Safe Horseback Riding in Extreme Heat

Riding in extreme heat can be at best uncomfortable, and at worst cause serious injury to you and your horse.? Before heading out on the trail on a hot summer day, consider the following:

  1. Is your horse well conditioned?? The heat will add increased stress to your horse?s body, so it is important not to ask more of him than he can handle.? Keep exercise at a lower level on extremely warm or humid days.
  2. Try riding in the early morning hours or later in the evening to avoid the hottest part of the day.
  3. Wherever possible, take trails that provide you and your horse with protection from the sun.
  4. Wear lightweight and light coloured clothing for optimum cooling.? Sunglasses will also make your ride more comfortable.
  5. Sunscreen!? Don?t leave home without it – and be sure to cover all exposed parts, including ears, back of the neck, and your hands.? If your horse has light skin and pink patches that are prone to sunburn, be sure to protect him as well.? Human products such as zinc oxide are safe for horses or, if you prefer, horse-specific sunscreen can be found at your local tack store.
  6. If insects are a problem in your area, use a good bug repellent before heading out on the trail.? You might want to invest in a product for your own use as well.
  7. Bring lots of water and be sure to stay hydrated.
  8. Unless necessary, don?t trailer your horse in extreme heat.? If you are trailering in temperatures above 90 degrees Fahrenheit, be sure to stop often and provide your horse with lots of water.? Try to travel in the early morning hours or in the evening whenever possible.

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