During the summer, it’s important to keep you and your horse as cool and comfortable as possible. Your equipment needs will change with the warmer weather. Below are some tips for keeping you and your horse at ease all summer long:
1. A Summer Riding Wardrobe
There’s no reason to roast as you’re riding the trail. Summertime is the season to ditch the dark, heavy fabrics and lighten up with thinner materials and brighter hues. Performance cooling riding shirts will wick moisture away from the skin so you stay cool and dry, even under the summer sun. Pair the performance top with brightly-colored stretch breeches. Keep your breeches neutral while riding around the ring, then change into a more sprightly tone to socialize around the grounds. Add another punch with your boot socks. Mix and match colors or wear a lighter, brighter pattern this season.
2. Fly Masks and Fly Sheets
Summer brings with it its fair share of flying insects. Horses can become anxious and irritable when flies are buzzing around their heads. They may pace, snort and toss their manes. A fly mask — like this one from Cashel — provides comfortable protection from flying insects. It covers the face, protecting the horse’s sensitive areas, while still allowing the horse to see, breathe and stay cool.
Fly sheets protect horses from pests as well as the sun. Breathable fabric allows for steady air flow while providing protection from ultraviolet rays that can dull a horse’s coat. Fly sheets protect against large flies and bees as well as smaller biting insects. A contoured, adjustable fit will be most comfortable and convenient for your horse this summer.
3. Fly Spray and Traps
If your horse can’t stand its fly mask, use a fly repellant around the eyes. Keep pastures clean of manure, and compost your manure if possible. This kills the fly larvae. Spray the perimeter of the barn with fly spray and use fly bait strips inside to prevent flies from getting to your horse.
4. Summer Grooming Tools and Products
Horses need extra care to stay healthy in the warmer weather. Resist the urge to cut the mane and tail short when the weather turns hot. The long hair helps your horse swat away flies. When it comes to grooming your horse’s mane, a brush may be too rough and can lead to breakage and hair loss. Rinse dirt out of the mane, then apply a detangling product — one great option is Cowboy Magic Detangler — using your fingers to detangle the hair. Try to avoid products that list alcohol as an ingredient as alcohol can lead to a dry, frizzy mane.
A sweaty horse can attract flies. Rinse off your horse in the barn a few times a week, and use shampoo every other week or so. A grooming product with a UV barrier can help protect against sunburn, especially on areas with white fur.
5. Summer Hoof Care
Hooves tend to crack more during the summer, posing a potentially harmful threat to your horse. When it rains, the hooves swell, trapping dirt and bacteria in the cracks. Prevent this from happening by using a sealant — we recommend Horseshower’s Secret Hoof Sealant — on the outside of your horse’s hooves weekly.
Did we miss any essentials? Let us know in the comments below!