Fashion & Style Editor Sophie Tunnah shares her top tips and product ideas for keeping you and your horse cool this summer.
No doubt, as soon as I’ve finished typing our luck will change…but over the last few weeks, we’ve been able to enjoy a good run of some beautiful and warm weather. While this means pulling on leather, knee-high boots, a thick hat, gloves and trousers to make us horse riders feel the heat that little bit more, there’s a few ways to help us cool down too… and even some for our four legged friends too!
Well, let’s start with us first…
Invest in a pair of summer jodhpurs or breeches, especially competition ones. Not all competitions will allow you to ride without a jacket, so help yourself keep cool with a breathable pair just for use in the summer.
Mark Todd have a range of Coolmax breeches, helping to wick away moisture. They also have an ankle sock (a must for my competition breeches!), silicone knee patches, as well as belt loops so you finish them with that super styling belt too! They also won’t break the bank at just under £90.
These fab competition breeches featured in Horse & Hound’s Top 22 Summer Breeches guide last year – while not all may still be available, it’s worth checking out to know what to look for to help keep you cool!
So, that’s your bottom half sorted, but what about the top half?
Well, my solution is head to Pikeur or Ariat for a light weight polo shirt. Take a look at the Ariat tek jersey polos – giving a sporty look, but also featuring moisture movement technology, as well as breathable mesh throughout the back and within the side panels within their Cambria top.
If you don’t want to break the bank, try Lazy Jacks. I’ve had three or four polos from this brand & they’ve lasted for at least 4-5 years, washing well, and don’t make you too hot in the summer. Their shape and style also means you can fit a baselayer underneath for cooler days or during the winter (but let’s forget winter at the moment!!)
Now, we’re as cool as we can be to head out and ride. But what else can we do?
Very simply – ride in the coolest parts of the day. So if you’re a morning person, get up that extra bit earlier to enjoy a ride out in the morning sunshine to start your day. Or if you prefer to wind down after a busy day, enjoy an evening ride in the arena or out on a hack.
If you are schooling in an arena and are lucky enough to have any shade, try to stick to it to keep you and your horse super cool while working. The same goes for hacking out – try to pick routes that avoid being in the direct sunshine all of the time and that allow you some shady breaks along the way!
One of the worst parts of riding in the hot weather is that awful wet and sticky saddle pad! Well, LeMieux launched a great saddle pad last summer to help with this. I bought one, and would STRONGLY recommend it for everyone!
Now I know most of you are super keen on matchy-matchy, which when this pad only comes in dark colours (& white), isn’t going to instantly appeal… But stay with me for a sec!
Firstly, I opted for a half square to help with cooling, but the pad, although slightly thicker than the standard ProSport range, is much more light weight and uses foam and a breathable mesh to aid temperature control by forcing hot air through the memory foam. The pad has the usual bamboo soft lining, and performs no matter what the weather.
I instantly found that this pad was far drier when untacking, and even when it is damp, it dries much faster than the ProSport range of pads (which is also pretty quick!). It’s a great pad to have for competition too as it means you can dry it in between classes or times!
Take a look at the ProSport 3D Mesh Air Close Contact Half Square Pad for yourself!
Not really a summer cooler but they certainly get you in a hot rage when they won’t go away or leave nasty lumps all over your neddy – flies!
Last summer I bought NAF fly tags to hook onto my bridle when out hacking. I actually have to be really careful with fly sprays on my own horse as sometimes it really irritates him – not a skin irritation, but almost as though it tingles! Not something you want as you’re riding…
I was sceptical about the tags, but having ridden with them last year and now some of this year, I can say that I believe them to work far more effectively than fly spray – they certainly have a citronella scent as you’re riding along!!
They only cost about £7-10 for two so give them a go at least (& they last ages – I keep mine fresh in the packet after every ride!)
On a hot summer night, after you’ve exercised your horse and need to wash him off before putting him back in the field, try a citronella wash too to help prevent those evening flies from bothering them! I first used Horse Health’s Citronella Slosh, which I found to be effective and wasn’t too overpowering when I used it.
A 1 litre bottle costs £15, but there is a cheaper alternative (NAF Citronella Wash – £7) that I have given a go, but would say you almost need twice as much in your water…
And, finally, for our other four-legged friends, take a look at an Easi Dri matt or coat. Both of these products clever take the cold water and slowly release the moisture to cool your dog for hours!
If you haven’t seen them before, but take your dog to events, competitions or just for a picnic on a hot day, and are always seeking out the shade, take a look at Easidri’s Cooling product range!
Don’t forget, when you’re sat in the sun, having fun and enjoying an ice lolly, why not make some for your horse or pony too! Haynet recently featured Little Alf’s creator, Hannah Russell, and how she goes about making them. They really could not be more simple – take a look at the recipe!!
Sophie’s blog can be found at www.teamtunnaheventing.co.uk