No matter your level of horseback riding experience, knowing how to ride wet horses is essential.
Take some steps to ensure the tack stays dry, as well as shield their hooves and legs from rain scald.
Check your horse’s temperature both before and after exercise to monitor their wellbeing.
Saddles are integral for both you and your horse’s wellbeing, providing vital safety and comfort measures. Available in either English or Western styles, these saddles help distribute weight evenly over their back.
No matter the material or style of your saddle, regular cleaning and conditioning are required to keep it in good condition. In addition, accessories like girths, breast collars, and stirrup leathers must also be kept clean.
Dehumidifiers may help keep your tack in good condition by eliminating humidity. Be wary when placing wet or damp saddles near heaters as this could allow water to seep through and cause permanent damage to them.
Riding wet horses may seem harmless enough, but it is essential that both you and your riding partner remain aware of its possible repercussions for both parties involved. Riding in wet conditions may lead to painful back problems as well as less enjoyable experiences overall.
Wet rugs can make riding discomforting for horses who have been clipped. Furthermore, they may trap heat and sweat which could result in rug sores as well as fungal or bacterial infections on their skin.
Equestrian centres, stables and horse owners frequently keep an inventory of rugs on hand to keep horses warm and comfortable in colder months. Unfortunately this task can be challenging since rugs need to be regularly cleaned, dried and stored away ready for use during various weather conditions.
There is a range of different rugs to choose from, each designed for specific uses and functions. Some absorb moisture quickly before releasing it, others provide warmth or have cooling properties to help recovery after exercise.
Cooler rugs have been specifically created to control a horse’s temperature and ensure they never overheat, an essential feature when dealing with performance horses on restricted diets where sweat production must increase dramatically in order to process energy efficiently.
Constant wetness increases a horse’s susceptibility to infections and undermines their ability to support his weight, leading to softened hooves that develop deep cracks, chipped areas and flat soles where bacteria and fungus take up residence.
This is especially true of the sole, which is one of the more porous components of a hoof, leading to potential bacterial infections like thrush that cause intense discomfort and lameness in horses.
Maintaining dry feet for horses is made simple by keeping their stall clean, bedding them on absorbent wood products and avoiding muddy pastures. Inspect each foot daily for any signs of discomfort such as odor, pain, swelling or discharge as well as changes to appearance of hooves.
An important element of horse welfare and performance, particularly during summer rides that can often be more strenuous, is cooling off their horse afterwards. Exertion, fluid loss and ambient air temperature all play their parts in making him too hot to handle.
The hypothalamus in your brain monitors this situation and orders nearby blood vessels to dilate so overheated blood can release some of its heat through perspiration, as well as sending signals to sweat glands so they can do their work of expending body heat through sweat dripping onto your horse’s coat.
Though opinions differ, most agree that hosing or spongeing your horse’s hot areas should help him dissipate his heat more rapidly. Unfortunately, this process can be time consuming; therefore, in extreme conditions spray your horse’s head, neck, back and rump with cool water spray bottle to speed cooling faster or use an ice bath to speed cooling faster; using an ice bath reduces core body temperature, lowers heart rates and improves breathing rate after exercise.
Chris is a passionate learner and writer. When he’s not working on his blog or learning something new, he’s a full-time systems administrator and father of two beautiful girls. Chris loves spending time with his family, reading, writing, and playing hockey.