AT eGlove, we’re LOVING this beautiful weather! We’ve been busy being outdoors A LOT...
We've been walking in the early mornings, heading to the seaside for a paddle, feeling the breeze in our hair as we zip out on our bikes and pottering in the garden (with a Pimms in hand). Nikki’s been making the most of the shadier running routes and we’ve not worn our eGloves for a good while. This said, we were chatting to a horse-mad friend (over lunch in a pub garden) the other day and the subject of gloves came up (as it often does). We discussed the pros and cons of horse-riding in a heatwave and we’ve saved up some of her handy tips and ideas for you here.
Dressing yourself (and your horse) for the weather
When out and about in the saddle, wearing light coloured riding clothes and plenty of sun lotion is a no-brainer. Whilst you can’t really wear shorts to ride if you want to avoid chafing and bruises, light coloured jodhpurs can make a really big difference. You could also opt for a lighter coloured hat cover and a light saddle pad for your horse.
Don’t forget the sunscreen
Your shoulders, and elbows are likely candidates for sunburn but did you know that horses can suffer from sunburn too? Pink noses, scars and hairless patches might need a coating of sunblock before heading outside on a hot sunny day. It’s good to clip your horse in hot weather, but not too closely as it can mean less protection from the sun for your horse. A fly sheet can help protect white or grey horses from sunburn too.
Get eGloved up
Many people would think that wearing riding gloves in this weather is madness - but in fact, gloves specially for riding can be just as useful in the summer months as they are in the depths of winter, especially if you’re jumping. Leather riding gloves will stop sweaty palms sliding about on the reins and mean you can protect your hands from blisters which are more likely to occur when hands are hot and puffy.
Well fitting leather riding gloves (like eGlove Equest Leather Grip Pro) should fit like a second skin and still give you good grip and feel on the reins. Leather riding gloves are best because they’re breathable and stretchy and eGlove* equestrian gloves incorporate a pad of technical fabric which makes grip on the reins even more secure (not to mention the fact that you can use your mobile phone whilst wearing them to call ahead and line up a bucket of water for your horse and and a cool drink for yourself once you get back to the stables).
Wearing leather gloves for leading your horse in the heat is sensible too as it will reduce the likelihood of the lead rope slipping and pulling through your hand if the horse pulls away. Rope burns can be really sore - especially in hot, sweaty weather.
Consider the amount of activity you're doing
To keep horses cool in a heatwave, reducing the length and intensity of rides is an obvious start - but also choosing woodland or shady rides makes sense. Horses can be turned out overnight or in the early morning and evening instead of the middle of the day too.
Make your horse’s home as heat proof as possible
Fans are a popular barn addition during a heatwave - as long as your horse can’t nibble the cords or wiring and some stables are lucky enough to have built-in water misters which the horses love.
We all need water
Like us, horses need plenty of fresh, cold water to drink every day - and even more so in a hot spell. When it’s sweaty weather - we can lose a lot of essential salts if we’re running or exercising and it’s the same for horses. Providing a salt lick or electrolyte laced water bucket for your horse can ensure optimum balance is maintained. It’s a good idea to take a refillable cold water flask when you’re out riding so you don’t get thirsty too.
After a ride, horses should be hosed or sponged off and sweat scraped to cool them down and then walk or grazed until dry. Most horses love a cool bath to refresh them after exercise (just like we do!)
So for seasoned riders, fair-weather equestrian enthusiasts or anyone off to the Polo, gymkhana or eventing this summer, there are a few thoughts on warm weather riding. And whether you’re planning on spending the heatwave on a horse or not, we say stay hydrated, stay sunblocked and make the most of it whilst it lasts!