Most horse riders have to endure whatever the weather brings, cold and wet or hot and humid. In Florida, the weather is hot much of the time and heat savvy riders have learned how to protect themselves and there horses from the sun. Here's some advice from the pros.
Wear the Correct Riding Clothes
If you are wearing correct riding clothes your skin will be mostly covered and safe from sunburn. The long sleeves which will protect your skin from grazing should you fall will also protect you from the sun`s rays. Your helmet will also protect your head. There are some areas that you will need to slap some sun cream on though, such as the back of your neck and your face - don`t forget to include your neck and uncovered chest areas. If you decide to ride in a T-shirt cover your arms as well.
Avoid the Noonday Sun
It really is not a good idea to exercise your horse in the middle of the day when the sun is at its hottest. If you have no choice it is important to take it easy as horses can suffer from heatstroke -even if you are in a covered arena the heat can affect you both. Interestingly enough horses have about the same number of skin layers as we do so if you feel something your horse is going to feel the same. Your skin is an important factor in keeping the body temperature regulated so if it gets really hot, a nice cool wash will help both and your horse cool down.
Horses can be Sensitive to the Sun
Horses with pale muzzles can often suffer from sunburn as well. There are several sunscreens on the market especially manufactured for pets. Apply it to the area about 30 minutes before going out and allow it to dry. You may need to reapply after you cool and wash your horse down. If either of you do get sunburnt then try Aloe with lavender to help soothe the area.
Let the horse have their mane and tail to help chase away the
flies which will be attracted by the sweat. You may also need
something to drive them away. Some people maintain that garlic
added to your horses feed will help to keep flies off, maybe it
works for riders as well!
Be Aware of Your Time in the Sun
Of course you may spend far more time in the pasture looking after
your horse and stable and this is where you are more likely to
forget to protect yourself. Try and get out either early in the
day or later on in the evening when it is cooler. It is as
important for you to have lots of water to drink as it is your
horse. If temperatures stay high for any length of time your vet
might suggest adding
electrolytes to the water. It has been
claimed that to work out water consumption you should take your
weight, half it and then drink that many ounces of water in a day.
Good luck with trying to work that out!