Many of us are in the midst of a heatwave, the likes of which have never been seen in my life time. As much as I appreciate the warm weather after such a cold winter, it’s becoming too hot to handle! Dealing with horses in extreme temperatures isn’t something I normally have to deal with at my yard. But the last three weeks we’ve had temperatures up to 28°C (83 Fahrenheit) all day long! Normally 15°C (59 Fahrenheit) would be considered a warm day here. These staggering temperatures, for us, is making riding and competing, suddenly very difficult.
So, here’s some of my top tips I use for staying cool:
Avoiding the time of day you ride at, I realize isn’t always a choice when competing. Often, you’ll find yourself riding during prime heatstroke territory. If you’ve any doubt whether you or your horse can handle it, simply withdraw. Health should outweigh any competition.
You and your horse come first. There are ways to help your horse handle the heat when out competing. One being a fit horse. Fit horses are quicker to adapt, and their bodies deal with heat better. When warming up for a class keep your sessions short and give them plenty of walk breaks. Take plenty of water with you and when you can, keep in the shade.
Enjoy the sunshine whilst it’s here, but make sure you & your horse stay safe and well hydrated!
Dearbhle is currently studying Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering at Trinity College Dublin. She campaigns her two horses Tilly and Dave. Tilly is a 12-year-old chestnut mare, who after a turbulent eventing career is now successfully competing in pure dressage. Dave is a baby 4-year-old who is only starting his competition career. The hope for Dave is that he makes it as a successful eventer. He’ll be brought on with the ambition of competing at international one-star level by the time he’s 7!