Summer Horse Gear
- June 16, 2017
- Jolyn Young
With summer on the horizon, it’s hot. The DJ on the radio station says it’s hot. The thermometer in the front yard says it’s hot. The meteorologist on the evening news says it’s hot.
But even though it’s hot, a horse person has got to ride, right? Don’t let the heat beat your summer riding goals – just remember these eight essential items to help you get through the coming months with ease.
1)Set an alarm clock or the alarm on your phone for a pre-dawn hour. Getting up before first light will allow you to throw hay and eat your own breakfast by first light, so you can be out in the corral with a halter in hand getting ready to ride before the heat. To compensate for lost sleep, take a nap after lunch during the hottest part of the day.
2) Always wear a 100% cotton long-sleeve shirt. Pearl-snap or button-up doesn’t matter, but a natural fiber such as cotton will breathe better than a synthetic material. Thrifty tip: Check out your local thrift store to score a lightweight long-sleeve shirt for about $3.00.
3) Don’t be afraid to wear a straw hat. Many old-school buckaroo types swear by a felt hat and wear it all year long, regardless of how high the temperature climbs. But, heat stroke is a real thing, folks. Straw hats come in a wide variety of styles with minimum or maximum patterns of air ventilation, so shop around and find one that suits your style. Then wear it all day and reduce your risk of overheating and/or contracting skin cancer.
4) Use a garden hose spray nozzle to wash the dirt off your horse’s back before saddling, paying special attention to the loin area. You will be surprised at the vast amount of dirt that runs down his side. Washing away this muck before saddling will prevent the dirt from ending up in your saddle blanket, where it impacts the material and creates hard spots that will sore a horse’s back.
5) You probably use fly spray on your horse’s body, but have you ever tried roll-on fly spray? This stuff is genius! It’s like a stick of deodorant, but with insect repellent. It’s hard to spray fly repellent onto a horse’s face, so the standard procedure is to spray it onto your hand (ew! smelly!) or onto a rag (where is that darn thing? why is it covered in…what is that stuff, anyway?), then rub it onto your horse’s face. Grab a roll-on stick and easily roll vital insect repellent around your horse’s sensitive eyes, nose and lips.
6) When you’re out riding in the heat (or before the heat, since you set your alarm clock for 4:30 a.m.), don’t forget to stay hydrated. Fill an ice chest with bottles of water, Gatorade, juice, whatever cold liquid you crave when working up a sweat. Just stay away from alcohol, as it will dehydrate your body faster than you can say “Beer me.”
7) Stock up on plenty of plastic grain buckets. Why not metal buckets? Some horses are afraid to stick their heads in a metal bucket and eat grain, due to the louder sound and echo created by the metal. Plus, plastic buckets will keep water cooler during the summer months. Always buy more than you think you will need, as it’s handy to keep a few in the barn and a few in the trailer so you’ll always have a water bucket handy. Plus, you have to allow for the kids to swipe one, at least two will be used as semi-permanent dog dishes, and your spouse to permanently borrow one for a mop bucket. (This has never happened to my husband. Oh, wait – yes it has. Oops.)
8) After a long day in the saddle, take a cue from the kids and cool off with a refreshing popsicle. Lowering your internal temperature with an icy treat will help you recover from working up a sweat in the heat. Plus, they’re just plain fun. Bonus tip: Remove your hat, boots and socks to help your body cool down after a ride.
About Jolyn Young
Jolyn Young lives on the O RO Ranch in northern Arizona with husband and their two small kids. To learn more, visit www.jolynyoung.com....