5 Ways to Keep Your Horse Cool at a Show

by Caitlyn Andrews July 27, 2015

5 Ways to Keep a Horse Cool at a Horse Show

It's summer and that means the show season is upon us. The familiar atmosphere of the horse show is around you. The smell of freshly cleaned leather tack, the distinct jasmine scent of ShowSheen, the rustling of the hay bags, the shrill whinnies as horses arrive and look around the grounds for their stable mates. Oh yeah, and the heat.

That pressing, smothering, dead heat of summer that almost always accompanies a horse show. You're dressed to the nines and drenched in sweat. As hot as you are, your horse can get even hotter. Here are some tips to help your horse stay cool during the show.

Tips to Keep Your Horse Cool at a Show

1. The Early Bird Gets the Worm

The worm, in this case, being the shady trailer spot next to the water hose. Get everything ready the night before the show so all you have to do in the morning is load up and go. Not every showground will have the luxury of a shaded spot to park, but if there are any they will fill up fast. Be prepared and get there early to put the odds in your favor.

2. Water, Water, Water

This seems obvious, but it can be overlooked during a busy show. Make sure to offer your horse a drink every chance you get. Some horses can be finicky, so try bringing some water from home in case your horse decides he doesn't like the water at the show. Depending on the length of the show and your situation, electrolytes may be beneficial in replacing the lost salt from sweating. Remember, you can lead a horse to water but you can't make it drink, but you sure can try!

3. When in Doubt, Strip

Your horse that is. In between classes remove your horse's saddle, blanket, boots, and wraps. Every bit of tack you can remove will let his skin breathe and help him cool off. If you don't have much time between classes you should loosen the girth at the very least. Use a sweat scraper to remove the sweat from beneath the girth and saddle.

4. Lather, Rinse, Repeat

Well, sort of. A quick, easy way to help your horse cool off is to hose or sponge your horse off, then immediately scrape off the water. Rinse and repeat. Scraping the water is essential, otherwise, the water will become trapped in the horse's hair and quickly warm up. Pour on water, scrape it off, pour some more, scrape it off. Just keep repeating until your horse has cooled down.

5. Beat the Heat with... Heat?

It sounds counteractive, but you can help your horse get ready for the heat of a summer show with heat. Most riders work their horse in the cooler mornings or evenings during the summer. Try to work your horse briefly during the heat of the day as well to help him acclimate to the heat of a show. An all day show in the blazing heat is going to be much harder on your horse if he hasn't worked in the heat yet. Use the same tips at home to keep your horse cool if you are going to ride during the hotter hours of the day.

It's inevitable. If you show horses then at some point you are bound to run into a hot show day. Your best defense against the sun is to be prepared. Follow the steps above and enjoy the show!

Caitlyn Andrews
Caitlyn Andrews


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