How To Make The Most Of Your Summer Riding
This summer the weather has actually been behaving in most parts and Britain has been making the most of the warm weather. Hot weather isn’t always ideal for everyone though and for horse riders and owners it can be actually be a little tough. Things get hot and sweaty and the flies come out and we’re simply not used to it in this normally rather damp country. So we’ve pulled together some handy tips on how to make the most of your summer riding and still enjoy the summer weather.
What To Wear For Summer Riding:
You’ll want to be able to keep your cool when riding and what you choose to wear can make a big difference. Always try to go for lightweight clothes in warm weather. You’ll be able to find technical tops designed for their breathability and moisture wicking properties. For the legs you’ll need a pair of lightweight breeches or some riding tights. Riding tights are perfect for summer riding as they are often thinner than breeches and some even have mesh panels for added ventilation. As annoying as the tan lines can be, we don’t recommend riding in shorts in case the stirrup leathers pinch your skin. Pale legs look better than bruised legs and it’s nothing a little fake tan can’t fix if you’re that worried. Talking of tans, you may want to opt for sleeveless tops to avoid sleeve tan lines.
Hat hair is always going to be an issue and of course we advise that you should always wear a hat when riding even when it’s hot. That being said, wearing a riding hat designed with good ventilation should at least keep your head a little cooler than one without. Your legs and feet are another area where you may start to feel the heat. You always need to wear appropriate footwear around horses, no one wants to lose a toe because they wore flip flops to the yard! In summer why not opt for a pair of short riding boots to help keep your legs cooler? Short boots can also be great if you’re someone who’s ankles or legs tend to swell if their squished into long boots in hot weather. You’ll also definitely want to ditch the thick winter socks for some thinner ones.
TOP TIP: The colour black can absorb more of the heat from the sun’s rays so summer is the perfect time to wear light colours. Why not go bright and colourful this summer?
Caring For Your Horse:
If you’re feeling hot and sticky then the chances are your horse is feeling the warmth too. Although horses are generally quite good at regulating their temperature they can struggle in particularly hot weather. This is especially true of horses best suited to cooler climates as many of our hairy cobs are. Before we even look into summer riding you need to make sure your horse can stay as cool and comfortable as possible all the time, not just under the saddle. Make sure they always have access to clean fresh water, preferably kept in a shaded area. Make sure they always have access to shade when they are turned out and apply sun cream where necessary to avoid uncomfortable burns.
In summer your horse is bound to sweat more and therefore you may need to give them a helping hand in replacing lost salts. This is especially true of horses in work. You may need to look into various supplements that will help boost your horse’s electrolytes or you might simply opt for a salt lick.
After your horse has worked they may be quite sweaty. You may want to cool your horse off using a hose pipe or buckets of water to start the process of bringing their body temperature down. Purchasing a cooler rug is a fantastic investment for year round use. A cooler can wick away sweat so it is drawn away from your horse’s skin where it can evaporate. In summer you may want to opt for a highly breathable cooler such as a net or mesh material over a fleece material.
TOP TIP: Try and avoid riding at the hottest times of the day. If possible ride early in the morning or in the evenings after a day of work.
One of the worst things about summer riding is those pesky flies. Whether they’re flying into your face or biting yourself or biting and irritating your horse causing them to shake their head, swish their tail and maybe even kick out. You’re going to need a good fly spray that you can use on your horse before heading out for a ride. If your horse doesn’t like the feeling of being sprayed or is scared by the sound you can also buy insect repellent gels, these are also good for hard to spray places such as around the face. You can even get fly repellent tags and wristbands that you may want to wear yourself.
If your horse still gets bothered by flies while you’re riding then there are some handy products that may be able to help. Some people use a fly hood/veil to protect the horse’s ears and to muffle the sound of buzzing around their head. However in hot weather, your horse may get a bit sweaty around the ears. You can now get fly masks that a suited to being attached to a bridle. Or if it’s not your horse’s face that is the problem you may want to purchase a ride-on fly rug. These over coverage like a regular fly rug and not only cover the hind quarters but also the neck and shoulders while fitting around your saddle.
TOP TIP: Fly protection is really important as bites can lead to sweet itch which is very painful and irritating. Find out more in our dedicated blog post here.
We hope that you are now able to make the most of some fantastic summer riding whether at home, out on a hack, at a fun ride or even at competitions. We’d love to see your pictures from your summer rides so be sure to tag us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.