It's Getting Hot Out Here! Riding Horses in the Heat 

How to Stay Safe During Summer Rides

As a horse owner, one of my favorite times to ride is summer.  I can soak up all the sun my heart desires, relieve stress, and get a great workout.  But sometimes the heat isn’t a good thing.  Here in California, lots of riders have been faced with heatwaves and scorching temperatures. 

It begs the question—how hot is too hot to ride?

If you choose to ride on a hot, humid day, you should be well versed in the signs of heat exhaustion in both your horse and yourself.  As per Horse Nation, your horse’s temperature rises to dangerous levels after only 17 minutes of exercise in extreme heat.  Watch out for weakness, an elevated pulse, or stumbling in your horse.  As for you, if you feel lightheaded or nauseous, your skin gets cool to the touch, or your heartbeat is rapid, these are signs that you might be in danger. 

However, beyond recognizing the symptoms, you can prevent them.  Avoid riding in the hottest parts of the day (typically any time from 10a.m. to 4 p.m.).  And make sure your horse gets plenty of water—especially if you notice any heavy, rapid breathing.  It’s also fine to douse your horse in cold water to keep the body temperature down. 

And on a final note, protect your skin.  

Though horse riding doesn’t lead to as much sun exposure as a day at the beach, you’re still at risk.  So, be sure to protect the exposed parts of your body (i.e. face, hands, etc.) with a sunscreen or sunblock of at least SPF 30. 

Riding in the summer is fun for us, but it’s important to take care so we don’t harm ourselves or our horses. 

By Diana Stole, DVM Loomis Equine Vet Hospital