6 Tips for Staying Cool even on the Sweatiest Days!
I never understood how wearing a longsleeve shirt could keep you cool until I started wearing UPF protective shirts for every ride. I find it no warmer than riding in cotton polos, and my skin is well protected even as I sweat away sunscreen. As a bonus, it keeps the bugs off on long hacks! My favourite brands for riding sunshirts are Ariat, Bette and Court and Coolblast Icefil. However, I recently found sunshirts at MEC for $29-$35 CAD, and you can’t beat the price or the cool patterns!
2. Sunrise and Sunset
Riding first thing in the morning or late in the evening is always best to avoid the heat. Less direct sun and cooler temperatures make for easier and more enjoyable rides for you and your horse!
Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate! This is important for you and your horse. I always have a water bottle in the ring with me, and take a few sips during walk breaks. Making sure to be well hydrated before a ride also helps you stay cool and avoid heat exhaustion. Always make sure your horse has unlimited access to a clean source of water – both in their stalls and outside. Phee always has a few sips of water from the hose after a ride – she loves grabbing the hose away from me for a drink!
Shade is a godsend on hot horse show days, but it’s important when riding at home too! On really hot days I try to ride on the lawns out front where there are lots of trees, or we hack through the forest. I also add an Equivisor to my helmet for every ride, and wear a Scala visor when outside watching friends ride or hand grazing Phee. Shade isn’t just important to us, but also our ponies! Hand graze after baths in the shade of trees or buildings, and consider getting a UV protective flysheet for darker colour horses. Phee has the Amigo Flysheet and Cashel Crusader Fly Mask, which keeps her clean, cool and fly free!
When you sweat, your body loses salt and other minerals. This can easily be replaced with electrolytes – for both you and your horse! Gatorade is an easy choice for humans; however, there is a lot of sugar, and often added dyes. My new favourite electrolyte beverage is Happy Water – it has sodium, potassium and many other important minerals that are naturally occurring in the water. Don’t forget salt and electrolytes for your horse too! Ensure horses have access to a salt lick, or add salt to their grain. On very hot days when your horse is working a lot, consider adding an electrolyte powder to their water. I’ve always used Finish Line Apple Eh! and my horses seem to enjoy it!
Jumping in a cool lake on a hot day is always refreshing – but not many barns are on lakes! A cool hose-down after a ride helps your horse cool off, and rinses the sweat and dust away. On really hot days, I sometimes stick my head under the hose – but when bathing a horse, you always seem to get just as wet, so it’s a great cool down for you and your horse.