9 Ways to Beat the Heat This Summer

As the summer months draw near and temperatures get warmer, it’s important to remember how to stay proactive and avoid overheating, for both yourself and your horse. With long days, high temperatures, and extreme humidity levels, overheating can happen fast and with little warning. Horses can fall victim to heat stress much faster than their humans, and they don’t have the words to tell us they’re overheating until it may be too late. But with proper actions on your part, you can keep your horse and yourself cool all summer long.

1. Hydrate.

This is a no brainer, but when temperatures start to heat up again and we are sweating more than we’re accustomed to, hydration levels can fall fast. Drink plenty of water both before and after your ride, and snack on hydrating foods such as cucumbers, strawberries, and watermelon. If you struggle to drink enough water, use a hydration booster or find a water bottle with labels to remind you to drink throughout the day.

Similarly, always make sure your horse has access to water to stay hydrated. A quick way to tell if a horse is dehydrated is to pinch a small amount of skin on its neck; if the skin takes more than a few seconds to even back out, the horse may be dehydrated. Electrolyte supplements are a quick way to restore a horse’s hydration if it isn’t drinking enough water. You can also encourage a horse to drink water by adding apple juice or honey to their water.

2. Ride at the beginning or end of the day.

Typically, the sun is strongest in the middle of the day, heating up temperatures to their highest points in the afternoons. If you can ride first thing in the morning, you’ll likely beat the heat and can get on with the rest of your day. If you can’t ride until later in the day, wait until the sun is down and the temperatures have cooled off slightly.

3. Ride efficiently.

Over the summer, it’s important to know how to make your rides as efficient as possible so you both aren’t out in the heat working for too long. Focus on exercises that challenge your horse but don’t physically demand as much when the heat is extreme. You can get a lot done in a smaller amount of time if you are intentional about every minute in the saddle.

4. Always monitor breathing.

If you feel your horse breathing excessively or see its nostrils flaring more than normal, it may be time for a break or the end of the ride. Also be aware of how long it takes for your horse’s respiratory rate to return to normal. If a horse is struggling with labored breathing in the heat, put it in front of the fan and spray its body with rubbing alcohol to cool it down. If labored breathing continues, you may need to call your vet.

5. Shower and sweat-scrape.

Hot days can lead to sweaty horses, so cool showers feel good and help them cool down. The most important areas are the chest, neck, and between the legs. Once you spray their bodies, quickly scrape the excess water, as it can heat up on the surface of their skin quickly and cause discomfort for an already hot horse.

6. Clip winter coats.

\Though horses naturally shed their winter coats, some might need extra help getting rid of the remaining hair that may be making them extra hot. This is particularly important on really hot competition days, as significant effort is required and extra hair could lead to overheating. Keep coats clipped throughout the summer and have a sheet handy for nights when the temperature dips somewhat.

7. Wear lightweight materials.

We all have our favorite ventilated, moisture-wicking clothes we like to wear on the hottest days. Companies like EIS, Ariat, and even mainstream sports brands like Under Armour make very breathable fabrics that are ideal for riding. While we may know what keeps us coolest while riding, we also have to keep this in mind for our horses. Use saddle pads made from thinner materials that wick moisture and cover less area on the horse.

8. Adjust the turnout schedule.

If the days get too hot, you may want to turn out at night or very early in the mornings. If the sun is shining, be sure your horse has ample shade to relax in while turned out.

9. Fans, fans, fans!

There’s no such thing as too many fans in a hot barn. They help keep everyone cool on hot days and maintain proper airflow throughout the facility. It’s important that every horse has a fan in its stall, plus additional fans in the grooming areas for post-ride cooldowns and to dry them after showers. Plus, it feels pretty good to stand in front of a fan after a hot ride.

While the cold can be uncomfortable, heat can bring its own problems, so we have to be smart about how to beat the heat and keep everyone safe and healthy. Keeping all these tips in mind, you’re sure to have a great summer with your horse. You can make the most of hot summer days without fretting about overheating yourself or your horse.

7 Tips to Effectively Manage Horses and School

The school year may look different in the fall of 2020, but it doesn’t mean students are any less busy than during a typical school year. From classes and assignments to college applications and outside tutoring sessions, it can be hard to find time to ride and care for horses. BarnManager is here to help you navigate the transition back to school while ensuring your horses’ care and programs don’t slip through the cracks.

1. Enlist a team you trust.

Everyone knows that behind every successful duo in the show ring is a knowledgeable, capable, and devoted team. We’ve all heard the phrase, “it takes a village,” and with horses, it’s no different. From the trainer, to the groom, vet, parent, chiropractor, sibling, and everyone in between, it’s crucial to develop relationships with the team surrounding you and your horse to know he or she is in the best of hands when school gets too demanding. Trusting individuals with your horse’s care will allow you the peace of mind to devote yourself to the most important task at any given moment and not worry about your horse’s care or training.

2. Maintain regular communication.

Even with your team in place, you still need to communicate among all team members to ensure everyone is on the same page and nothing gets overlooked. If you can only come ride two days per week, let the trainer know when you will be there and when you expect your horse to be ridden by someone else. This way, you avoid mix-ups and assumptions that can leave everyone frustrated. Communicate about all the little things, as well, including supplements, vet visits, and other details about which you would like to stay informed.

3. Keep it digital.

We live in a constantly evolving digital world, but we can use technology to our advantage to better track what’s going on with our horses. Using a platform like BarnManager allows for consistent messaging and communication. The advantage to a digital space for communicating is to be able to refer back to a conversation that happened. This way, you won’t wonder if you forgot to mention something to your trainer or groom about your horse, and you will be able to review what your trainer may have already relayed to you.

4. Stay on top of your (and your horse’s) goals.

Have a conversation with your team at the beginning of the school year about your upcoming riding goals. Whether it’s wanting to move up, qualify for finals, or just have a good time getting to know your horse in the show ring, this will adequately prepare everyone to manage time and resources most effectively to accomplish these goals. If you have specific goals in mind for your horse, make sure your trainer knows this from the get-go and be sure to check in on how those goals are progressing throughout the year, even if you can’t be there to see for yourself.

5. Keep watching the sport.

Another benefit of the digital world coming to life in horse sports is the utilization of live streams at competitions across the country. If your schedule doesn’t allow you to ride or compete as frequently, be sure to tune into some live streams when you have time. You can learn so much from watching others navigate a course, and most platforms let you watch for free and even allow replays. If you’re a good multi-tasker, have a competition on in the background while you finish schoolwork; if not, reward yourself for finishing a daunting task by turning on a horse show.

6. Prioritize.

Perhaps the most important, yet most difficult aspect of being a horse owner or rider is prioritizing tasks. Begin each month and each week by analyzing what you have to do and what is most important to you and your personal goals. Do you want to make good grades and get into the college of your dreams? Maybe riding needs to take a back seat. Do you want to qualify for indoors and maybe ride in college one day? Then perhaps riding should play a bigger role in your everyday life. Of course, prioritizing your time is a conversation that must happen with your family and everyone involved in your efforts, both riding-related and academic, but it is important to know what matters most to you, so you can know how to effectively allocate your time.

7. Manage your time.

Perhaps the most important tactic in maintaining good grades while also riding and competing is effective time management. Make every hour count by scheduling your ride times and making efficiency a top priority as you go about your day. If you have a solid grasp on your time and don’t let it slip away chatting with barn friends or scrolling through social media, you’ll have more time in your day to devote to schoolwork and riding. Being a student also requires creative solutions for getting your work done, whether it’s in transit to or from a horse show, in between classes at a show, during free periods at school, or any other pockets of time you can use to your advantage.

Above all, this year is a time to emphasize safety while navigating both school and riding, so be sure not to forget safety protocols when going about your busy days. Focusing on safety, studying, and riding is a tough balance to achieve, but keeping all these factors in mind will help you on the path to accomplishing goals in everything you do.


BarnManager is designed to be a part of your team, with the compatibility and credentials necessary to improve communication, simplify the management of horses, and get you out of the office, off the phone calls, and into the barn with the horses you care about! Click here to get a free demo and find out more!