It can be difficult to know what to use on your horse throughout the summer months. Especially in the UK – warm weather is so fleeting, we’re never really sure how to react! Other than saying ‘It’s too hot’ to everyone we see, there are a few things we can do to help our horses (and ourselves!) cope in the warmer weather.
Tip one: the first thing to do on a warm day? Check the weather! It’s always cooler in the early morning or late evening, so save riding until that time. Yes, it may mean an even earlier than usual alarm, but it’s worth it for a comfortable ride. BBC weather or Met Office weather provide hour-by-hour weather forecasts to help you plan your ride.
Tip two: Utilise the shade! If you have access to woods, head there for a hack instead of open fields. The same goes for the stable; if your stable is cooler than the field, you may want to consider keeping your horse in during the hotter parts of the day.
Tip three: Be mindful of the ground! When there’s a lot of sun and not much rainfall (we’re looking at you, UK!) the ground can become very hard. This is especially true on well walked tracks, where the ground becomes compacted too. Compacted ground can not absorb water as easily, so even after a period of rainfall, your favourite track may still be rock hard. Keep your trot work steady and try to limit trotting to uphill, or on softer ground.
Tip four: Water! Make sure your horse’s waters are clean and inviting to encourage your horse to drink. You may want to add some salt to their feed after exercise on warm days to replace the electrolytes lost when sweating, and to encourage them to drink.
Water is also a helpful tool for cooling off; wetting your horse down on a warm day is a proven, effective method to reduce the body temperature and is usually invited by most horses! Any excess water will evaporate. If you can, it may be beneficial to do this multiple times a day.
Tip five: Consider your gear. You may replace a long sleeved top with a t-shirt on warmer days. For your horse, consider changing from a saddlepad to a numnah (a saddlepad that follows the curves of the saddle). By reducing the amount of coverage under the saddle, you’re allowing more heat to escape, therefore keeping your horse cooler. The PolyPads range of numnahs can be viewed by clicking here.
Enjoy the summer with your horses and keep them comfortable with our helpful tips and tricks!