Preparing for riding in the summer in Arizona... tips?
So this will be my first summer riding horses, and I just want to know what other Arizonians do during the summer to still get their ride in without A) burning to a crisp or B) over-working their horses. Thanks! I also might be helping with summer classes so any tips on staying cool would be great! :)
I have a friend that trains in the Pheonix area and she starts by 5 and is done riding for the day by 10. She doesn't ride in the evening because it takes until midnight to start to cool down. If you have a covered arena, it's doable but it's still hot.
Which part of AZ? I live in Tucson/marana area, and it gets up to 120 here!!
Numero uno: WATER. DO NOT SKIMP ON THE WATER!!! Most obvious, and most ignored. Dehydration is a big deal here, and remember that when you feel thirsty, you're already dehydrated. Make sure to pack some sunscreen too, and to get it on every few hours.
I usually try to get out early in the morning, because it's hottest midday to around 4. Tucsonians tend to stay inside/ not do much midday, because it's so hot. My horses are used to the heat, although I have to be careful with my black horse. But usually, I ride for about an hour, and give them an hour or two of rest. After a ride/ work out, I always hose them down, focusing mostly on their legs, and I try to take my time with this to make sure they're cool, and because I scrape the water off afterwards so it doesn't heat up and defeat the purpose of hosing them off... lol. This is a controversial topic (the scraping-to-keep-from-reheating), but it's what I do.
I'm not really sure what else to cover, so if you have specific questions, feel free to ask. I've been living here for twelve years, since I was 5, so I've got the experience, lol.
I lived in Tucson/Catalina area, just above Miraval and I LOVED riding out after dark in the mountains. You do have to be careful to not ride where there are big overhangs, think mountain lions, but to ride down a dry river bed or across the desert in the moon light is AWESOME! I also loved early morning rides, like at 5 AM and done by 8 AM.
I always did a slow cool down walk on the way home, last 1-2 miles and then when we got hom I would hose down, massage my horse with something like Vetrolin or another minty cooling type rub, then put them away for breakfast/dinner depending on the time of day. I frequently went out at 8 PM and didn't return til midnight and after rinsing them off, I'd give them a flake of hay with a little extra salt and lots of water, and let them relax all night. Always carry more water than you think you could possibly need and your cell phone & a flashlight. I LOVED riding in the Catalinas.
It depends on where you are, and what your capabilities are logistically.
In the valley, the early morning rule stands.
Those of us smart enough to get away from the brain melting heat up the hill just go out and ride.
Above 90*, i head further north to Flag, Ash Fork, and the Canyon.
Water is mission critical. I keep 5 gallons per person on hand, plenty of ice, and 25 gallons per horse, with ice to cool the water down for them.
I try not to let the water get too cold, as i fear it could give them a heart attack or brain freeze. Is there any truth to it? Don't know. They like the cool water, and i figure it helps them metabolize the water more efficiently.
A little salt in the feed helps keep them from cramping after a long poke in the hills.
Again, my own theory. I prolly should ask the vet one of these days.
I live in the east valley, and I don't own a horse personally, I do take lessons though, and I'll lease a horse in the summer so I just wanna know when I can actually ride :) I've lived in Arizona since I was born! Thankfully there are no mountain lions where I live ;) Also, is it ok to ride in shorts?
In a saddle? It hurts like all hell. Bareback? Slightly better. :cry: I can't say I suggest it.
5.11 tactical has mil spec lightweight pants of a similar material as to what I wore while on duty in the Marines. Lightweight, breatheable, durable pants that are quite comfy.
Just a thought.
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