There is nothing better than going for a long hack with your horse on a warm summer day. Through the long, muddy winter it’s dreaming of summer rides that keeps us going, so here are our suggestions to make the most of your hacking this summer.
Explore New Routes
If you’re always hacking the same routes, why not explore a little this summer? An Ordnance Survey map will help you find local bridleways, or ask friends at the yard for some suggestions. Plan a longer hack with a stop for lunch and bring a picnic too! The Zilco Insulated Combo Saddle Bagis the perfect way to take your sandwiches on the go. With insulated pockets, this saddle bag keeps your food and drink cold and even has space in the middle section to store a raincoat in case of any unexpected summer showers.
Handling the Heat
Sizzling hot summer days can be a shock when we are used to cold, wet weather most of the year. Keep you and your horse comfortable on hot days with these tips:
- Avoid the midday sun and opt to ride early in the morning or later in the evening.
- Seek out shadier hacking routes, such as woodland trails.
- Take it steady on harder ground to protect your horse’s legs from damage.
- Stay hydrated – the Zilco Drink Bottle Bag easily attaches to the saddle to keep thirst at bay. Allow your horse to drink from streams or troughs if you pass them and remember to offer them water on return from your ride.
- Apply fly spray before your ride and use a fly veil to prevent your horse being irritated.
Breathable fabrics also help to keep you cool and dry. The Rhinegold Performance Riding Tights are a great option for summer hacking thanks to their sporty fabric and zip pocket to keep your phone safe. For your horse, look for saddlecloths with a breathable lining like the Rhinegold Performance Saddlecloth, or the Rhinegold Elite Vented Saddle Pad which not only has a ventilated lining but a vented spine to help with airflow. If your horse needs a little more padding, the Zilco Puffer Pad has a special fibre fill which doesn’t absorb sweat or water so dries quickly. It also has pockets on each side which is perfect for snacks if you don’t want to bring a Saddle Bag.
Hacking is fun but it’s also important to stay safe. Riding in the shadow of trees or hedges, as well as dazzling sunshine can make it difficult for drivers to see you. So, it’s important to wear high-vis all year round to keep you visible. Consider the environment you will be riding in when selecting the colour of high-vis as you want to contrast with your surroundings. In the summer, yellow could blend into green fields and bright yellow rapeseed crops, whereas orange may not stand out against autumn leaves. The Equisafety range has lots of great options, including some multi-colour products which will help your horse be seen in different environments. Some of our favourites for summer are the Multi Coloured Mesh Horse Ears which are great to stop bothersome flies and the Multi Coloured Mesh Quarter Sheet. Both of these products use lightweight mesh so are perfect for warmer weather and the multi coloured fabric reflects sunlight to keep your horse cooler.
Remember to take your phone with you out hacking. Not only is it a great way to photograph your hack and check the map if you get lost, but it’s essential if you have an accident. Hacking with a friend is a good idea too but if you’re heading for a solo ride, let someone from the yard know when you expect to be back.
We hope you have fantastic summer full of hacking with your horse!
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