The heat index topped a sweltering 105 degrees in Florida last week. I think that officially means we’ve entered the worst season of the year if you live in the Sunshine State. But no matter where you live, the heat, the rain and the humidity of summer can put a damper on your riding routine if you’re not prepared for it.
Fly spray, bug spray, sunglasses, sunscreen and lots of water are a given. But there are a few other items that could be useful in your tack box or wardrobe during the hottest months of the year.
Here’s a list of my top 10 must-have products to help rider and horse beat the heat this summer.
Mane ‘n Tail Mineral Ice: This is one of my favorite products. It’s easy to apply after a tough work out and like traditional liniment, it offers a soothing cool flash why providing relief for aching muscles and joints. I coat my mare’s legs and haunches in it after a grueling early morning jump session in the summer months. It retails for $16.47 a pound at Walmart. But I bought a smaller bottle for $8 at my local feed store. Vetrolin makes a similar liniment gel product that is a little more expensive.
SWAT Fly Ointment: This is absolutely a must-have in Florida. Horses can’t be in the stall or out in the pasture without flies, noseeums and mosquitoes hovering all over them. Traditional fly sprays work OK, but I use SWAT ointment around my mare’s eyes and in her ears to keep the pesky bugs out of her face when she’s not wearing a fly mask. A small jar usually costs less than $10. Choose the clear formula or have some fun with the bright pink ointment.
EQyss MicroTek Spray: Monsoon rains and muddy arenas quickly lead to rain rot on your horse’s legs. This is my new favorite product to help keep my horse fungus-free in the summer. It’s a little pricey at $24 a bottle, but it’s a spray that fights most skin issues in just one or two treatments. It’s gentle enough to coat ouchy and sensitive areas. For heavy duty treatment, buy the MicroTek medicated shampoo too.
Himalayan Salt Block: This is the perfect cheap summer treat for your horse, which helps replenish iron, potassium, and magnesium often lost in sweat during workouts. You can pick one up for less than $5.
Keratex Hoof Gel: After dealing with white line disease, stone bruises and abscesses last summer due to flooded pastures from record rains, Keratex’s fleet of hoof products have become my go-to to keep my mare’s hooves strong and healthy during the wet season. Hoof gel is applied just a few times a week and helps keep hooves dry in wet conditions. It can be used on horses with our without shoes. It costs $32.95. For extra protection, buy the hoof hardener.
Leather Cleaner Wipes: Sweat and rain is not a good mix for your leather tack. Keep some leather cleaner wipes in your tack box for a quick way to wipe down bridles and breastplates after a really sweaty ride. Lexol quick wipes are just $4.99.
Ariat Sun Stopping Shirt: I don’t know about you, but I hate my crazy barn lady tan lines. Ariat’s line of sun stopping shirts are not only brilliant, but they keep you cool and covered while riding. Not to mention they’re made of breathable, moisture-wicking material. Pick up some cute colors and patterns for $54.95 each.
EquiVisor: The EquiVisor is a wide brim extension that fits over any helmet. When I first got my Equivisor a few months ago, it took some getting used to. Now I can’t ride without it. It keeps my face and chest covered from the sun and I don’t have to squint down the line on a bright day to find my distance. It costs $42.95. Read my full product review here.
HyperKewl Riding Vest: Strap on one of these babies to feel immediate, cooling relief while you ride under the sun. There are a couple of different options at different price points, but most vests offer up to 10 hours of cooling relief. HyperKewel uses fabric that absorbs and releases water while you sweat. It won’t get your clothes wet underneath it. Try one for $34.23 or go all out on an upgraded model with a hydration system for $199.99.
CamelBak Backpack: So I stole this idea from my brother. He’s an avid snowboarder and never hits the slopes without a slim CamelBak backpack filled with Gatorade. The lightweight, breathable back packs are perfect to wear on a long trail ride and are even secure enough to wear during a school in the arena. They carry a couple ounces of liquid and a long straw is fastened over your shoulder, so it’s easy to drink from. They come in various sizes and at different prices. I like the slimmer bike model which cost around $130.