Hot and muggy weather riders

I always thought the wide brim helmets looked stupid (sorry), but I tried one today (a retrofit) and it definitely helped more than I expected. Color me an embarrassed northerner.

So what other hot and humid riding tips do you have? I don’t ask much of my horse in this weather but I do want to at least ride a little. Sun shirts? Ice tights? Best footwear?

Things I’m not thinking of?

When I lived in Florida, ice neck wraps were a lifesaver. Like these:

The ones that have actual ice packs in them.

The ones that you soak in cold water then wrap around your neck work fine in desert and other low humidity environments but they work on the principle of evaporative cooling and are pretty useless if the humidity is high.

I could get 20-30 minutes of cooling per ice strip.

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this what our horses suggested

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I have found the material of the clothing I wear makes a huge difference. Tech fabrics really do a much better job than cotton, etc. A lightweight, vented helmet helps a lot, too. I always ride in low hikers and half chaps (using caged stirrups), but do change to mesh half chaps when it’s warm.

Find a way to carry water on the saddle with you, or have a cold water bottle sitting on a fencepost if you ride in an arena. Drink often. By the time you are thirsty, you are already dehydrated. Depending on how long you are out and how badly you are sweating, you may need to replenish your electrolytes, too.

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Ahhh really good to know - I almost bought some of those cold water ones but yes, the humidity here gets super ridiculous.

One of the boarder’s horses loves to play in the trough…I think this is what he’s going for!

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Great thoughts! I wonder if I can rig up something to easily sit on the fence where other horses won’t bother it for arena days. Or wear one of those hydration packs! :smile:

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actually we give the horses the hot part of the summer off, we have been doing that doing that for decades…they never forget their jobs picking back up where they once were

In Kentucky we started very early in the AM and were finished usually by 7AM

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I grew up on the gulf coast and my trainer at the time would hose us and our horses off several times during our lessons. Not soaked through but just enough to help cool us off since it was so humid and our sweat wasn’t evaporating.
I agree about the tech fabrics, I have several long sleeve quarter zips I got on sale from REI that I wear. Keeps the sun off me while keeping me slightly less damp with sweat lol
Other things: getting my tall boots and helmet off ASAP after getting off. Riding before 10am or after 7pm (sunset rides in the summer are my fav!). For staying hydrated, I always bring two 32oz hydroflasks filled with ice water to the barn. And spraying the back of your neck with cold hose water feels amazing after taking your helmet off!

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I second the ice packs. I have a neck wrap, a vest and bra inserts. The bra inserts are the best! I put two on each side. I actually like to use the neck wrap around my waist. I find that wherever the ice pack is, it needs to be held close to my body. The vest and the neck wrap had too much gapping. While searching for cooling products, I found that people with MS have trouble cooling down so searching for products for people with MS yielded a lot of results. I orderdered from: https://www.polarproducts.com/polarshop/pc/home.asp

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Short and sweet. Or early/late.

That’s how I do it. lol

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I recently started using a neck fan (sorry no URL, google neck fans). I did NOT get the one with the open fan blades, the one I got has the fan blades enclosed.

For a while I did not think the neck fan was helping much, but on Sunday I forgot my neck fan when I rode. In spite of my ice vest, technical fabric riding clothes (including socks), and ventilated half-chaps I got heat sick (I have MS, heat sick means I lose 1/3 to 1/2 of my physical and mental abilities.)

Another thing I use is Honeysuckle flower tincture (Lonicera japonica). I started using too much (dropper full) and it affected my bowel movements weirdly. I did not use it on Sunday and my mental abilities were SO MUCH WORSE that I decided I would go back to it, but now I just do three drops in a bottle of water, and I am hoping I can build it up slowly. It did help me today when I had my lesson with just three drops in my water.

When I started using the Honeysuckle flower tincture years ago I noticed that it seemed to thin my sweat so it evaporated more easily and quicker. It is not in the normal literature, I learned about it searching through a Traditional Chinese Medicine Materia Medica. I read the description, realized that it may well help me when I got sick from the heat, and it really helps me stand the heat. Just start off slow to let your system adapt to it.

I had my lesson today. I was hot, I was miserable, I could not do anything vigorous at all (just walking and 2-point at the walk), but I did not get heat sick, just hot and sweaty. The neck fan and Honeysuckle tincture help with the brutal Southern summer heat and humidity along with the technical fabric summer clothes. I was so glad not to get heat sick again!

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I’ll check out the neck fan too! Thank you Jackie! I don’t have MS (that I know of) but I do get extremely heat sick and then my brain stops functioning. I’ve always said it was just solidly northern genes, but maybe there’s something actually going on - I’ve never been heat tolerant and it just seems to get worse as I age. My thyroid is low, my body temperature is low, and I have bradycardia, so you’d think I’d run cold, but my theory is that also means that my body doesn’t circulate well, keeping me hotter. I sweat like there’s no tomorrow.

These are all great suggestions guys! I really do appreciate it. I used to live where 90 degree days were like a week-long and you just skipped the riding, and now it’s months of this heat and humidity. Yuck!

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I tie a white cotton scarf around my black helmet. Looks ridiculous and I get a lot of flak for it, as in “Why are you riding in a do-rag?”. However, the ring is not shaded and I find that when I ride in direct sun I could fry an egg on top of my helmet by the end of the ride. The difference is noticeable.

Here is a fun fact: I own a pinto (see avatar). When he is in the sun, his brown parts (which absorb heat) are noticeably warmer that his white parts (which reflect heat). You can actually feel the difference when you touch his coat. I can’t figure out any use for this fact, but find it interesting.

I also wear tech fabric tops that I buy in hiking stores–cheap compared to tack shop prices. (Isn’t everything cheap compared to tack shop prices?

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I just bought some pole-bending style poles to use as markers for the ring for exercises. For horses, the price tag was $400. I got smart and looked up similar poles for soccer exercises - $98. You can guess which ones I bought.

Great ideas on the cotton scarf & tech fabric - thank you!

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I don’t worry about my comfort but I do about my horse’s. I ride early or they get some time off if it is just too hot/ humid. The last 2 days have been a good example. Horses were sweating out in the pasture at 9:30am.
If it is that hot , riding just isn’t worth it for either of us that day.

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Unfortunately that’s been the last month at least - temps over 90 with humidity. I was hoping it was going to get better, but I’m fairly sure that’s just summers here.

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Stay strong. It will cool off eventually.

Now is a good time to practice riding bareback. Hose yourself and your horse off pre and post ride.

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Get one or two floor fans and set them up facing your grooming area. This was vital to enjoying my horse time in the summers. It helps keep you cool as you are getting ready and immediately after you finish. Bonus, the horses learn to enjoy them too, mine will stick his face right in front of one as I am untacking.

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when i haul into my lesson i have a cooler with icepacks inside. Before leaving, i fill a ziplock with about 1/3 beetpulp w/molasses and then add a lot of cold water from the well and zip it up and back in the cooler. When we get back to the trailer i give my horse a squixhy treat. (I get a Pellegrino).

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