It's that time of year again, when the heat indexes hit triple digits, when we switch to night turnout, when we start waking earlier and earlier to get the horses ridden before it's a kajillion degrees. But there's no rest for the weary, so we press on, with a few important hot weather essentials. Here's the products we at Sprieser Sporthorse can't live without as we approach summertime.
1. The FITS Zephyr coat. A coat made of mesh you say? You have to see it to believe it. It's three layers of overlapping black mesh. The whole coat. The WHOLE COAT. You can see right through it when it's off you, but on, no matter what shirt you are wearing—short sleeves, long sleeves, no sleeves—it looks like any other jacket. It's machine washable, and 100% stretchy as well, so it looks tailored to perfection. It's so lightweight and sporty that I'm bringing it to Gladstone this week to wear as a blazer. It's going to make horse showing in July a breeze.
2. Cocosoya oil. I love Cocosoya any time of year, but even with night turnout, inevitably the horses can get a little sunbleached by the time August rolls around. A splash of Cocosoya, a blend of unrefined coconut and soybean oils, and their coats stay soft and glowing. (We use it on hard keepers, too. And it smells AMAZING.)
3. Neutrogena sunscreen. I'm of the sensitive-skinned persuasion, and I'm also so Caucasian that, when I wear shorts, I create a sun glare that helps reduce global warming. In light of this, I live in long-sleeved shirts and sunscreen. I like their Sport sunscreen for my body, and their UltraSheer for my face. Speaking of…
4. EquiVisor. Yes, it is impossible to look cool wearing one of these. You know what else isn't cool? Skin cancer. Wrinkles. That weird cap-and-sunglasses tan. I embrace my dorkitude and wear one of these when I'm outside, though I would feel like less of a dweeb if it came in navy to match my Charles Owen. Just sayin'.
5. Horse Quencher. I can't say enough things about this little miracle product. Horse Quencher is a grain blend that, when added to water, makes most horses inhale the entire damn bucket. It's honestly a bit like a magic trick. It comes in four flavors—we like the apple one, but they'll send you a pack of samples so you can see which one your creature likes the best. It's the product we didn't know we needed 'til we tried it.
6. Coconut water. Speaking of hydration, we sweat buckets when we ride and work outside all day, too, and Gatorade's phosphorescent color spectrum just makes me nervous about what's in there. Coconut water is a great electrolyte-balancing alternative, and much closer to nature.
7. Roeckl gloves. I rock my Chesters year 'round, but in the summertime, I like their special summer weight ones. The back is a meshy material, but the palm is traditional wears-like-iron Roeckl leather. These have proven very hard to kill, and lord knows it's not for lack of trying around my house!
8. Fly bonnets. I've always loved the look of a fly hat, particularly at some of our local shows, which I swear have a classified gnat breeding program. But this year, USEF changed the rule (DR121.7) to allow us to show in them without needing special permission from the Ground Jury first, so we rock 'em out. It's a fun way to add a little color, too—I have a splendid brown one with light blue trim, to match my farm colors, as well as a gray and purple one that matches my shadbelly to a T. (Dork alert!)
9. Zephyr's Garden products. With the War On Crud in full swing, we've added a new weapon to our arsenal this year. These guys' products are all herbal, but don't mistake that for namby-pamby pansy power. These things are for real. We also love their fly spray, as it both works and smells like herbs instead of like cancer. And it's entirely possible that the Sore Muscle Salve lives in the bathroom and not in the grooming stall. (Hey, triathlons are hard, guys.)