Depending on where you live, the summer heat is fast approaching or has already arrived.
There are things that we all must do in order to make the best of our summers for ourselves as riders and for our horses.
The heat can exhaust you quickly so it's best to be prepared. As horse people we tend to be more concerned about the horses over ourselves. We'll cool them down with the hose, keep them under the shade, try not to overwork them during our rides, give them longer walking breaks and make sure that they are drinking enough. All of this is important. Horses will push themselves to please their people and that can become dangerous. Keeping them as cool as possible while avoiding cold air drafts is key. But what about us as riders?
We get hot, tired and dehydrated just like our horses. When you're out working all day, sometimes you forget to stop and take a much needed break.
Wearing a hat is a great start. It'll take a little bit of heat off of your head and will shade your eyes so that they aren't straining so much. If you look around, most people will wear a ball cap around the barn. You could also opt for a cowboy hat or something else with a visor.
Make sure to take the time to take breaks in the shade or in the barn. If your stable has a fan, stand close to it for a while to cool off. Sometimes the heat makes it harder to think clearly. Why not use your breaks wisely to plan out what else you have to do?
Proper attire can help during those hot days. Avoid wearing dark clothes. Instead, choose some light coloured, breathable materials. If you won't be riding all day, I'd suggest bringing a pair of shorts along with your summer breeches. You might be amazed at the difference that makes! Also, because sandles are not recommended to wear around horses, you might want to choose a shoe that is lightweight and well ventilated. Again, it's best to have a second pair of shoes along with your leather boots during a hot day.
Sunscreen is also important especially while riding. I'm sure most of us feel like this is a hassle and will probably skip it, but it's better to be safe than sorry. When you're in a sand ring, it can feel quite a bit warmer than outside the ring. It's almost as if you're riding in the desert and I guess in some ways you kind of are. So if the sun is stronger in the ring, that's all the more reason to protect your skin from its rays.
Finally, this is probably the most obvious of them all, drink lots of water. Keep yourself hydrated. Just like you monitor your horse's water intake, monitor yours. Bring a few bottles with you and if you're still thirsty, there is always the hose. It might not be the most glamorous way of quenching your thirst, but if it's safe for the horses, it's safe for you.
So that is it for this week. I hope that we will all enjoy this summer and make the most of it.
Until next time, happy riding!