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We are currently on a slight trail riding hiatus with Ms. Renfri’s arrival and well, life. As the weather here starts to get hotter, riding times become limited quickly. Trust me, we did not have heat like this in Vermont! In addition, summer was the most pleasant time to ride when you live in the Eastcoast. With the heat in Arizona, we have had to acclimate to a different type of riding in the summer. Here are some of the top things we have learned about safe riding in the heat.
During the Arizona summer, you can ride VERY early in the morning or VERY late at night. Needless to say, you need a well-lit space to ride if you are trying to fit in a quick ride late at night. So, we opt to trail ride super early in the morning.
In Arizona, we do not have a lot of humidity, but if you live in an area humidity levels need to be considered with the outside temperature. As a general rule, if you add the temperature and the humidity, the combined total should not exceed 140. So if it is 90 degrees and 40 percent humidity, the combined total is 130. In theory, you are fine to ride.
Please keep in mind your horse, their fitness level, and your fitness level before making riding plans in the heat. If you have an elderly horse or an unfit horse, you need to take extra precautions with the heat. Go slow and be cautious – better safe than sorry.
Know and watch for signs that your horse might be overly hot or in distress. If you notice your horse is looking hot, dismount and let them rest. Offer as much water as they will drink. The key to preventing overheating is being aware. Watch for nostril flares and large expansive breaths. These are generally early signs.
After your ride, make sure to completely cool your horse down. Hand walking works very well to speed up the cooldown process. You can also use a lightweight cooler and stay in the shade. Once your horse has been cooled down, you can hose them down (which you will probably both enjoy when you’re hot!).
Always make sure your horse has access to salt. Whether you place this in the field or in their stall, they need free access at all times. The more they sweat, the more they will need to replenish minerals. Electrolytes can also be beneficial. If you do want to give your horse electrolytes, follow the directions on the package (they are all different) and offer another bucket with fresh water.
I’ve been around horses my entire life, but my Friesian journey started just over 20 years ago. Our horses have always been a part of our family. They have traveled with us as we relocated from Vermont to New York to Iowa and finally, to Arizona. I can’t wait to share our story with you!
May 3, 2021
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