Welp… it’s official! Summer has arrived and in the words of Nelly, “It’s getting HOT in Herrrree”! Like most equestrians, I love the season because I have more daylight to spend with my horse… but sometimes let’s face it… it is just too dang hot to ride! But that doesn’t mean you can’t still have a blast at the barn!
Take a look at my top 8 horsey activities to do when it's too hot to ride.
1. Take An Early Morning Hack
Going on an early morning hack or trail ride is one of my favorite summer activities. Not only do you beat the heat of the day by going first thing in the morning, but they are so fun for both you and your horse. Trail rides are good for the soul and offer a change of pace from normal schooling routines that can become especially tedious in the summer. Find a nice shady path and get out and explore.
2. Ride BarebackThere are some days where the thought of stuffing my sweaty legs into a pair of breeches sounds impossible and tacking up is akin to climbing a mountain. Those are the days where I grab my trustiest steed, round up some barn buddies, and hop on for some bareback shenanigans. Some days it's enough to just putz around and pretend my horse is a western pleasure pony, and then some days it’s pedal to the metal to see who can do the craziest stunt, or get through the relay race the quickest. There may have even been some unsanctioned “barrel races” and pole course “jump-offs” over the years growing up that I managed to not die from. I promise you are never too old for some bareback fun.
3. Go SwimmingNow if you’re lucky enough to have access to a pond or lake where you can take your horse, that is the ultimate summer activity! Not only is it a cool and refreshing option, but it's a blast and can even be beneficial fitness-wise for your horse. It may take a few tries to get them acclimated but before you know it you may have a swimming fiend on your hand… or at the very least a horse that will tolerate your antics. If you don’t have access to a body of water, a sprinkler in the middle of your ring may or may not have the same ambiance.
4. Horse PopsiclesYour horse will love you for this tasty and refreshing treat! Simply cut up some apples, carrots, or any of your horse’s favorite fruit, throw them in a Tupperware with water or even Gatorade and stick them in your freezer. Shabam, HORSE POPSICLES! My horse will spend ages playing with her treat until she reaches the chilly fruit inside. Plus you’ll have just as much fun making it as your horse will have eating it.
5. Spa Day!Most likely, if it's too hot to ride, then your horse is a bit sweaty as well, so what better time to give them a full-on makeover! It’s a great opportunity to pull their mane and trim up their whiskers and then give them a good ole’ bubble bath. And if you’re anything like me, you’ll end up giving yourself a bath as well. After my horse is squeaky clean I like to set her in front of a fan to dry off and munch on some hay. It may just be me, but seeing my horse content and happy is the best feeling in the world.
6. Get Your Craft OnThis one is for all the pony camps out there or anyone needing activities to keep kiddos busy. In the height of Covid quarantine, Michelle and I made a whole blog post dedicated to fun horsey-themed crafts that are guaranteed to keepx kids (and even adults) entertained. I especially loved making the pool noodle horses… and if Michelle and I can make these crafts, then anyone can!
7. Paint JumpsA barn favorite each summer growing up was getting to repaint all the jumps in the arena. We would spend days brainstorming fun designs and then on those hot days where we couldn’t ride, we’d head to the hardware store, pick out paint, and create what we deemed “masterpieces”. You can even make a little contest out of it, have your barn submit design ideas, and then have everyone vote for their favorite.
8. Let’s Get CleaningNow this one may not seem super fun, but there is nothing more satisfying than a completely clean barn. This is the day to de-cobweb those stalls, blow out the aisles, and reorganize the tack room. Get your barn buddies and crank up the tunes for an afternoon of fun AND productivity!
Just because you’ve turned into a pile of sweaty mush doesn’t mean you still can’t enjoy some time at the barn and with your horse. There are plenty of fun activities that take it easy on your horse when the temperature is sky-high. Want to add something to the list? Comment below!