As temperatures climb we as endurance riders all become aware that it is hot, sticky, and our horse may not pulse down to the veterinary criteria as easily. It is important to have measures in place for cooling your horse in hot and humid conditions across a good portion of the country. Make sure you have some or all of these in your cooling arsenal:
Buckets of water: You will need a bucket or two of clean water just for drinking. Several buckets set in the shade if at all possible for sponging.
Sponges: at least one per bucket will speed your process along.
Sweat scraper: Remember what is sponged on, needs to come off. That is what removes the heat. As the water you’ve put on your horse becomes warm, scrape it off, and apply a new cool later of water.
Pump up sprayer: A regular new garden sprayer (no nasty chemicals!) with ice dumped in and topped off with water. While you are out on a loop, most of the ice will melt, but the water temperature in your sprayer will likely be much lower than the ambient air temperature. Put it on mist and use it on your horse’s neck and face. Watch the expression…some horse’s love this cool misting. Again, when the water heats up, scrape it off.
Electrolytes: Have these figured out well ahead of your competition. Do not give them to a horse that is refusing to drink or eat, as they may exacerbate an underlying issue. But have them, and be ready to use them as the weather becomes steamy.
Frozen micro-fiber towels: Wet these at home, twist them and freeze in a plastic bag, these pulled out can help a rider who is feeling the heat. Put them on the back of the neck, run them up and down your neck, face, arms (think like you are a horse) to bring your temperature down.
Water & electrolytes: Please notice that water & electrolytes are “together”. If you drink copious amounts of icy cold water it can bring down your temperature, but it can also flush all the electrolytes from your system causing hyponatremia (low sodium). So what ever you are drinking be sure and balance that out with salty snacks, or better still a balanced sport electrolyte.
Evaporative Sun Sleeves: This sleeves cover your arms and protect you from UV RAYS while also having “cooling properties.”
A Visor: It protects your eyes from harmful UV rays and offers shade to your face and neck.
Breathable clothing: Purchase t-shirts and tights that vent the heat. This may seem like a small thing, but when you are out working in the heat the way endurance riders do…you need that heat to pull from your body and release. Research your clothing just like you research the needs of your horse!