keep dry and protect the tack
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Riding in the rain shouldn’t be unpleasant if you are well prepared with a waterproof kit for rider and horse, and proper aftercare
We might not be looking forward to riding in the rain, but you’re probably a lot more embarrassed about getting wet than your horse. If you live in England, where it rains about every other day, and avoid riding when it’s wet, you’ll cut your potential time in the saddle in half. Your horse will lose shape, but also developing proprioception that comes from learning to adapt to different conditions of the foot. And if you don’t ride home when it rains, what happens when it rains on competition day? You and the horse must be prepared for whatever the heavens have in store for you. Practice puddles? Check. Just be aware that rain can make the terrain slippery or deep and create poor visibility.
If possible, mount the horse in the stable, both to avoid having to sit in a wet and slippery saddle and to protect the harness. It may be a good idea to stay close to the house so that you can get home quickly if the weather gets really bad and strong winds or thunderstorms are forecast, it is best not to venture out. But in the everyday rain, once you’re wrapped up and in action, there’s a good chance you and the horse will barely notice. Remember that visibility is reduced in bad weather, so a high visibility kit for you as well as a high visibility kit for your horse is essential if you are on the move.
And there are plenty of steps you can take to make sure you don’t end up soaking wet and miserable. As with any other sport, a high-tech kit is available to keep you and your horse dry. You will also need to protect your leather upholstery, especially the saddle, from water damage.
Riding in the rain: the rider
Gear up properly and you might like to venture out into the elements. You will certainly feel smug when you return home with a cup of tea and dry toes. The most important outfit to stay dry is a decent rain jacket suitable for riding. It has to be waterproof, suitable for the season – a cozy jacket in winter, a light raincoat in summer – and then it’s up to you to choose the style. Would you rather fit in a long jacket, like The Equetech trench coat, which covers your upper leg and a large part of the saddle, or which fits you better for ease of movement, such as Tania from Weatherbeeta?
Check the labeling – ‘shower proof’ or ‘splash proof’ are not ideal for a downpour, while more technical materials such as Gore Tex with sealed seams are designed to withstand more than a downpour . Then there’s the finish, you can opt for lighter synthetic fabrics, or a more traditional waxed or oiled jacket, which are heavier but seem to stand the test of time. Be aware that, like your horse blankets, all waterproof jackets will eventually need waterproofing to maintain their water repellency.
Waterproof riding pants, whether breeches or leggings, are essential for keeping your legs dry. Waterproof breeches with grippy seats or knee pads are handy to help keep you safe in a slippery saddle. Depending on the time of year, you may want extra liners or extra wind protection. Again, check if the panty is waterproof and offers full protection or just water resistant. Darker colors are definitely an advantage when the mud starts to fly. Full leg warmers, such as Horseware Rambo fleece lining those, are a good idea in wet weather, although there are half-chaps designed for use in winter conditions, such as the AK Winter Warmax isolated half-chaps.
Alternatively, long, waterproof riding boots should help keep you warm, dry, and warm, while also giving you the same kind of feeling you would get from a normal riding boot as opposed to rubber boots. .
Finally, don’t forget your fingers – wet, numb hands on slippery reins are a recipe for losing control. The best winter riding gloves will strike a balance between waterproof insulation and tactility so your hands stay dry while still allowing you to feel on the reins. Look for gloves with good grip as this becomes even more important when the reins are wet.
Whatever the weather, always have a change of clothes in the yard or in your car, so that you are prepared for any eventuality.
Keep the horse comfortable
If you keep the horse moving so it doesn’t get cold, it just needs to get wet and dry as it would in the herd. However, a waterproof exercise sheet is a bonus in keeping large muscle groups in the hindquarters and back dry and warm, especially for fully shorn horses. These are available in a range of styles including high visibility. Whitaker Pull-On Rain Sheet covers the horse fully enough for horses hiding from the elements and also keeps the saddle dry.
Be sure to dry the horse off afterwards as you would if it were sweaty after a walk, and cover it appropriately. As soon as you take off, soak up the excess moisture by rubbing its coat with a towel and put a cooler blanket on the horse – whether it is sweaty or soaked in rain – to help its body temperature return to normal. normal. The thickness of the cooler will depend on the season. This will wick moisture away from his skin and coat in the cooler and keep the wind from cooling him. Do not turn it over until it is dry and at the right temperature.
Protect the tack after riding in the rain
Synthetic pantyhose withstands a good soaking better than leather, which will require extra care if soaked. Leather can dry out and crack, or it can mold if stored wet.
Some worksheets sit on top of the saddle, protecting it from the rain. Or you can use a waterproof saddle cover, however, test it at home first as some riders find them too slippery.
If your harness is wet, don’t panic. As soon as you have set up the horse and you are dry, you must take care of your leather case. Don’t leave it until the next day. Remove all saddle pads to dry, then wipe down the leather with a rag to remove any excess moisture. Use a good quality leather cleaner to nourish the grip, being careful not to use a lot of water, then follow up with a grip conditioner, such as NAF Leather Balm. Allow the leather to dry indoors, but not in direct sunlight or near a heater as this may allow the leather to warp and crack. A saddle can take over 24 hours to dry completely. Store the saddle uncovered on a rack so air can circulate, helping to prevent mold spores from forming. Once it is completely dry, treat again with a adhesion conditioner.
No excuse, now is the time to wrap up and embrace the elements!
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