Keeping Cool This Summer
The summer weather has arrived with scorching hot days becoming quite regular. It’s important that both you and your horse keep well hydrated and cool in order to avoid overheating and even heatstroke. I’ve put some top tips together to make sure you and your horse can cope in this hot weather.
• Ride in the early morning or mid-evening. It tends to get hot around 10am onwards and doesn’t cool down until after 8pm. If I know it’s going to be a hot day I aim to be on my horse and riding by 8am to avoid the worst of it. If you work early morning or mid-evening is usually the best time to ride anyway!
• Avoid riding in the direct sun. This may sound like an obvious one but if your school is in the sun and your riding at a hot time of day you and your horse are going to get hot and sweaty very quickly. It may be better to go for a hack, where you can be in the shade.
• Always have water on you. This seems like another obvious one! But it’s easy to forget how important it is to stay hydrated. If I’m riding I’ll always make sure I have water with me and during a lesson my instructor will keep a hold of it for me. On competition days I’ll also bring Lucozade with me to replace electrolytes that I lose. It’s also essential that your horse has access to plenty of fresh water on hot days.
• Turn out. If you’re able to, turning your horses out at night during the summer is ideal as it’s cooler and there a fewer flies. If you can’t make sure your horses have access to shade when they’re in their field!
• Bathing. Always give your horse a bath with cool water after riding in the heat. It helps to cool down the main blood vessels and wash away any sweat. Just make sure the water isn’t too cold to avoid giving your horse a shock!
• Make your horse an ice lick. You can make a cooling ice lick by chopping up carrots and apples and then freezing them in water. I use a Tupperware and add a handful of both apples and carrots to some water before freezing it overnight. The horses love it!
• Clothing. Make sure you’re wearing the right clothing for hot weather! I love my Toggi Delray top and Lippizan riding tights as they’re a lightweight, performance fabric which helps keep me cool and comfortable when riding.
• Heatstroke. Make sure you look out for signs of heatstroke in your horse as it’s important to treat them as early as possible.
o Heavy breathing.
o An elevated heart rate.
o Raised temperature.
o Excessive sweating.
If you notice a combination of these symptoms and believe your horse has heatstroke call a vet ASAP! I hope these tips have provided you with an idea as to how you and your horse can cope in the heat and to make the best of these beautiful summer days!
Happy summer riding!
Love Issy xx