Summer is quickly creeping upon us. Unfortunately as equestrians, we have to wear breeches and boots in 90° heat. Let’s face it. It’s m-i-s-e-r-a-b-l-e. Riding and doing barn chores in the heat can be a bit unfortunate.
Now, you’re probably thinking, let’s get to the post! That’s why I came here! Okay, okay. I get it. On with the post!
Stay hydrated! Take care of yourself in the heat. Pack plenty of water for yourself and keep it in the fridge, if available. Avoid drinking too much caffeine and pop, because it’s dehydrating. I pack a Yeti Cup of water and/or a bottle of water just about every week.
Dress appropriately for the barn. Avoid wearing dark colors at all costs. They make you hotter and it makes your whole day annoying. If you aren’t going to ride, consider wearing shorts or capris. Wear loose fitting, light colored clothes. White shirts (and sometimes pants) will become see-through if it becomes wet. Wear a light colored shirt and thin breeches for riding.
Store sunscreen in the fridge. Personally, I haven’t tried this yet. You want to keep sunscreen with you anyway, but if there is a fridge available, stick your sunscreen in the fridge before apply it to your skin.
Put peppermint essential oils in your sunscreen. Again, I haven’t tried this personally, but peppermint is a cooling oil. It’ll cool down your skin and the sunscreen will protect it from the sun’s harmful rays. Some oils you can put in your water as well, just check with a health specialist before doing so.
Bring veggies and fruits for a snack. Fruits and veggies are yummy for snacks— especially at the barn! Plus, you can share carrots with you favorite pony while you’re at it. Eating this foods will help keep you cool instead of foods high in protein.
Braid or wear your hair in a ponytail. If you have long hair, I suggest wearing your hair in braids or a ponytail. It’ll help keep you nice and cool, and it’ll help tame your helmet hair.
Bring a cooler. If a freezer isn’t available, and if at all possible, bring a small cooler with you. Pack it full of ice-filled Ziploc bags so you can either put it in your drink or use it as ice packs to keep cool.
Pack a fan. If you can, pack a small fan. It doesn’t matter if it’s battery powered or electric, just as long as you have a place to put it. For Neville, I use a Ryobi 18V battery powered fan. We use it just about every day. With Avery, we use a regular, electric box fan.
When you’re out in the heat, be sure you know the signs and symptoms of heat stroke.
- High body temperature. If you’re temperature is above 104° F (or 40° C) you may have heatstroke.
- Rapid breathing. Your breathing rate might become very fast and very shallow if you have heatstroke.
- Headache. You might have a headache if you have heatstroke.
- Vomiting and nausea. If you have heatstroke, you might experience a sense of nausea or vomiting.
- Abundant amounts of sweating. You may start sweating large amounts if you experience heat stroke.
- Tired feeling. Heatstroke can make you tired.
- Dizziness. You might feel light-headed or dizzy.
- Muscle and/or abdominal cramps. You could get cramps in your muscles or abdomen.
- Dark-colored urine. If your urine is dark, this is a sign of dehydration. This could also be a sign of heatstroke.
If you think you have heatstroke or if another person has it, seek medical help immediately. 911 is literally the easiest number to dial on your cell phone. If you don’t think you can make it to the hospital quick enough, call 911.