As the heat of summer bears down upon us, it can make saddling up to go for a ride a dreaded, rather than an anticipated, activity. But it doesn’t have to be that way – there are countless ways that you can keep yourself cool in the saddle during the summer. Here are just a few ideas to get you started.
Tall boots are wonderful, stylish, and – once broken in – comfortable, but they’re also warm. Consider replacing your tall boots with a pair of half chaps when you’re just schooling or hacking at home. Half chaps are lighter and can be slipped on over your breeches just before you ride. Then, you can take them off as soon as you dismount, helping to keep you cooler throughout the process.
Whether you’re using tall boots or chaps, the breeches that you select play an important role in how comfortable you will be during the summer. Look for breeches that are made out of lightweight, breathable material. These breeches will allow for greater circulation and can help keep you cool. Breeches made out of breathable cotton are an excellent choice for summer riding.
Leather riding gloves are great for the fall and winter, but your hands will quickly get sweaty inside them during the summer. Look for a pair of riding gloves that are made specifically for summer riding. The gloves should be breathable and lightweight, and they should provide maximum air circulation to help keep your hands from sweating.
When looking at riding shirts or jackets for the summer, lightweight, breathable fabrics are the best. A shirt that doesn’t fit you too tightly, and that leaves some room between the fabric and your body, will allow for natural ventilation as you’re riding. Polyester shirts are great for their moisture wicking and breathability properties, plus they’re still comfortable after hours at the barn.
When it comes to choosing a show or competition jacket, look for one that’s breathable and lightweight. While many disciplines mandate dark-colored jackets, if you’re able to compete with a lighter-colored jacket, that will help to reduce the added heat from the sun. Be sure that the shirt you wear beneath the jacket is also as lightweight and as breathable as possible.