Naylors, Melanoma Fund & India Turner, Sunguarding Horse & Riders This Summer

Naylors, Melanoma Fund & India Turner, Sunguarding Horse & Riders This Summer

This Summer, we’ve teamed up with The Melanoma Fund for the Sunguarding Outdoors campaign, which is also supported and recognised by the British Horse Society. This collaboration aims to encourage equestrians to keep themselves and their horses protected from the sun. We know how easy it is to get carried away with playing ponies and to come back from the yard, only to find we’ve got the classic t-shirt tan and sunburn lines. Therefore, this summer season, we want to combat ‘the equestrian tan’. With the aid of the Melanoma’s Sunguarding campaign, we aim to raise awareness within our sport, so we can enjoy ourselves, whilst keeping us and our four-legged friends happy and healthy in the sun.

Naylors, Melanoma Fund & India Turner, Sunguarding Horse & Riders This Summer

India Turner, an up and coming 18-year-old 2* eventer, is a Sunguarding ambassador for the Melanoma fund. India says that sun protection is super important to her because of her 14.2hh Connemara, Pringle “who is susceptible to sunburn, being grey with a pink nose”. India likes to “ensure that he always has sunscreen on and other forms of UV protection in place, as irritation from the sun could affect him in so many negative ways”. Another reason India feels passionately about supporting this campaign is due to fact she believes “there is not enough information on how to keep horses and riders protected from the sun”. With the help of the Sunguarding campaign India would like to spread the word about how important sun protection is especially as “the campaign provides some really useful resources that riding schools, event organisers and yards can display to remind equestrians to protect their own skin as well as their horses”.

We’ve worked together with India and the Melanoma Fund to put together some tips, tricks and information that we believe will be useful to all equestrians on the topic of sun protection. So here is what we feel the Sunguarding campaign should help equestrians to know...

Our joint top tips and tricks for keeping your horse healthy, happy and protected from the sun and heat this summer

  1. Always make sure your horse has access to clean water and offer it them regularly to keep them as hydrated as possible.
  2. Avoid working your horses, ponies and yourselves between 11am and 3pm in the peak heat, even more so when the UV forecast is high.
  3. Try not to turn your four-legged friends out during the middle of the day if they have little to no shade as they will probably try and sunbathe for too long, not realising they’re in direct sunlight and it could be dangerous!
  4. Make sure they always have access to a shaded area in the field, if your field has a lot of surrounding trees, they’re a reliable source of shade, as they’re still getting airflow whilst it’s warm.
  5. When you enjoy yourselves on a ride in the sun and the heat, make sure to cool your horse down afterwards by running water over them, India says it’s best to ”start at their fetlocks so they can get used to the temperature”. Don’t sweat scrape them as the longer the evaporation process takes, the longer they stay cool for.
  6. If you take your horse out competing often, try to avoid travelling with them at peak times of the day, if that can’t be avoided, make sure to take extra water for them and you and complete regular checks on them.
  7. If you’re feeling creative, you could make an ice pop for your horse or pony. Simply grab a horse friendly container, pop some water, apple juice and they’re favourite juicy treats In, freeze it and then give it your furry friend. This keeps them entertained and hydrated at the same time.

Go to UV protection products for your horse

Naylors, Melanoma Fund & India Turner, Sunguarding Horse & Riders This Summer

If your horse has a pink skinned nose like Pringle, India’s pony, she finds that the products and methods that work for her are “definitely a form of SPF50, reapplying regularly as his skin is extra sensitive to the sun”, she also likes to keep “the rest of his body covered by a strong UV protected fly rug. We have to agree with India, for those pink skinned ponies, the thicker the suncream the better, as your horse won’t be able to rub it off as easily and therefore stays protected for longer. As for a fly rug, they vary in UV protection levels, the higher the UV protection the better. The patterned fly rugs are suggested to be more protective against fly bites as well, so that be might something to try if you haven’t already.

How you can protect your horse from the flies in the hot summer months

India uses the NAF citronella fly spray all over Pringle’s body and then a fly rug on top” moreover she feels “It’s also really important to me that a well-fitting fly mask is used as I know my horse can get really irritated. I like to check on Pringle’s mask throughout the day when I can, just to check it’s not pressing on his eyelashes or anything like that”. Like India, we recommend a fly mask with UV protection, we would also say different fly masks fit different face shapes, so if one doesn’t work for you maybe try a different one. Something else to look out for with a fly mask is, like India said, check that it gives your horse’s eyes a lot of space to prevent rubbing.

If your horse isn’t keen on fly spray, you could always use a sponge and your favourite fly gel, or alternatively, pop the fly spray on the sponge.

Fly rugs are also a very good way to protect from fly bites and commonly have a good level of UV protection, specifically the sweet itch style fly sheets. If your horse tends to get overheated very easily, we recommend going a size up for more freedom and airflow.

Preventing sunstroke for you and your horse

For you, the rider, India suggests “For the rider it is important to keep hydrated and to wear a hat or a cap when on the yard to cover your head and eyes from the sun, obviously when you’re out riding, you’ll have a riding hat on which does the same job”. We know how easy it is to get carried away doing bits and bobs at the yard, so we recommend carrying a bottle of water with you and even set reminders to keep having a drink if you forget easily. The sunguarding campaign strives to raise awareness of sun protection, but hydration is a key part to staying healthy in the heat.

If it’s not too hot, we suggest riding in a long sleeved base layer with UV protection, to keep your skin covered and ensure you are completely protected. Any exposed skin should have sunscreen applied to it and then reapplied every 2 hours. If it’s too hot to wear a long sleeved base layer, suncream is a must all over!

When it comes to prevention for your horse, as India rightly says “your horse cannot tell you how hot they are so you should be vigilant, make sure you provide shade and access to clean water”, your horses can’t tell you if they’re thirsty, so if you ensure they’ve got access you’ve got that base covered. Another thing you can do, once you notice your horse is uncomfortable due to heat is hose them down with cool water and leave it to evaporate, if your horse isn’t a fan of the hose, you can always fill a large water bucket use a jug or smaller bucket to slowly pour some cool water over them.

On the topic of hosing, make sure you leave the water to run for a couple minutes before you cool your horse down, as water can be very warm to start off, with depending on how your hose is kept.

Furthermore, if you check the forecast for the weather in advance, you can plan your horse's routine, whether they come in at a certain time, or when you ride, around work, school or other commitments.

Symptoms and signs to look out for when the sun is affecting your horse.

India strongly believes “it is important to know the signs to look out for and how to treat sunstroke”, us equestrians like to see the sunshine as it means we’re officially dealing with less mud and rain! However, we should always keep a close eye on our horses and watch out for symptoms or unusual behaviour, as an indicator that they may be struggling with the heat. India tends to look for “lethargy, shallow breathing, loss of appetite and not drinking water”. As India likes to compete a lot and knows all of Pringle’s mannerisms, these signs are her first indication that something isn’t quite right, and she should act on cooling him down and keeping him out of the sun.

These symptoms don’t just relate to Pringle, if you spot your horse looking extra sleepy, seeming uncomfortable e.g., swishing their tail, laying down and breathing heavily, that is probably your sign to monitor them more closely and keep them in the shade, encouraging them to have a drink. Obviously, your horse may become lazier due to warmer weather, but no one knows your horse as much as you, keep an eye out for any change of behaviour.

5 summer essentials on your wish list from Naylors

India’s summer essentials are:
  1. Shires Tempest Original UV protection fly rug - I find it fits Pringle really well.
  2. Shires fine mesh Fly Mask - I like how it gives Pringle eye room.
  3. NAF fly spray and citronella gelit keeps the flies off him but also smells amazing.
  4. Electrolytes - an essential when we’ve been competing.
  5. Himalayan salt lickIt gives him the option to have some more salt intake if he needs it.

India’s top tips for equestrians to enjoy the sun safely

  1. Try not to do jobs in direct sunlight in the middle of the day e.g. poo picking a field!
  2. Keep hydrated and sip from your water bottle regularly.
  3. Keep all exposed areas of skin protected from the sun using clothing and SPF30 on all exposed areas. Remember to keep spare SPF in the yard!
  4. Select shaded areas when resting or eating lunch.
  5. Apply SPF30 to face, neck and hands, as these areas are constantly exposed and prone to early ageing as well as skin cancer.
  6. Wear a wide brimmed hat when doing the jobs round the yard as this protects eyes and the whole of the head.

How India deals with the heat whilst out competing

As India likes to event, coping with the sun and heat is a major part of the process, her experience has led her to have a fool proof plan on how to keep Pringle happy and healthy. India says “When competing you cannot help the times you will be riding at. However, cooling them down afterwards is super important. After running cross country, we immediately cool down with big sponges and buckets of water. We apply water boots, then cooling clay and cold hose again once we are home. Making sure they are hydrated after a hot event is critical, we urge them to drink by adding apples to their water. If they do not want to drink, we feed a Recovery Mix to make sure they are replacing lost salts. Another great way is adding Electrolytes directly to the water that they are drinking. Protection from the sun is an important aspect of keeping you and your horse healthy, and by simply being aware of the risks you can avoid potential problems. I recommend to use the resources provided by the Melanoma Fund’s Sunguarding Outdoors campaign, and if you work with others display the information for all to see.”

Naylors, Melanoma Fund & India Turner, Sunguarding Horse & Riders This Summer

We hope between us, India and the Melanoma Fund, you feel at ease when it comes to enjoying your summer full of equine activities safely in the sun. Keep an eye out on our social pages for more sunguarding tips during the Sunguarding Outdoors Campaign. To check out some quick tips head over to the Melanoma Fund’s website to see the sunguarding outdoors information that they've worked with the British Horse Society to develop Sunguarding-Horse-riding - Melanoma Fund UK.

Naylors Help

Sorry to hear that you are having an issue. For us to help you further please quote the following to our customer care team.

peopleCustomer Care Hub emailEmail phonePhone