Summer is officially here. Record breaking temperatures are sweeping the state, and by all accounts it looks as though it’s going to be a very hot year. While there’s no better way to enjoy a summer than in the saddle, it can sometimes get a little uncomfortable (and possibly unsafe) on those warmer than average days. Don’t fret, though, there are two important ways that you can combat the effects of the sun and beat the heat in the saddle this summer.
Beat the Heat in the Saddle – Stay Hydrated
When it comes to staying comfortable and safe on those hot summer days, the first and most important thing to remember is hydration. Whether you’re hitting the local trail head, or fighting for a spot in the warm-up arena at a summer show, making sure that both you and your horse are safe from dehydration can mean the difference between a good time and a possibly costly trip to the veterinarian or hospital.
Your Horse Needs Water
We’ve all heard the old adage, “you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink”, and, as equestrians, we all know this to be true. When it comes to training or riding in the warmth of the summer sun, the first trick is the simplest…make sure your horse has access to clean water at all times. Keep your troughs scrubbed out and free of debris, and make sure that if you are traveling you bring water along with you to offer to your horse at the trailer prior to and after a ride. Did you know that your horse’s healthy water intake can double when it’s excessively warm or he is exerting himself?
Sometimes simply providing water isn’t enough to stay safe, especially when your horse is working hard and sweating excessively. In these cases, a good electrolyte supplement can be a lifesaver. Most electrolyte supplements are fed prior to heavy exertion or travel (a trail ride, an endurance ride, a trailer ride, horse show, etc.), and continued on a maintenance dose throughout an “event”. Endura Max Electrolyte Supplement is one of the most respected and often used products on the market. It can be fed as a top-dressing in feed or mixed in a large syringe with water, yogurt or applesauce as an immediate-dose electrolyte boost.
You Need Water
Most of us get so caught up with our horse’s health and comfort that we sometimes forget ourselves. Whether you’re just spending a long day at the barn or doing a 5-mile loop on one of our county’s beautiful trails, don’t forget to give yourself “free access” to water as well. Drink at least a full 8-ounce glass of water prior to leaving the house, and make sure that you bring a refillable water bottle with you while you’re on the go. It can be inconvenient to carry a water bottle with us when we ride – no one likes a bouncing addition to their tack set-up – but the EasyCare Stowaway Water Bottle Holder fixes that problem with its simple snap and Velcro system, which keeps your water bottle snug on any saddle. Pick yourself up one of these holders and carry a bottle of water with you while you ride.
Beat the Heat in the Saddle – Stay Cool
Once you’ve addressed hydration, you need to think about ways to stay cool in the saddle. Yes, it’s time to put away the winter and spring riding-wear and make sure that you have a good summer wardrobe on hand. If you want to stay as cool as possible at the barn or in the saddle, choose summer apparel that makes use of modern technology, i.e. moisture wicking material, UPF sun protection, and lightweight fabrics.
My absolute favorite shirts for summer riding are Icefil Tee’s from Irideon. These great shirts are classy and attractive and use a patented “Icefil” material, which can keep your body up to 5 degrees cooler than your average moisture wicking shirts. Grab yourself one (or six) of these great shirts today!
It may seem counter-intuitive to add another piece of riding apparel in an effort to stay cooler, but there are actually two summer “additions” that can be made to your wardrobe that will actually reduce your body temperature. The HyperKewl Cooling Neck band is a handy little addition that you can submerge in cold water, wrap around your neck and it will stay hydrated for hours! It can be re-hydrated at any time to prolong the effect, and the HyperKewl can actually reduce your core body temperature up to 12 degrees.
To keep the sweat out of your eyes and your head a little cooler, grab yourself an Equi Cool Down Cooling Headband. There’s no need to keep this band in the refrigerator or dunk it in water, the material itself activates with the moisture from your own body and gradually cools for hours. Wear one alone as a stylish accessory, or under any helmet or western hat to stay cool all day long.
So, remember beating the heat in the saddle this summer is both about comfort AND safety. Stay hydrated and stay cool. Make use of your common sense, your horsemanship skills and these great products to have a fun and productive riding season.
Cover Photo: Sharon Jantzen
Just so you know, clicking the above links takes you to the product on the Riding Warehouse site. This makes shopping easy and convenient for you. We do get a little kick-back from items purchased, giving us resources to bring you more stories, but your price stays the same. It’s a win-win! Also for local riders you can order items online and request pick-up – during checkout – at the Riding Warehouse store. Happy Trails!