Tips to Beat the Heat July 29 2014, 0 Comments
For most of us, riding in the summer can be a challenge with extreme heat, humidity, and other weather issues (thunderstorms anyone?). So we've put together safe summer riding tips to keep you and your horse safe in the hotter weather. And if you're in the souther hemisphere, hang on to this for December, when it's summer down under!
- Stay hydrated! For you, there's water, sports drinks, and plenty of options to make sure you're drinking plenty of fluids (no, a cold beer on a hot day doesn't count lol). Staying hydrated allows your body to sweat and cool off, and just like you, your horse needs to drink more in the warmer weather as well. We love Horse Quencher to encourage horses to drink because it doesn't contain electrolytes and encourages the horse to drink. Add electrolytes to replenish salt and minerals lost during exercise and heavy sweating and you've got a winning combination.
- Don't overdo the electrolytes for you or your horse! Sports drinks (for you) and electrolytes (for your horse) often contain a lo ot salts and sugars, and while you need to replace what you use in sweating, too much can be a bad thing. Electrolyte poisoning is a real thing, and even more dangerous for your horse than it is for you. Read more in this great article about electrolyte for your horse and this one about electrolytes for you.
- Ride in the early morning or later in the evening so you're reducing the risk of overheating in the peak hours of the day. I use the 7/7 rule. Ride at 7am or 7pm and you're usually safe.
- Mind the mercury! Some days it's just too hot to ride, and it's important that because humidity causes you and your horse to sweat more, it's a factor in determining when you can deal with the heat, and when you should call it a day. One formula is to add the temperature and relative humidity together and if it's 120 or under you can ride. If the value is between 120 - 150 you can ride but be mindful of how hot your horse gets, and make sure they drink well throughout the day. If the value is between 150 - 180, make it a light/short ride. And if the value is over 180, call it a day. So an 80 degree day with 80% humidity calls for a light ride with a total value of 160. There's more great advice on summer riding here: http://tackandtalk.wordpress.com/2011/07/08/managing-your-horse-in-hot-weather/
- Hosing off helps! After a ride, or even just on hot days when it's too hot to ride, many horses appreciate being hosed off. Just remember to use the sweat scraper to remove excess water, otherwise the water will actually heat up from the horse's body heat and can potentially make them even hotter!
Most importantly, have fun and stay safe, and when all else fails, go jump in a pool! ;)