6 summertime hardships all riders face #HorseWorldProblems

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  • Come December when it’s pouring with rain or we’re breaking the ice on the trough, these things will be the least of our worries. But right now, here are a few summer hardships we’re struggling with...

    1. White hands on brown arms

    Having experienced the delight of rope burns and having learnt that lesson well, we now follow the sage advice of wear riding gloves at all times while riding/handling horses, which means, like most riders, we are blessed with some interesting tan lines. The most amusing of these lies around the wrists, with hands that are so pale by comparison to your forearms that they look like they belong to a different individual completely.

    Of course, if you want to avoid joining this popular club this summer, check out some of the best summer riding gloves, which are made of a special lightweight, cool fabric that allows tanning to take place through the back of the glove, so your hands can tan at the same rate as your wrists and arms. What a great idea!

    Roeckl Laila Suntan Gloves at amazon.co.uk
    These gloves combine thin, tan-through mesh on the backhand with a palm made from highly breathable and grippy material, which makes them ideal for summer.

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    LeMieux Soleil Mesh Riding Gloves at amazon.co.uk
    Available in black or white, these gloves have a four-way stretch breathable power mesh on the topside, and a grippy palm that provides a close-fitting contact and good feel on the reins.

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    2. White legs (despite incredibly brown arms)

    Continuing with a theme here. Riders legs, never being out of breeches, can be so pasty in relation to the corresponding arms that they actually reflect sunlight when on a rare afternoon off, they are exposed to a few rays. Given this unprecedented exposure, you can be sure they will proceed to turn the shade of a winner’s rosette in the time it takes to ride prelim 18. Time to dig out the factor 50, as unfortunately we are unaware of any tan through breeches being available.

    3. Deeply (un)attractive red lumps on both arms and legs

    Courtesy of horseflies. For us more delicate specimens, a horsefly bite (or three) can render us not just cursing and scratching, but coming up in impressively large welds as our skin reacts as aggressively as a mare you’ve decided to ride at feed time. Nothing eases the irritation, whereas the heat exacerbates it tenfold. *scratch, scratch*

    4. Damp socks…

    This is one of those situations where you really can’t win. Either you continue to wear your sensible, protective boots while doing essential tasks around the yard, and end up with damp sweaty feet… or, despite all advice, reason and common sense, you swap out of your sensible, protective footwear into trainers. Trainers that have holes in them — either because they’re your old, knackered trainers that are now consigned to the yard, or because they’re your smart running trainers that you paid extra for to have holes in, to make you more aerodynamic or something.

    If these do happen to be in the car and you think it won’t destroy them to wear them at the yard just this once, please note that it will. You will inevitably end up hosing off a horse in these shoes. Because it’s hot. So hot you put your trainers on. And if you avoid hosing off a horse in them, then you’ll spill not insignificant amounts from a water bucket over your feet instead. NB: please don’t ever choose flipflops if you wish to retain all your toes.

    5. and the dirt comes too

    In addition to being soggy (see above), your socks (and consequently feet) will also be filled/covered with sand/dirt/bedding from the school/field gateway/stable. Because it’s so damn hot you put on those trainers with holes in. And then you got on with things.

    6. The sting of a horse’s tail

    There are few things more briefly painful that a tail lash, invariably to the face, while you try to groom your equine as a fly lands on his flank. And another one. Oh it’s back again. Relentlessly. Unsurprisingly, since horse tail is used to string violins I believe, this stings rather a lot.

    Other than that, summer with horses (relaxing ride on a chilled equine before sunset anyone?) is heaven, and we wouldn’t swap it for the world.

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