflective Safety Vest are great options.
Next: Stay Cool
If you get really hot when you're riding when the sun's out, go for a sleeveless option. If you want style, you should look at the Shires Aubrion Brockley Vest. Available in Coral or Navy and the Horseware Aoife Training Top has been designed with latest on-trend colours.
If you prefer to have your arms covered, there a two options: a traditional t-shirt or a traditional polo shirt. Go for a t-shirt if you prefer an informal look. The LeMieux J'Adore T-Shirt is Eco friendly and made from recycled plastic and the Shires Aubrion Elverson Tech Top is made from lightweight, quick dry fabric.
If you prefer to wear long sleeves, a base layer is a great choice. Base layers are quick drying and light weight, providing ultimate comfort. Take a look at the LeMieux Base Layer, it is available in a range of colours so you can choose your favourite. The Hy Signature Base Layer is stylish and made from breathable fabric, making it practical for summer riding.
Finding legwear that keeps you cool when you ride, is often difficult. Riding tights and leggings are now more popular than breeches and jodhpurs. They are light weight and breathable making them perfect for summer! The most popular of all being the Dublin Performance Cool-It Gel Riding Tights
Look for breeches that have some cotton in them. Not always easy these days as so many fabrics are made of man-made fibres. The Coolmax fabric in the Mark Todd Ladies Coolmax Grip Breeches will keep your skin cool and dry too, thanks to its temperature control and wicking properties.
Leather riding gloves are great for the autumn and winter but your hands will quickly get sweaty inside them during the summer. The Busse Summer Riding Gloves have been designed to be lightweight and elasticated which makes them extremely comfortable to wear. These gloves are breathable and perfectly ventilated for warmer days due to the net-like material on the back of the hand.
Don't forget about your head! The Pikeur Rhinestones Cap keeps you protected from the sun with embroidered with stunning rhinestone front design with ventilation holes.
Don't skimp on footwear!
If you struggle with trying to keep your feet cool and dry, look out for horse riding socks that specifically manage the moisture. Typically, these contain either Coolmax or bamboo.
The Woof Wear Riding Sock is naturally anti-bacterial and anti-fungal. These socks have twice the wicking property of cotton. Simply put this means evaporation of moisture is virtually instantaneous. The larger ‘Waffle Knit’ surface area and its technology, accelerates the evaporation of moisture away from your feet keeping them dry. The thermostatic effect ensures the socks are cool in summer but warm in winter. Available in turquoise and black, chose from short or long socks
There are socks and then there are stockings! Stockings are great if you just want a thin covering on your foot. Plus you can have a bit of fun choosing a design - see the great range of HKM Nylon Print Riding Socks. Alternatively the HKM Microcotton Colour Set Riding Socks are designed to be hard-wearing but to also be soft and comfortable. The tight fitting, breathable material makes the perfect combination to go under those long riding boots.
It's tempting to forsake proper equestrian footwear, especially when you’re short of time. Wearing flipflops or trainers to do your horse can be extremely risky. For those riders who find long leather riding boots or rubber boots too warm when the sun shines, short riding boots and chaps are a much better choice for the warmer months. Remember you only really need to wear your chaps when you’re riding, so when you’re not, take them off!
The Busse Ocala Jodhpur Boots are extra light and optimally ventilated for summer riding.
If you are looking for a leather half chap then the Dublin Evolution Side Zip Half Chaps are a great option, they look smart and are made from high quality, soft, full grain European leather. The Shires Moretta Suede Half Chaps are made from durable supple suede with reinforced inner calves and shaping for a neat fit, a great value half chap.
Colour is everything
Wear light-coloured clothing, e.g. everyday breeches, when you're doing stable jobs. Light colours reflect sunlight whereas dark colours absorb sunlight. This means that if you wear dark colours, you'll feel hotter.
Another benefit of wearing light-coloured clothing, particularly if you’re out hacking, is that you can more easily spot those pesky little bugs on your clothing that are looking for a nibble before they have an opportunity to bite you! Did you know that many of the biting flies that attack our horses, are attracted to dark colours? So, if you go for dark breeches, it may increase your attraction to the flies.
So, go for beige and charcoal instead. Despite being lighter in colour, both don’t show the dirt contrary to what you might think.
How technical clothing can help
Like it or not, the body’s natural way of cooling itself down, is to perspire. So, to keep yourself feeling cooler and drier, look for equestrian clothing made from technical fabrics. Technical pieces are made from breathable fabrics or fabric that has wicking properties, i.e. it wicks away the perspiration from your body, or some have built-in UV protection. The riding fraternity have been slower to embrace the benefits of technical clothing, partly because of its limited availability and cost. Now, however, many equestrians are seeking out those products that are going to make their riding more comfortable. Being more comfortable means being able to ride for longer when it’s hot and, often, dare I say it, better.
We all know that there are cheaper products available from many high street chains but these are not designed with horse riding in mind. So if you want to enjoy your riding when it's hot, invest in clothing whose sole purpose is to ride in.
The more obvious stuff
Stay hydrated! It sounds simple, but most people do not drink enough water. Keep water on hand for yourself and make sure your horse has ample access to fresh water. Check your horse for dehydration by doing a pinch test on the side of his neck. If the skin stays tented after pinching, your horse is dehydrated.
Why your hat won't stop you getting sunburn...
Wear sunscreen! Believe it or not, the peak of your riding hat won't prevent you from getting a sun burnt face. So, use sun protection when out riding your horse just the same as you would at any other time. And don't forget the exposed back of your neck if your hair doesn't cover it!
Take a look at our Hot Weather Horse Riding Wear and get all those essential pieces before the really hot weather arrives.