Hey guys, sorry I’ve been a bit quiet on the western front lately, show season is well underway for me now so I’m pretty busy, but here’s my latest blog I’ve done for the British grooms association, hopefully they’ll be some useful tips for you all.
When it comes to working in the hot weather we often forget about ourselves and focus more on the horses’ welfare in the heat.
We need to make sure we are just as prepared, it’s not always possible to avoid working in the hottest part of the day working unfortunately, but where ever possible do any manual outside jobs earlier on in the day or later once it cools down. In one of my previous jobs in the summer we started earlier to work the horses before it became too hot and then took a longer break in the middle of the day, which worked really well for the horses as well. Take regular breaks where possible.
If you are allowed to then wearing shorts and t-shirts/ vest tops when working in the heat will help you stay cooler. However that said make sure you dress appropriately for the task at hand, don’t ride in shorts etc and certainly always make sure you have appropriate footwear on, as much as it can be tempting to wear flip flops, they and horses don’t mix!
I always dread the heat and having to wear shorts, I have the pastiest whitest legs ever, the fake tan comes out and inevitably goes streaky and ends in disaster – I hope some of you reading this can relate and it’s not just me?!
Staying hydrated is one of the biggest things that can affect your energy levels in the heat. I am really bad at not drinking enough but when I do I find I don’t get that mid afternoon energy crash. I don’t really like just plain tap water so go for the nice flavoured water instead or have a bottle of squash in the cupboard in the tack room. Avoid drinking caffeine, it has a diuretic effect which increases water loss and contributes to dehydration. Also drinking more often even if you’re not thirsty is better than waiting until you’re gasping, I always tend to just have a drink every time I go in the tack room or take a water bottle with me when possible.
Unfortunately rather bad tan lines comes free with any horse job, I am forever trying to even up bad tan lines, but I do make sure I wear sun cream, usually factor 30 or 50. This is important to help prevent getting burnt and obviously for health reasons and I advise everyone to wear sun cream! I always keep a stash of sun cream and after sun in my car.
If there’s somewhere cool where you can sit and eat lunch and chill for a bit out of the sun then do. Sitting with your feet in a bucket of cold water will help cool you down as well.
I always wear sunglasses where possible, there’s nothing worse than getting a headache from squinting in the sun all day. Keep painkillers in your first aid kit in case of headaches. If you can for don’t wear sunglasses then a baseball cap or peaked hat will also help to reduce glare from the sun.
I know that following all of these steps isn’t always possible, but by trying to do as many as possible will help make it easier to work in the heat. If you’re working with others then keeping each other motivated will really help too, have some fun and why not have a water fight to cool down, or pop out at lunch time for ice creams for everyone. Stay safe and make the most of the summer while it’s here, it won’t last long and I’ll be talking about winter again before I know it.