As some may have noticed the weather seems to get hotter and hotter this summer with each passing day. At least for Crackers and I, that means constant bathing and shorter and shorter rides.What are some things we use to cool down? Check it out!
In this heat, you can expect a lot of sweating, tired muscles, and plenty of greenheads waiting to swarm you and your horse. Here are some things we use at Duncraven to help us through the blisteringly hot summer months:
1) Vetrolin. Vetrolin is a minty-smelling liniment that is used to relieve fatigued muscles and is used the way most people use Icy-Hot or Bengay. In the summer heat, its also a nice way to cool down your horse after a ride outside. Whats great about it, is if you have a horse with bad feet that you can’t get wet often, you can forgo showering him completely before applying it as it is totally fine to be applied first. Even better? You don’t have to rinse it off. Just like Icy-Hot and Bengay, its meant to stay there to continue relieving muscles after application.
2) Gatorade. For the rider at least, drinking plenty of water before riding in the heat is a crucial when the heat rolls in! Drinking Gatorade or other sports drinks with electrolytes and carbohydrates helps especially if you lose your appetite in the heat. As a rider, I hear from many people I ride with that they absolutely cannot eat before riding in a show ring. In this heat, wearing the traditional hunt coat and choker collar demands at least some carbs before trying to go around a course in 90 degree weather. So instead of only half-eating “traditional horse show food” like fries or a burger, try stomaching a granola bar and a Gatorade. You can also give sips of this to your horse, as unlike caffeinated drinks, nothing in this sports drink are banned substances. Don’t worry so much about counting calories when its this hot outside, you should be more worried about counting strides!
3) Ear bonnets. When you and your horse start to work up a sweat, suddenly all nasty biting flies in the entire universe seem to descend on you and you horse. In all honesty, most fly sprays won’t do a thing to prevent this. If you have a horse that will literally swing out and each and every bug individually and nearly kill you in the process, you can at least keep the pests out of his ears with an ear bonnet. Dousing the bonnet in a generous amount of fly spray will work decently, or if you have any garlic, try feeding that to your horse, as it will make him sweat a non-bug friendly garlic odor. If you get really irritated, you can try sticking dryer sheets under your saddle pad or rubbing garlic paste on areas that your horse is most sensitive to bugs….but if all else fails, just gallop through the swarm and seek shelter in an indoor ring or shaded stall.