Hot weather horse riding clothes
Posted on 17 June 2014 by Kim
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 Kim's 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.
Don't skimp on your footwear!
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!
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 you can get a nice, cheap top from that very big, great value high street chain but it simply will not keep you as comfortable as one of these technical riding tops from our summer collection of riding wear.
If you prefer to wear long sleeves to protect your arms, the Noble Outfitters Ashley Long Sleeved Riding Top is packed full of features aimed at helping with the hot weather:
- It blocks 98% of the sun’s rays
- Its Opti-Dry technology wicks away moisture to keep you dry and warm
- It has stretch mesh back panels for breathability
- It has extremely powerful mesh under arms for maximum ventilation.
As well as these great features, it comes in a wide range of colours: grey, white, periwinkle, wine red, black, violet coral, seaport and good old fashioned navy!
If you like a traditional looking polo, the Noble Outfitters Miley Polo short sleeved polo shirt comes in navy, white and a vivacious coral which:
- Blocks 98% of the sun’s rays
- Wicks away moisture via its Opti-Dry technology to keep you dry and warm.
If you like a sleeveless top, the Toggi Team GBR Innsbruck Sleeveless Ladies Polo Shirt is made of a technical fabric that wicks away the moisture. Despite being man made, this fabric has a luxurious feel to it and is incredibly light. Available in navy and a good red colour that’ll brighten up your day.
The great feature about many technical tops, is that they can be used as base layers in the winter as well as a top or outer layer in the summer. This is simply because they’re breathable. When it’s really hot and you want to stay cool, the Noble Outfitters Kahla Riding Top with its racing back will definitely do the trick. Its Opti-dry technology wicks moisture away and the stretch mesh panels on the back deliver much needed breathability.
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.
For everyday yard wear, the Dublin Cool-Tec Sock is made with a cotton-mix fabric for natural breathability. These socks are lightweight, absorbent and have a soft texture. Alternatively, if you like something patterned, treat your feet to a pair of these brightly coloured Shires Technical Socks. Made from breathable cotton that wicks away moisture, it allows the air to circulate keeping skin dry and comfortable.
There are socks and then there are stockings! Stockings are great if you just want a thin covering on your foot. Once again chose from patterned ones, HKM Nylon Print Riding Socks, or plain ones like these Dublin Stocking Socks.
For those of you that are out competing, many competition jackets and show shirts are made of advanced technical fabrics that are designed to keep competitors cool and comfortable while riding. Look for show jackets that are made of breathable, lightweight fabrics with wicking properties to move moisture away from the body.
Check the label
It’s always worth checking the label to see what a product is made of. These breathable HKM Summer Denim Full Seat Breeches are 95% cotton.
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 Riding Clothes Collection and get all those essential pieces before the hot weather arrives.