Summer is a season of sunny days, warm breezes, and endless opportunities for outdoor adventures. For equine enthusiasts, these months are the perfect time to create a summer bucket list for you and your horse. Whether you are an experienced rider or a beginner seeking new equine experience, summer offers a wide range of exciting pursuits that promote your relationship and your horse’s physical health. From long trail rides through lush forests to obstacle courses to test your skills, summer opens the gates to a world of outdoor adventures waiting to be conquered. So, saddle up and prepare for a summer you and your horse will never forget.
Though you can take your horse trail riding in colder weather, a leisurely stroll through nature stands as one of the best and most popular summer activities. Trail riding is a great way to add variety to your schooling and showing routine, giving your horse a bit of a break from the rigorous showcase schedule. Instead, you and your horse can enjoy a trail ride's scenic views and natural atmosphere. If you plan to jump, be sure to wear the proper gear!
Head down to a small pond, still creek, shallow lake, or any other calming body of water with your equine for a quick and easy way to cool off in the summer. The key is nice tranquil water without any current and an easily accessible entry and exit. The time of year may also be a factor. Some swimming sites are inhospitable until later summer months, so make sure that you do your research. Once you pick your location, remember to pack the appropriate gear, such as a helmet or bareback and be sure to bring a friend in case of emergencies. If you have never taken your horse swimming, allow your horse to get comfortable in the water before embarking on a full “swim meet.” And, of course, have fun! You and your horse will be thankful amidst the summer heat!
Obstacle courses are one of the most valuable activities to teach your horse a wide assortment of skills necessary for more complex tricks or longer trail rides, and they are relatively easy to create. If you can’t get to a local obstacle course, use your imagination, a few buckets, poles, and planks of wood to make your own. Your horse will enhance their reaction time, elevate their listening skills, boost their confidence in the face of riding challenges, and improve their relationship with you. Even if you aren’t in preparation for showcases or competitions, an obstacle course is a great way to develop a deeper bond with your horse amidst the summer months.
Go Horseback Riding at the Beach
Unfortunately, most of us don’t have the luxury of living close to a coastline. But if that is the case for you, take advantage of your location! Like trail riding, this change in routine is a great way to keep things interesting, especially with the scenic view of waves and sand as your landscape. If you plan to embark on this adventure, avoid riding at higher speeds in deeper sand, as this will strain your horse's tendons and ligaments; instead, guide your horse along the firm sand near the crashing waves. Beaches derived from mostly sand, minimal rocks, and long stretches of open seaside land are optimal for your beachy summer ride.
Have a “Spa Day” with your Horse
Though summer is a great season for riding, sometimes, amidst the warmest of months, the weather becomes too hot for a full ride. If the heat of the day is too much for you and your horse, then opt for a “spa” day instead. Though many riders hose their horses down after a long ride, taking the time to pamper your horse will help your horse avoid heat stress, prevent an overabundance of horse flies, promote overall cleanliness and health, and continue to develop your bond. For the treatment itself, pick a shampoo like Equine Medical and Surgical Associates’ Map Skin Shampoo for a full body bath to remove any harmful bacteria or debris and a conditioner to brush through their mane and tail gently. From this point, depending on your supplies, there are countless possibilities. You can perform an oil treatment, a nice trim with scissors or clippers, or give your horse a fancy mane or braid tail.
Picnic or Camp with Your Horse
Feeling exhausted from trail rides and obstacle courses? It sounds like the perfect opportunity to just spend some quality one on one time with your horse. Whether you decide to pack your saddle bags and ride to your favorite quiet spot on a trail ride or walk your horse to the nearest shady tree to sit down, the one-on-one time with your horse is all that matters.
Now that you have a small summer bucket list with your equine, pack your bags, head to the barn, and enjoy every warm moment of the summer months! These activities will not only promote you and your horse’s friendship, but they will also maintain your horse’s physical health. Here at Equine Medical and Surgical Associates, our priority is to help get your horse back to health so that you can enjoy your special time together. If, at any time during this season, you notice your horse is a little off, contact our veterinarian, Dr. Reilly. Dr. Reilly has 32 years of experience and is dedicated to helping educate owners and helping their horses improve. He is readily available for you to contact with any questions here!