What to Wear Horseback Riding in The Summer

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Have you ever felt the sting of sunburn after a long day of riding or been so hot and miserable in your gear that you wondered if you might melt faster than an ice cream cone in July? Sweat drips into your eyes, sunscreen turns tacky on your skin, and your thighs are begging for mercy from the relentless friction. Yes, summer horseback riding can indeed be a battle against the elements. But fear not, fellow equestrians, victory awaits in the proper attire!

What to Wear Horseback Riding in The Summer

This blog post aims to guide summer riders on what to wear horseback riding in the summer, tackling the everyday challenges of sunburn, chafing, overheating, and the dreaded bug bites, all while trying to maintain a presentable appearance amidst the sweat. Dressing appropriately for the summer season can drastically improve your comfort, allowing you to focus more on your performance and less on the searing sun or pesky insects. So, let’s saddle up and delve into the world of summer equestrian fashion, enhancing not only our comfort but also our overall riding experience.

What to Wear Horseback Riding in The Summer: Sun Protection



It’s crucial to equip yourself with a well-ventilated riding helmet offering UPF protection. Not only does this essential piece of equipment protect you from potential injuries, but it also safeguards your skin from harmful ultraviolet rays. Remember, your safety is paramount, and a good helmet can be a literal lifesaver.

Sun Visors/Hats

For added sun protection, consider incorporating a wide-brimmed riding visor or a UPF-protected hat into your summer riding gear. These accessories provide extra coverage for your face and neck, two areas particularly vulnerable to sunburn. While they may be optional, these add-ons can significantly enhance your comfort during sunny rides.

Upper Body


What to Wear Horseback Riding in The Summer

When it comes to shirts for summer horseback riding, prioritize comfort and protection. Moisture-wicking, UPF-protected shirts are a fantastic choice. These shirts are designed to keep you cool and dry by wicking away sweat and protecting your skin from harmful UV rays. You can opt for long-sleeves or short-sleeves depending on your comfort level and the intensity of bugs in your area. These shirts are typically lightweight and provide a comfortable fit, ensuring you can focus on your ride and not on uncomfortable clothing.

Base Layers

Under your shirt, consider wearing a breathable, quick-drying tank top or sports bra. These base layers provide extra sweat absorption, preventing discomfort from excessive sweating during your ride. They also allow for better airflow, keeping you cool during those hot summer rides. Remember, comfort is key when it comes to horseback riding, and the right base layer can make a significant difference.

Lower Body


When it comes to breeches for summer riding, look for light and breathable material such as cotton or moisture-wicking fabric. Consider investing in a pair with silicone grip knee patches or full seats to prevent unnecessary friction and chafing. You can also opt for breeches with mesh panels for added ventilation. Remember, the right breeches can make all the difference in your comfort level during long and sweaty rides.


Socks are often an overlooked aspect of equestrian attire, but they play a significant role in keeping you comfortable and preventing blisters and chafing. Look for moisture-wicking socks made from breathable materials such as cotton or bamboo. You can also opt for riding socks with added padding in areas that experience the most friction, such as the heel and toe.


When it comes to summer equestrian footwear, comfort and breathability are key. Look for riding boots made from light and breathable materials, such as leather or synthetic blends. Additionally, consider investing in a pair of well-fitting, moisture-wicking socks to ensure your feet stay cool and dry during those long rides. Avoid wearing tall boots for summer riding, as they can cause excessive sweating and discomfort.



What to Wear Horseback Riding in The Summer

Gloves are a must-have for any rider, regardless of the season. During the summer, look for gloves made from lightweight and breathable materials such as mesh or synthetic blends. You can also opt for gloves with additional features such as touchscreen compatibility or sweat-wicking properties. These accessories not only protect your hands from sunburn and blisters but also enhance your grip on the reins during sweaty rides.

Bug Repellent

One of the biggest challenges of summer horseback riding is dealing with pesky insects, particularly flies and mosquitoes. To combat this issue, consider using bug-repellent sprays or bands to keep these annoying pests at bay. Remember to reapply as needed, and try to choose natural options that are safe for both yourself and your horse.


While choosing the right underwear may not seem like a significant factor in your riding attire, it can make all the difference in preventing chafing and discomfort. Look for seamless, moisture-wicking options made from breathable materials such as microfiber or nylon. Avoid cotton as it tends to retain moisture, which can lead to chafing during long rides. Remember, comfort is key, and the right underwear can make all the difference in your overall riding experience.

Sun Protection Tips


One of the most crucial elements of sun protection is sunscreen. Be sure to choose a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 to shield your skin from UVA and UVB rays. Apply it generously to all exposed areas of skin, including the face, neck, and arms. It’s also important to reapply every two hours, or more frequently if you’re sweating heavily. Consider using a sweat-resistant formula to ensure lasting protection during your ride.

Protective Clothing

In addition to sunscreen, wearing UPF-protected clothing is another effective way to safeguard your skin from the sun. Look for shirts, breeches, and accessories that offer UPF 50+ protection. Long-sleeved shirts and full-length breeches can provide extra coverage, reducing the amount of skin exposed to harmful UV rays.

Lip Balm

The lips are often neglected in sun protection routines but are equally susceptible to sunburn. Use a lip balm with SPF protection to keep your lips moisturized and protected from the sun’s rays. Reapply regularly, especially during long rides.

Eye Protection

Protecting your eyes from the sun is just as important. Invest in a pair of sunglasses with UV protection to shield your eyes from harmful rays. Opt for wrap-around styles to ensure maximum coverage and minimize glare while riding.

Gaiters and Sleeves

For extra sun protection, consider wearing gaiters or arm sleeves. These accessories can be worn over your regular clothing to provide additional coverage to areas that are often exposed, such as your neck, arms, and lower legs. They are typically made from lightweight, breathable materials that offer UPF protection, making them perfect for summer riding.

Stay sun-smart and proactive in your approach to skin protection, ensuring a more comfortable and enjoyable riding experience under the summer sun.

How to Stay Cool While Wearing Protective Gear


Staying hydrated is crucial when riding in the summer heat. Make sure to drink plenty of water before, during, and after your ride. Consider carrying a water bottle with you or having access to a nearby water source to replenish fluids lost through sweating. Additionally, consider adding electrolyte drinks or supplements to your water for added hydration and minerals.

Cooling Vests

For added comfort and coolness during your summer rides, consider investing in a cooling vest. These vests are designed to be worn under your riding attire and contain pockets for cooling inserts or ice packs. They help regulate your body temperature and keep you cool during those hot rides.


What to Wear Horseback Riding in The Summer

It’s essential to take breaks and rest during long and sweaty rides. Find a shaded area to allow your body to cool down and recover from the heat. This is also a great time to rehydrate and apply more sunscreen as needed. Remember, pushing through discomfort or exhaustion can lead to heatstroke or other serious health issues.

Knowledge of Heat-Related Illnesses

Lastly, it’s crucial to educate yourself on the signs and symptoms of heat-related illnesses such as heat exhaustion and heatstroke. If you start to experience symptoms such as dizziness, nausea, or confusion, it’s essential to stop riding immediately and seek shade and hydration. If symptoms persist or worsen, seek medical attention. Remember, safety should always be a top priority when riding in hot weather conditions.

Bug Protection for Horseback Riding in The Summer


When it comes to protecting yourself from bugs during summer rides, choosing the right repellent can be a game-changer. Opt for ones that are safe, effective, and contain DEET, Picaridin, or Oil of lemon eucalyptus, which are known for their bug-repelling properties. However, while it’s essential to apply bug repellent to exposed skin, avoid going overboard. Excessive application can lead to skin irritation and may not necessarily provide additional protection. A modest application should suffice, and remember to reapply as per the product’s instructions, especially after sweating or wiping your skin.

Clothing Features

In addition to using bug repellents, adopting certain clothing features can also help prevent bugs from ruining your ride. Consider shirts with mesh inserts for added ventilation and bug-blocking features. Mesh inserts not only provide airflow, keeping you cool during hot summer rides but also act as a physical barrier against insects.

For your horse, consider using fly boots for added comfort. These boots are designed to protect your horse’s legs from biting flies and other irritating bugs, enhancing their comfort during hot and buggy rides.

Remember, combining a safe and practical application of bug repellent with well-thought-out clothing choices can significantly enhance your comfort and protection during summer rides.

Staying Hydrated During Summer Rides

Hydration is essential when engaging in strenuous activities like horseback riding, especially in the heat of summer. Here are some useful tips to ensure adequate hydration during summer rides:

Drink Regularly

Form a habit of drinking water at regular intervals, not just when you’re thirsty. Thirst is a signal that your body is already starting to dehydrate, so it’s best to stay ahead of it.


What to Wear Horseback Riding in The Summer

When you sweat, you lose more than just water; you also lose essential minerals known as electrolytes. Consider drinking an electrolyte-replenishing beverage in addition to water. This can help restore lost sodium, potassium, and other minerals.

Avoid Alcohol and Caffeine

Both alcohol and caffeine can dehydrate your body. It’s best to avoid them around your riding schedule.

Eat Hydrating Foods

Incorporate hydrating foods into your diet. Fruits like watermelon, cucumber, and strawberries are composed of over 90% water and can provide a tasty way to stay hydrated.

Carry a Water Bottle

Carrying a water bottle can be a simple and practical tip to stay hydrated. You’re more likely to drink water when it’s readily available. Opt for an insulated bottle to keep your water cool during hot summer rides.

Remember, staying hydrated is key to maintaining energy levels and preventing heat-related illnesses. So, make it a priority during your summer horseback riding adventures.

The Importance of Regular Breaks and Rest Periods During Hot Weather Riding

Rest periods and regular breaks during summer horseback riding are of paramount importance to both the rider and the horse. During the hot weather, your body works harder to maintain a balanced internal temperature. By taking regular breaks, you give your body a chance to cool down, which helps to prevent overheating and associated conditions such as heat exhaustion or heatstroke. Besides, rest periods offer you an opportunity to rehydrate yourself, replenish lost electrolytes, and even have a quick snack to restore energy levels.

For the horse, breaks are equally important. They provide an opportunity for the horse to rest, reducing the risk of heat stress and dehydration. Remember, horses also sweat, and they too can experience heat-related illnesses. During these breaks, it’s a good practice to offer your horse water to drink and, if possible, bathe its body with cool water, especially in the neck and chest area, to assist in cooling it down.

In essence, regular breaks and rest periods during hot weather riding are beneficial for maintaining good physical health, the overall well-being of the rider and the horse, and, ultimately, for enhancing the enjoyment and safety of your summer riding experience.

Additional Tips for Summer Riding

Avoiding the Hottest Part of the Day

Plan your rides for early morning or late evening to avoid the peak heat of the day and reduce the risk of heat exhaustion. These times of the day are generally cooler, making it more comfortable and safer for both you and your horse.

Layering for Temperature Changes

Even in summer, light layers can be useful. Mornings and evenings can be cooler, so a lightweight jacket or vest can come in handy. These layers can easily be removed as the temperature rises, allowing you to adjust your comfort levels without compromising on protection.

Choosing the Right Riding Terrain

Opt for shaded trails or areas with plenty of tree cover when planning your summer rides. The natural shade not only provides respite from the direct sun but also tends to be cooler than open, sun-exposed terrain. Additionally, trails near water sources like rivers or lakes can offer cooler breezes, enhancing the overall comfort of your ride.

Monitoring Weather Conditions

Before heading out, always check the weather forecast. By being aware of any upcoming heatwaves, storms, or extreme weather conditions, you can plan your ride accordingly to ensure safety. If temperatures are expected to soar, consider shortening your ride or relocating to an indoor arena if possible.

Using Cooling Gear for Horses

Investing in cooling gear for horses can significantly improve their comfort during hot summer rides. Products such as cooling blankets, neck wraps, and leg wraps can help lower your horse’s body temperature. These items are typically soaked in water and then placed on the horse to provide a cooling effect through evaporation.

Tips to Keep Your Horse Cool During Summer Rides

Provide Shade

If possible, incorporate breaks at shady spots during your rides. This can help provide relief from the sun and allow your horse to cool down in a naturally cooler environment. Plan your trail routes to include shaded areas and make stops in these spots to let your horse rest and recover from the heat.

Proper Grooming

Regular grooming is essential for your horse’s well-being, particularly during the summer months. A clean coat allows for better airflow and helps reduce the risk of skin irritation and heat-related conditions. Use appropriate grooming tools to remove dirt and loose hair, and consider trimming the long hair to facilitate better ventilation.

Offer Frequent Water Breaks

Just like humans, horses need to stay hydrated. Offer your horse water breaks at regular intervals during your ride, allowing it to drink and cool down. If possible, bring a portable water trough or use natural water sources along your route. Ensuring your horse has access to fresh, clean water at all times is crucial for maintaining hydration.

Consider Altering Your Riding Schedule

If temperatures are consistently high, it may be necessary to alter your riding schedule. Consider early morning or late evening rides when it is cooler. These times are generally more comfortable and safe for your horse, reducing the risk of heat stress. Also, pay attention to the humidity level as this can play a significant role in how hot your horse feels.

Monitor Your Horse’s Condition

Keep an eye on your horse’s physical and mental state during and after your ride. Look out for signs of dehydration, fatigue, and heat stress. If you notice any concerning symptoms, such as excessive sweating, lethargy, or rapid breathing, it’s important to take a break and seek medical attention if necessary.

Use Cooling Gear

Invest in cooling gear designed for horses, such as cooling blankets, neck wraps, and leg wraps. These items can help lower your horse’s body temperature during and after a ride, providing immediate relief from the heat. Soak these cooling gear items in water and place them on your horse to take advantage of the cooling effect through evaporation.

Maintain a Balanced Diet

A horse’s diet can also affect its ability to stay cool. Ensure your horse is receiving a balanced diet that meets its nutritional needs. Adding electrolyte supplements to its feed can help replace the minerals lost through sweating, aiding in proper hydration and overall well-being during hot weather conditions.

Create a Cool Environment at Home

When not riding, ensure that your horse’s living environment is cool and comfortable. Provide access to well-ventilated stables or shelters, and use fans if necessary to increase airflow. During peak heat times, giving your horse access to a paddock with plenty of shade trees can also help keep it cool.

Summer horseback riding can be an enjoyable and rewarding experience, but it’s crucial to prioritize safety and well-being during hot weather conditions. By staying hydrated, taking regular breaks, and implementing these tips, you can ensure a safe and comfortable riding experience for both you and your horse. Happy trails!

What to Do if You or Your Horse Get Sick During Summer Riding

Recognizing the Signs of Illness

It’s crucial to be aware of the signs that indicate illness in both you and your horse while riding in the summer. For riders, symptoms such as dizziness, nausea, headache, or excessive fatigue can indicate heat exhaustion or heat stroke. On the other hand, horses may exhibit symptoms like rapid breathing, excessive sweating, lethargy, or an elevated heart rate.

Immediate Actions for Riders

If you start feeling unwell while riding, it’s important to stop immediately and seek shade. Hydrate with cool water and rest to allow your body to recover. If symptoms persist or worsen, seek medical attention promptly. Heat-related illnesses can quickly escalate, so it’s always better to err on the side of caution.

Immediate Actions for Horses

Should your horse show signs of illness, dismount and lead it to a shaded area. Remove any saddles or tack to help it cool down. Offer the horse water to drink, but avoid giving too much all at once. Use cool, damp cloths or sponges to wipe its body, particularly around the major blood vessels such as the neck and legs, to help lower its body temperature.

When to Call a Veterinarian

In cases where the horse’s condition does not improve or if symptoms indicate severe heat stress, it’s essential to call a veterinarian. Severe symptoms might include an elevated or irregular heart rate, muscle tremors, or a lack of sweating. Prompt medical attention can be life-saving in these situations.

Preventive Measures

To reduce the chance of illness, plan shorter rides in extreme heat, incorporate more breaks, and ensure both rider and horse are adequately hydrated before heading out. Familiarize yourself with the signs of heat-related stress and illness to spot issues early and avoid them from escalating.

Post-Recovery Care

Both you and your horse will need time to fully recover from any heat-related illness. Avoid strenuous activities for a few days, ensure plenty of rest, and maintain hydration. Gradually reintroduce normal riding routines, ensuring both of you are comfortable and showing no signs of recurring issues.

By staying vigilant and taking appropriate actions, you can ensure the health and safety of both yourself and your horse, making your summer rides enjoyable and worry-free.


In conclusion, horseback riding in the summer requires careful preparation and knowledge to ensure the safety and comfort of both the rider and the horse. Understanding the risks associated with hot weather, such as dehydration and heat-related illnesses, and taking measures to mitigate them, is of paramount importance.

Knowing what to wear horseback riding in the summer, using effective bug repellents, proper clothing features, and ensuring regular hydration are all key factors in having a safe and enjoyable riding experience.

Regular breaks and rest periods also play a critical role in maintaining good health and overall well-being. Armed with these tips, your summer horseback riding adventures are bound to be an exhilarating and safe experience. Always remember that preparation and awareness are your best companions on the trail.

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