Ah, summer—the time of year when I finally get to venture out of the indoor arena, and also when my horse finally settles into the steady summer version of herself instead of the wild winter version. It’s the season when friends invite me on trail rides; when I can finally canter in the field behind the indoor; and when I might even head to a hunter pace or a schooling jumper show. But it’s also the season of oppressive heat, harmful UV rays, pesky biting bugs, and of course baths, braiding, and clipping. Here are the products that have equipped me to deal with the specific challenges that summer poses for us riders.
- UnderArmour UA Tech Short Sleeve Tee
This shirt is new at SmartPak, but I have it in two colors already and I love it! The pink color makes me super visible to passing traffic when I have to ride my horse a short ways down the road to get to the trails, and the material is soft, cool, and absorbent. I love this top!
- Helly Hansen Loke Jacket
The Loke Jacket is really attractive and perfect to keep you dry during those midsummer thunderstorms.
- Coolmesh Earnets
My mare is extremely fussy when it comes to bugs and will toss her head relentlessly if a gnat comes near, so I literally can’t ride without one of these things. This particular net allows for air ventilation to help my keep my mare’s ears cool at the same time.
- Crusader Fly Mask
I’ve got to have one of these for the same reasons as above. My horse is so much happier when the bugs can’t get at her ears and eyes, and the Crusader has held up for several seasons now.
- Sunshield Short Sleeve Shirt
Sunshield shirts have a UPF rating of 50+, which protects your skin from 98% of UV rays. If I’m going on a long trail ride or will be riding multiple horses on a Saturday in July, I need this shirt to protect my fair skin from sunburns. It comes in a long sleeve version as well, which is great for extra coverage without having to worry about endlessly reapplying sunscreen!
- Centaura Fly Spray
I actually tested Centaura for SmartPak when we first started carrying it. You can use it on yourself and on your horse. My barn owner requires each horse owner to have a fly spray on your horse’s stall door all summer so the horses don’t get bitten out in the paddocks. I like Centaura because I can also spray it on myself before mounting up, especially in the evenings after work when the mosquitoes and horse flies are out in full force.
- Lettia CoolMax Pro Series AP Pad
The thought of buying a moisture-wicking pad might not have ever occurred to me if I hadn’t worked at SmartPak, but I’m so glad I finally discovered this modern wonder. Ax is happier and more comfortable when I use this pad, and that is important to me.
- Natural Sponge
The Natural Sponge is a post-ride necessity. This sponge is super absorbent and durable, making it a perfect choice for baths and quickly wiping away sweat marks after a summer ride.