Tips for Riding or Showing Horses in Hot Weather

Tips for Hot Weather Riding

Hot weather seems to be upon us.  How do you tell if it is too hot?  Add the temperature and the humidity.  Let’s say the temperature is 70 degrees and the humidity is 50%, the heat index would be 120.  That would be a fairly safe index.  A heat index between 130 and 150 would still be safe if your horse had access to cool drinking water.  Anything above 150 probably is not safe. 

How can you help your horse to work in warmer weather?  Try to ride in the cooler parts of the day. Make sure your horse is fit and not overweight.  Ride him or her at least 4 times a week at all three gaits to get your horse into shape.  If your horse is mostly stalled you may have to start at a walk.  Have a salt block available. 

At a show, have your own water and keep it cool by keeping it in the shade. If you have an extra cooler use that in the shade.  Some horses may not drink water that is different than what they are use to.  Have your horse ready to show so that long warm ups are not necessary.  Have extra towels you can soak to put on your horses neck and head to help cool them and change them often. Or sponge your horse.   There are synthetic coolers made for horses that really work well.  Look for those on the internet.  Try to keep your horse in the  shade.  Make sure your horse has access to water.  If your horse is stalled and you have access to electricity set up a box fan.  It keeps your horse cooler and keeps the bugs off.

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These are just a few tips to help you and your horse as we enter the hot show season.

Elizabeth Ann Hays  DVM