Summer is here in full swing and with that comes it's own set of seasonal challenges. Depending on where you live, the weather can be excruciatingly hot. My personal riding time dwindles dramatically when the hot weather is baring down.
Here are a few great tips to beat the heat during summer riding weather.
It's important for both you and your horse to be drinking enough water all year round, but especially important when the temps reach the top of the thermometer.
For myself, I like to invest in an insulated water bottle. I have tried a few out, and my top choices are the Yeti, the Hydroflask and the Thermoflask.
For those of you that are familiar with the brand Yeti, you'll know how expensive they are. If you are looking for something more cost effective, The Thermoflask brand is found at Costco, is an enormous bottle and costs a fraction of the other two brands. I happened to stumble upon a yeti bottle in a cool colour on sale, so I picked it up. As long as you're drinking water, it really doesn't matter what receptacle it comes from. (Hello barn hose!)
For horses, they don't need any fancy drinking bottles. The most important thing is that they have access to fresh, clean drinking water at all times. A horse drinks 5 to 15 gallons of water daily, and it's important to be observing that your horse is drinking adequately.
Providing free choice trace mineralized salt is a great way to encourage your horse to drink. For those horses that don't understand the salt block concept (my horse, I am looking at YOU) you can also add salt to daily grain rations.
In the summertime, our horses get turned out 24/7 because they have adequate shelters. If you don't have shelter from the sun in your paddocks or fields, you may want to consider bringing your horses in during the hottest hours, and turning out at night. Some horses are light sensitive, and sunburns can become a big issue on horses that have white points on their faces.
Horses do much better in the cold, than the heat, so be sure to check for signs of dehydration, and normal respiration. Access to water outdoors is always imperative.
We obviously want to keep riding our ponies in the summer months, so doing so safely and effectively is our number one priority.
If possible, riding your horse in the early morning, or later evening hours when the temperature has cooled can be easier on you and your horses body. Horses are much more prone to heat stress and overheating than us humans.
Shorten your rides during hot days. Make sure to always check your horses breathing. Is it laboured? Is he heaving?
Take your time warming up and especially cooling down. if you have access to a covered arena or shaded area, use it especially when finishing up your ride. We are always taught to give our horses plenty of time on a loose rein at the walk, and this is especially important during the summer.
Ensuring your horse has a proper cool down can keep him happy and healthy during hot summer rides.
Summer riding doesn't have to get put on hold, so long as you are aware of what you and your horse are facing. Looking for signs of dehydration is key, adequate drinking water, and not over exerting either one of you.
Enjoy your summer!
Got any great summer tips? Comment below! We love to hear from you