Six Tips To Rev Up Your Riding Season


 Six Tips To Rev Up Your Riding Season

Want to get the most out of your riding season? Here are six tips to rev up your riding season:

-Stay hydrated. You lose a lot more fluid in sweat than you do through drinking and many horses can become dehydrated quickly. One rule of thumb is to drink a 250ml bottle of water every hour. That's about 10oz (two cups) per hour, or about 2L per day  
-Look for drainage areas and sponges that fill with cool water in the summertime. They're a great place to cool off after a ride, so remember to stop and take a dip.
-Keep your saddle well-brushed at all times, inside and out. A quick rub with your hand will help reduce the amount of sweat on the underside of the saddle when you ride. A good way to ease this is to brush in one direction only, alternating sides as you go. This will give you a chance to really work all the sweat areas without getting your hands too dirty.
-Take advantage of the cool spring or fall nights. If it's cooler than usual, wait for nightfall or head back early from rides. Horses don't always have the greatest heat tolerance and being out in the heat can cause dehydration and muscle cramps.
-Stay out of the sun. If you're in direct sunlight, you'll feel it more than your horse will. If you have to ride during the afternoon, try to find a shaded area that's not so breezy. This will help keep both of you from overheating.
-If all else fails, sponge yourself down with cooling water before and after riding. This is a great way to cool off quickly on hot summer days, especially if your horse isn't doing well with a lot of weight on his back (like if he's carrying double or has a heavy pack).
-Don't forget to wear sunscreen! Even though your horse may have a darker coat and stay out of the sun, you're more exposed than he is when riding. Wear a hat, too, to prevent sunburn on your face and ears.
This article was written by Ellie Lightbody for Trot Canada. For more information please visit .
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(1) Do not forget that horses need time out to rest and graze as well so it might not always be possible to get the amount of work done you want in one day. Also, keep in mind that horses should never work when it is too hot or humid (if your horse is working well, keep him working, it will help him acclimatize). In addition, never do excessive work on a hot day as you might end up pushing your horse beyond his capabilities and result in injury or worse, death.
(2) Having a good sense of when your horse is in pain and when he is not can help you determine what work is best to be done at that time. In some cases, not all work will have to be done at one time and in other situations doing more work than the horse can handle might actually cause him injury.
(3) Make sure you have plenty of time to get the desired amount of work done – it takes time for your horse to rest between each piece of work.
(4) Don't constantly ask your horse to do more work than he can handle. It could cause him injury or result in him getting lame, and is not the way to treat a tired horse.
(5) Make sure your tack is fit properly and that the reins are not being pulled on unnecessarily. Also, make sure you are paying attention to where your horse's ears are pointing. If his ears are pointed down he's probably working too hard (he may be unable to keep up with you). If his ears are pointed up he's probably still doing fine.
(6) Just because your horse is doing well one day does not mean that all days will be like this. Horses need days off every once in a while as they can tire quickly. If you push too much work for a certain amount of time, your horse's body will not be able to handle it all and he will end up injuring himself.
About the author: Ellie Lightbody has been riding since she was 4 years old, growing up on her parents' hobby farm in southwestern Ontario. Now, she rides and shows her own horses, and teaches riding at her barn. In addition to writing for Horse & Country Canada, she is also a show correspondent for Horse Illustrated magazine.
(1) Groom Your Horse's Sides:
(2) How to care for your horse's coat in the summertime:
(3) How to groom your horse after a ride:
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What we can take away from all this is that, as with exercise in general, the horse needs to be treated like a human being and not simply an animal. We have to take their comfort into account, especially during the heat of summer when both horse and rider tend to overheat.
It is also important to recognize the different aspects of a ride: how far you go, how long it lasts and how tired your horse becomes. During these rides we can work on safety, technical and tactical aspects of riding (pace, rhythm etc.) but all that requires us to be aware of our horses' well-being. If we cannot pay attention to all these aspects then we are risking injury or worse: death.

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