Do you dread riding in the brutal summer months? Read this guide to learn about essential summer riding gear for you and your horse.
With the average summer temperatures on mainland USA as high as 81 °F, riding in the summer is exhausting at times.
It's tempting to cower in the shade with a long, cool drink instead, but that isn't an option when you've got horses that need exercise.
One way to get around this is by setting out early in the morning or late afternoon. Yet, if you've got no option, there are ways to defeat the heat while you're horseback riding.
Check out the best summer riding gear for you as well as some tips to keep your horse as comfortable as can be during the warmer months.
Summer Riding Gear from Head to Toe
When searching for summer horseback riding gear, there are a few things to bear in mind. Always look for terms like 'lightweight', 'moisture-wicking, and 'ventilation.'
These items won't weigh you down with hot, heavy layers, allow sweat to evaporate more easily, and encourage a free flow of cooling air.
Riding Helmets for Summer
Safety is the most important criterion for any riding helmet.
All riding helmets must comply with the latest international safety standards. i.e. ASTM F1163:2015, VG1 01.040 2014-12 or PAS015:2011.
For summer horseback riding look for ventilation windows, a mesh liner to keep the interior cool, and a visor to keep the sun out of your eyes.
Summer Shirts for Horseback Riding
Although the riding shirt you choose is a matter of preference, if you're going to a show you'll need to wear a shirt that complies with the rules or norms for the discipline.
If you're wearing a jacket, you could opt for a sleeveless or short-sleeved collared shirt to help keep you extra cool. For everyday riding, look for shirts with built-in SPF protection and moisture-wicking fabric.
Avoid tight-fitting, restrictive clothing when riding, it can cramp your style, and you'll feel hot and stuffy after a while.
Consider the following options:
If you're prone to sunburn, some of these brands offer long-sleeved versions for summer riding.
Riding Pants for the Summertime
Unless you're heading to the lake on a bareback ride to swim with your horse, long riding pants are the order of the day, no matter the weather.
Look for pants that feature the usual heat-defeating features like breathability, SPF protection, and moisture-wicking technology.
Depending on your riding discipline, you might need to stick with traditional jodhpurs or breeches for shows.
Cool Boots for Summer Riding
Boots are another important item when it comes to horseback riding gear. Your boots should offer comfort, flexibility, and strength. For safety's sake, they also need at least a one-inch heel.
It's best to stick to paddock boots or ventilated riding shoes when the weather's hot unless you're headed to a show. Shorter boots mean less of your leg's confined inside leather, which can heat up quickly in the sun.
These are some of the best ones:
Resist the temptation to ride in trainers or open-toed shoes. You could end up with your foot stuck in the stirrup if you fall or get your foot stomped on while handling your horse.
Riding Accessories for Summer
Underwear and socks aren't something you really think about much when choosing riding gear. Likewise, these items should feature moisture-wicking and breathable qualities if you want to maximize your hot weather comfort.
It's tempting to go without gloves in summer, but you'll soon realize that sweaty hands and reins aren't a great mix. The best summer riding gloves offer ventilated fabric on the back of the hand and breathable materials on the palm.
The Roeckl Roeck Grip Lite Gloves ticks all these boxes.
Help Your Horse Cope in the Heat
Horses are happiest at temperatures between 40 and 60 °F and can tolerate lows of up to minus 40 with adequate shelter. So, they aren't designed to operate at their best in the heat. On a hot day, all your horse really needs is access to ample clean water and shade. There are a few things you can do to make them feel more comfortable though.
Flies are a nightmare for horses during the summer. These pests congregate on their faces and legs and can bite and irritate your horse all day long.
A good quality fly mask will help keep these pesky insects out of their eyes, ears, and nose. A flysheet and a long-lasting fly repellent take care of the rest.
If your horse has a pink nose, you can prevent sunburn by applying high-factor sunscreen to the light areas of their face. On very hot days, you can put a UV-resistant fly sheet on your horse too.
Managing the Ridden Horse in Summer
Most horses appreciate a cool hose down after a long, sweaty ride. Start by hosing their legs and then progress to their back and neck.
Running water down the large veins on the inside of their legs helps cool them down quickly too.
If you end your ride towards evening, make sure you cool your horse is totally cool and dry before you put them in their stall. A mesh cooler can help speed up the process.
Riding in Style
When you feel cool and comfortable, you're able to relax and enjoy your ride more. This makes it easier for your horse to perform at its best.
We stock all the best winter and summer riding gear as well as a wide range of horse accessories. Browse our online store to find your favorite colors and styles.