It seems this year that the rest of the country has gotten a taste of Texas heat, with record highs in many states. While earlier this year, in Texas, we had records lows and actual snow on the ground! But back to the point! I have been riding for nearly twenty years in Texas, and we always ride all through the summer. We are more likely to skip riding when it is cold down here. However, we do so in a smart way so as not to damage our horses’ or our own health! Physical activity in hot temperatures can be dangerous, but there are ways to get outside safely.
Here are my tips for riding in hot summer weather:
- Avoid the heat of the day. I have always ridden in the morning during the summer. Some people will also ride late in the evening here too. Basically, it is best to avoid the middle of the day and early afternoon when temperatures are hottest!
- Take breaks. Walk breaks are essential throughout rides for my horse and I to catch our breath. You will see many riders down here taking frequent walk breaks, or going to stand in the shade, during their rides. Summer rides typically take us longer than winter rides!
- Long cool downs. We walk for a while when we are done, then our horses get rinsed or bathed, and then even stand under a fan for a while.
- Hydrate. Horses and riders must stay hydrated! Electrolytes and salt are often needed too!
Keep in mind too that Texas horses and riders are pretty used to the heat. Some have a harder time than others, but our summers are always brutal, and we know what to expect and how to handle it. Being mindful of the heat, and managing our horses well is super important!