Girls Horse Club Blog

No Fun in the Sun

Published by • Jun 28th, 2009 • Category: Riding Advice

by Allison, age 13

Stay Cool!Riding can be dangerous all times of the year, but summer poses an additional threat. When riding (where I live) in 100 or more degrees Fahrenheit, heat exhaustion and dehydration rear their ugly heads. Trust me, I know from experience. When taking a riding lesson a few days ago, I started to blackout. I had been feeling sick and tired for a while before that, but I didn’t want to stop riding! I got off and cooled down before I blacked out, but think of what could happen if you passed out on a horse!

So for all you summer riders, especially riders in hot temperatures (like me!), I give you a guide to staying safe in hot weather.

First, heat exhaustion. This is caused by overexposure to the sun or other sources of high temperatures. You may sweat, feel sick to your stomach, become very weak (I couldn’t undo the girth on my saddle, I could hardly muster the strength to reach it!), become tired, develop a headache, and eventually faint. If you start to feel any of these symptoms, get off your horse immediately! Sip water or a sports drink SLOWLY and rest in the shade for a little bit before you get back on your horse. This may not seem too urgent, but heat exhaustion can turn into sunstroke, which can put you into the hospital.

Dehydration occurs when your body loses more water than it takes in. You may stop sweating, feel nauseous, have muscle cramps, and be lightheaded. This can turn into something serious. If you don’t drink something, you will become lightheaded and very weak. And if you are dehydrated for a VERY long time (the time is shorter in high temperatures), you will go into a coma and die. But really, wouldn’t someone THAT thirsty go get a drink?

How can you try to prevent heat exhaustion and dehydration from happening? Drink a lot of water and eat some food before you go riding or on any other outside activity. Eating is very important! Unless you have something (food) to absorb the water in your stomach, you will throw it up. Try to ride in the shade as much as possible. Bring lots of water on your trail ride, especially if you are going alone. Follow the most important rule of trail ride safety — tell people where you are going and when you will be back. Bring a phone if possible. This way, if you faint from heat or become very dehydrated, people will know where and when to come help you.

I hope that this guide helps prevent some summer problems and helps everyone have a safe, fun time with their horse! If you have anything to add to this, feel free to comment!

28 Nickers »

  1. Excellent blog Allison! I agree, heat is always a concern during a sport as athletic as horse riding. I’ve had a few personal encounters with heat exhaustion and dehydration, often I also get an ache in my head from the helmet when I lack water. Well done on explaining the consequences, effects and how to solve the problems!

  2. Champion blog :] Its good to warn people about the dangers of riding while telling them how to do something about it.

  3. Champion blog Ali! You always seem to know what to say. Also remember not to give a horse too much water at once during a ride or it could give them stomach cramps

    ~HF

  4. Awesome job! I wanted to add, if your lucky enough, you might live after a coma, (but you don’t want to take the risk!) Also, I reccomend riding with friends and family, as its safer. But even if your out riding with others, you still have to tell someone where you are goin’ and when you are planning to come back. Once when I was riding, I felt a bit dizzy, a bit lightheaded. I dismounted and drank quite a bit of water. Yes, its important to drink slowly. You will feel much better!

  5. Awesome job Ali!!!!! It added a nice touch telling how to prevent dehydration and fainting. I give your article 1st place!

  6. A great blog to remember!

  7. Thanks guys! Or should I say girls?!

  8. good riding tips Allison!and thanks,because im going to a sorta daycare thing horse summer day camp,and i dont want to end up in the hospital!,ohh,and your right westernmare because sometimes you get cramps and aches!

  9. Brilliant blog, Allison. I know that you are correct in everything from experience. I was riding a horse when my vision began to become fuzzy and unfocused. I knew it was dangerous to ride the horse in this state – and another threat was that he had social problems! – so I brought the horse into the centre of the arena and asked my instructor if I could get some water because I knew I was dehydrated.
    She let me go and I bought a bottle of water which I drank a lot of too quickly. When I was back on the horse I rode for a bit before I felt I needed more water. I rode in and my instructor gave me some water. I drank a bit, but not too much as I could feel the previous water sloshing around my stomach. After the lesson, I felt ill. And when I got to my Nana’s, I vomited all over the floor.
    So, it IS important to drink plenty of water, but drink it slowly too!

  10. My mom is a doctor so she would like to hear this too. I think that it is smart to bring up safty tips like that. I’m pretty tough and I’m one of those people who could be put in an oven at 500 f and not say “UNCLE.” So, if I hadn’t read this, I would of passed out sense I thought it was nothing and I would of stayed on my horse. :( Thanks for the awesome tips, I’ll find them useful sometime. YOU”RE AWESOME!!!

  11. I have blacked out before. Lucky for me I wasn’t on the horse at the time. I get overheated really easy especially in this heat. Trust me it’s not fun to black out. Always have a gatorade or water. After riding alot of the time I will get dizzy. Just sit down and rest and drink drink drink!
    Oh and I’m new around her so Hi!

  12. Welcome to GHC, Miss Morgan!

  13. Y’all have great ideas! You know, green tea always keeps me refreshed and ready to go. How bout any of you? Whats your favorite refreshing drink?
    ~HF

  14. My favorite refreshing drink would be ice tea, propel, gatorade, powerade, and cold water.

  15. My favorite refreshing drink is Gatorade, especially the blue and pink flavors, HorseFeathers. I just wanted to ask everyone here at GHC to pray for me. I got kicked in the head this morning by a horse and have a concussion. Everyone at the hospital laughed when they heard I rode for an hour after being kicked. Please pray that it doesn’t develop into anything worse. Thank you!

  16. Oh no, I hope you’re alright Allison! Take care, and next time you get kicked, make sure you tell someone straight away :) But I hope that kick wasn’t too serious. I’d definitely be praying for you.

  17. Ali you got kicked!? OH my word.. how did that happen girl, if you don’t mind me askin? You bet your boots ill be praying for you. And you still rode afterwords, mind you that wasn’t safe. I don’t know the situation personaly but if i would have been kicked, i would have called for help for someone close. I’m glad your alright though, horse sister. ;0)
    Keep your Horse smarts about you,
    ~HF

  18. Ouch! I hope that kick wasn’t too serious! Stay safe, and make sure you inform someone right away. I will be praying for you!

  19. i hate getting dyhadraded!because i feel like my bodys wet and itchy and especially my hair feeling tangled cuz i always take care of it NATERALLY,oh and allison my fav. drink is lemonade and water because its healthy for yur body,and i’ll pray 4 u 2 allison! – flapjackgirl ^_^

  20. ohh and love the horse pic 2!

  21. I doing a whole lot better, just a little sore. The concussion didn’t develop into anything too serious, so I’m fine! I still have some nightmares about it, though. :(

  22. I mean, I’m doing better

  23. Champion Ali, glad your feeling better. Well another one of my friends just got bucked but she just got back on. I know your going to feel nervous some times but just get back in the saddle and like Mrs Farley says “Cowgirl-up!” =0)
    ~HF

  24. Allison, I’m happy your doin better.

  25. Stay healthy Alli.This is agreat blog!My mini rabbit died of heatstroke on June 19.I’d had other rabbits die of this but this was my pet and I WAS heartbroke.I never thought of me before even though I went to horse camp the next day and they stretched the fact that us girls needed to drink.However(and the lesson did’t stick)when I was 11 my family whent on atv trail bike ride over 4 miles.Emagine how tired I was from pedaling.I DRANK and DRANK and DRANK!!!How my DAD teased me for drinking almost a entire kooler.Of all the family I drank the most yet the next day headaches set in.I was dehydrated for a week!Thanks for reminding me.As for my DAD?Some people-like me-need more water than others before complictions set in.Thanks Alli !!!

  26. I almost went crazy when I heard you got walloped in the head by a horse! (Brave horse, attacking the Ali! You’d be like HYAAAAAAAAAA … I’m getting away with myself…)
    Glad to hear you feeling better! Up and peppy now, I hope! :0D

  27. Was there a reason the horse kicked you? I’m glad you’re feeling better.

  28. That is a little scary. last time I went on a trail ride I developed some of those syptoms. Next time i will DEFINITLY load my saddle bags down with gator aid! (poor Pal)