View Full Version : Spinoff: How do you deal with the HEAT?

Mar. 25, 2012, 02:36 PM
Spin-off from the thread about the best helmet to wear in the heat....

It seems like the temperatures are rising way too quickly this year. I live in the South, so this means a very long, hot summer is ahead. What does everyone do to try to beat the heat (besides having a well ventilated helmet)?! When it gets really hot, I will ride early in the mornings, but it still seems like I am worn out after just half an hour of flatwork. I am physically fit- I workout five days a week, but that is indoors, and the heat outside wears me down very quickly while riding.
Thanks for any suggestions!

Mar. 25, 2012, 02:44 PM
Hydrate. And when you have water coming out your ears drink some more. :). I also think that the more time you can spend in the heat the better--a friend of mine actually did yoga in a sauna when preparing for Beijing. I hate summer!

Mar. 25, 2012, 02:46 PM
Make sure you eat before you ride and stay well hydrated. If its really hot, have some kind of drink with electrolytes.

Mar. 25, 2012, 02:47 PM
I feel your pain. I squeezed in a quick ride at 11ish and it was hell between the flies and the heat and it's not even April yet! I usually ride first thing in the am and luckily, we have a shedrow in the barn and good tree cover in a few of the riding paddocks!

Mar. 25, 2012, 02:58 PM
I was just thinking about this as we had a three day heat wave of 80s and all of them left me with terrible migraines. Has anyone ever rode in a chill vest? Usually summer riding doesn't leave me that bad but summer horse shows do and I'm wondering if maybe something like that would help (I don't feel [as] sick from shows in the fall or winter.)

Sorry to hijack but maybe a chill vest would help?

Mar. 25, 2012, 03:49 PM
Drink SO much water. 2-3 liters per ride, easily. It helps. Also, having lots of fans around (even going outside at the corners of the ring where you can stop) helps too for a break. I feel your pain...riding in the South is not easy!

Mar. 25, 2012, 04:04 PM
I tend to favor the "hose yourself when you hose the horse" method. lol I've found that soaking my hair with cold water really helps make me feel so much cooler for a longer period of time. I have a lot of hair so it hold a lot of water for awhile and it gradually drips down my neck and shoulders which feels oh so good.

Mar. 25, 2012, 04:27 PM
SmartWater. Regular water (no electrolytes) doesn't help me as much as electrolyte water (and gatorade has too much sugar).

Long sleeve blouses help too. Finding a way to get the boots off every once in a while. Wet hair...

This coming from someone who grew up near Thermal...

Mar. 25, 2012, 04:38 PM
ride early in the morning and late in the afternoon. If you are riding when it is sunny out, ride in the shade like a covered arena. Drink lots of water like everyone said. I carry a bottle into the arena with me. Acclimate. Start getting used to the heat early on, taking lots of walk breaks until you get used to the heat and humidity.

Mar. 25, 2012, 04:42 PM
And I forgot to add, I keep a case of water bottles in my truck at all times, so I always have water available.

Mar. 25, 2012, 05:12 PM
I wake up at 5:30 every morning in the summer to ride before camp starts if I don't have a lesson in the evening. There's no one else around, which is a nice bonus! At horse shows, one of the moms brought these wash cloths that had some sort of cooling property in them and kept them in the cooler wet for everyone. So nice to wipe down any part of skin showing and then wrapping them around your neck. I'm sure a regular wash cloth would work too.

Mar. 25, 2012, 05:46 PM
Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. That 2-L per day thing is recommended water replacement for someone who sits inside all day. Exercising outside in the heat, you should be closer to 4L every 8 hrs. Pre-hydrate too! Don't forget that coffee is a diuretic so if the first thing you do is have a cup of coffee, you're starting your day off in the red, water-wise. You should be going to the bathroom about every 2 hours.

If you feel yourself getting shaky, eat something (especially salty food), drink something, and run cold water on your pressure points (wrists, neck, somewhere else I forget). Take your helmet off whenever possible to get some of that heat to dissipate.

For reference, symptoms of dehydration:
-headache with mild nausea
-dark urine
-thirst (if you're thirsty you are ALREADY dehydrated)

symptoms of heat exhaustion:
-fatigue, possibly with dizziness
-increased heart rate
-increased respiration rate
-pale clammy skin
-nausea, may have vomiting

Heat exhaustion can take 6-8 HOURS to recover, so if you reach this level you may need to be done for the day. Rest, rehydrate (sugar helps kickstart your metabolism, so gatorade is actually a good choice at this point), eat something, take off excess clothing, add cool cloths to body.

Mar. 25, 2012, 05:49 PM
At shows I soak my head and make sure my hair is good and wet. I then put my helmet on and let the water run down my neck. At home, if it is really hot, i usually just wimp out and don't ride.

Mar. 25, 2012, 06:07 PM
I'm terrible in the heat and get overheated so easily. I second what people have said about the electrolytes, hydration, and cooling yourself off with cold water. The pre-hydration is also key for me. I've found that if I don't do that, I almost always overheat.

Sometimes I also pre-game with something like GU (the gummy version) or Sports Beans.

Mar. 25, 2012, 06:12 PM
I tend to favor the "hose yourself when you hose the horse" method. lol I've found that soaking my hair with cold water really helps make me feel so much cooler for a longer period of time. I have a lot of hair so it hold a lot of water for awhile and it gradually drips down my neck and shoulders which feels oh so good.

Yes, and keeping wash cloths in your cooler will help at shows. Apply to the back of the neck and the wrists frequently. It really helps.

Mar. 25, 2012, 06:25 PM
I use a cooling vest and love it. They don't work very well in high humidity but if a cooling vest isn't going to keep you cool then your body's (and your horse's) natural cooling system isn't going to work either, and it's probably best to avoid strenuous activity outdoors at that point.

Mar. 25, 2012, 08:15 PM
• Ride in the morning or evening hours.

• Drink plenty of fluids.

• Soak a bandana in water and tie it around my neck.

• Wear a hat.

Formal Affairs
Mar. 25, 2012, 10:34 PM
I live in South FL, and probably ride at about ten in the morning during the summer.

I forego the polo in favor of a tank top.

I ride the darker horses in the evening, for both of our sakes.

Every walk break, get lots of water and some shade.

Rip off the helmet and boots the instant I get off the horse and soak my hair when I rinse off bits, boots, neoprene girths, etc.

Mar. 25, 2012, 11:36 PM
I just beg my trainer to let us play in the water complex every single day. :lol: The horse I lease thinks the point is to make the biggest possible splash, so that works out well.

On the practical side... I refuse to school in cotton breeches during the summer. I have spandex ones that are about as close to running tights as I can get; they're also a size or two too big, so they don't stick to my skin as much.

Mar. 26, 2012, 12:39 AM
I always found being and staying outside helped me to acclimate. It's so much worse when you go from air conditioning to outside to air conditioning to back outside. I found the more I was outside the more I got used to it.

I hate being wet when it's already so hot and humid out, so I try for cool max type fabrics and things that wick. For me wet washcloths and such just made me feel gross and even sweatier.

They used to have cool packs you could put in your helmet but I don't remember the name and havent seen them in a few years.

Mar. 26, 2012, 09:54 AM
Stay hydrated is the biggest thing - the best way is to take a 1-5 minute water break for every 15 minutes you ride. Don't bring those little plastic water bottles - get yourself a big jug, at least 1/2 gallon capacity. If you're afraid of really getting overheated, bring a second water bottle (maybe a 20-oz plastic one or whatever) and let that one be room temperature/hot. Drink a sip or two from that (as disgusting as it sounds) before you drink the cool water, so it won't jar your stomach.

If you decide to drink gatorade/powerade, only have one bottle a day. It's designed to be super-diluted, too, so I drink half the bottle first, fill it back to full with water, and continue the cycle until I can't taste the gatorade.

I've never had good luck with tank tops keeping me cooler, because then I have to wear sunscreen or get burnt, and sunscreen feels icky to me. I'd go with t-shirts, but make sure they're loose and light-colored (white is best). I second the idea of soaking a bandana/towel with water and wearing it around your neck when you can. You can even freeze it, if you're really brave, and stay cooler longer, but it hurts when you first put it on.

Mar. 26, 2012, 10:02 AM
This sounds crazy, but it works: A white cotton t-shirt under a long-sleeved thin white cotton shirt. That's what construction workers use, and it makes you feel like you are wearing air-conditioning. Also, those cold neck wraps they sell to keep the back of your neck cool...and of course, water. Oops, I see someone else posted something similar...so I second it..

Mar. 26, 2012, 10:34 AM
I've lived in South Florida my whole life and have found the best way to deal with it is to try to ride early in the morning or in the evening. Riding during the day, if you can avoid it, is just unnecessarily brutal. If you're showing or something and have to ride during the day, pick up a Frog Tog -- they sell them at Bed Bath & Beyond. They're some special fabric material that you get wet and put in the fridge until you go to the barn, and they stay cold for hours. I've been known to ride with one tucked under my collar. A couple girls at my barn have those big visors that attach to their helmets and they say those help as well.

Mar. 26, 2012, 02:06 PM
I hate, hate, hate the cold, so the heat is welcome any time:)

When it is really hot here in central NY though, I ride early and do less (for the horses sake)...it never gets that terrible; not FL or NC/SC high temps anyway.

Mar. 26, 2012, 02:19 PM
Many have already mentioned it, but drink lots of water! And keep an eye on your horse that they aren't getting too hot either. Don't forget sunscreen. I did yesterday and the back of my neck got a little red :(

I can't ride in the early mornings due to work and barn hours, so I usually ride in the evenings during the week, while it still may be hot and muggy, at least the sun isn't beating down and making it worse, lol. And I find, no matter how hot and sweaty I may get, as soon as I get back in the car and turn the ac on, I cool right down.

Part of it too I think is your attitude/approach to the weather. There is nothing I can do about the weather in south Florida, so I just accept it and work with it as I enjoy my time outside with my horse and I'd be stuck inside for half the year otherwise, lol.

Stay cool!

Mar. 26, 2012, 02:22 PM
Troxel-type helmet, tank top (not the strappy ones -- the normal wifebeater-like ones) and full chaps/shorts. Put the chaps on right before you mount, take 'em off as soon as you loosen your girth (I have a rule that I have to make the horse more comfy before I can make myself so, makes sure I don't lose sight of their hard work).

Another tip -- if you are not too well-endowed, wear a regular bra instead of a sports bra. Sports bras are WAYYY too hot/confining to be comfortable. They make me feel like I can't breathe. It gives you added incentive to ride smoothly, too.

TPF Hunter
Mar. 26, 2012, 02:34 PM
For the horse:
I will groom my horse as usual then give him a full body rinse and throw the tack on quickly. While I ride he stays much much cooler as that water evaporates off of him.

For Me:
Ride under lights at night, or if I have to ride in the sun I drink lots of water and ride for only 15 min or so.

My horse comes before me so I try to do everything that will benefit him first. He gets a rinse before I even take off my helmet and halfchaps.

Mar. 26, 2012, 05:32 PM
What a great topic! I don't mind the heat too much myself, it's the humidity that KILLS me. I try to ride later in the evenings but being in the south it stays warmer/humid even after the sun goes down. It really doesn't matter what time I ride, I always sweat like an animal! :no:

I'm a big water drinker to begin with so that helps some.. but actually changing my clothes a few times after sweating helps cool me down. I actually feel much better putting on dry items rather than sitting in my sweaty soaked duds. I do like the idea of a cool vest or something along those lines too.

Mar. 26, 2012, 06:00 PM
I used to love the heat, even when I lived in FL, but middle age has changed that, and the last few summers have been brutal.

I only ride early in the AM or at night. Early AM is actually better, its much cooler than at night and usually less humid. Lots of water. Coolmax type shirts. A regular cotton bra, not a sports bra. And thin twill breeches a size too large so they're looser. Nothing worse than peeling off sweaty sticky breeches, yuck. A well vented helmet.

Rico also suffers from mild anihidrosis in high humidity, another reason I only ride early AM. And he gets hosed off pre and post ride. If its over 90, I don't ride, period. Sounds wimpy, but I'm just not willing to torture either of us.

Mar. 27, 2012, 09:05 PM
Thanks for all the great tips!! I will definitely look into several of these ideas :)