7 Tips For Horse Riding In Hot Weather
When the temperatures start to hit the mid 20s or higher, you may not realise it but there's important advice that should be followed to keep you and your horse safe and healthy during the summer months. Here are Kim's Top 7 Tips to follow when you're riding your horse in hot weather:
1. Cover up
However warm it gets, remember to cover your arms - a lightweight cool shirt with long sleeves offers more protection than a t-shirt or vest top against insect bites, cuts, scrapes and grazes, and is just as cool, if not cooler! Most importantly it also protects against sunburn.
2. Use fly repellent
You probably already use a fly repellent on your horse, if they're turned out over the summer, but it's just as important to protect them during your ride as well. Fly fringes which attach to the brow band can make a big difference in minimising fly irritation to your horse's eyes. Nowadays they come with and without ear protection. Ear protection also comes in the fashionable form of ear bonnets. These seem to be incredibly popular and not just for fly protection!
You should also consider using some form of bug repellent for yourself when the flies are out in force, to avoid being bitten to death by horseflies! The latest invention for war on those pesky flies, is Ride-on Fly Rugs. These do exactly as their name suggests: it's a fly rug that you put on your horse when you ride. How good is that? For maximum If flies are still a problem, try putting the fly repellent on the fly rug.
3. Don't forget the cream
Horses can burn in the sun just as we do! Especially on pink and white areas - around the nose and muzzle are the obvious areas. Also pay particular attention to heels as these are often quite pink for horses that have white socks and are therefore prone to sunburn. There are lots of different types of sunscreens and sun blocks available specifically for horses and ponies, so choose the best one for your particular needs.
Ride morning or evening, never in the full heat of the sun as it will be harder work for you and your horse and cause heat exhaustion. If you have to ride at peak noon, then make sure you plan your route with plenty of rests and shady stops and water breaks.
5. Cool down
Remember as you come towards the end of your ride, to cool your horse down properly by reducing the pace.
6. Keep hydrated
Offer cool but not cold water once the horse has cooled down, and if he has exerted himself significantly, consider adding electrolytes to his water to replace those that have been lost during the ride. Don't forget to keep yourself well hydrated. Take a drink with you, even if you're riding early in the morning as the temperature heats up very quickly.
7. Wash off
Remember to clean any sweat off your horse after the ride with some clean water, it can cause sores and itching as well as becoming very smelly, concentrate on the hind legs especially as this is where most sweat collects and then rub down afterwards.
Once you return to the stables, remember the golden rule of equine care - always put your horse's comfort before your own.
If you found this article useful, you may also enjoy reading our blog about the best type of equestrian clothing you should wear when riding in hot weather.