Growing up in New England, summertime has always been prime trail riding season for me. Unfortunately, this is one our shortest seasons, so I have to make sure that I’m ready to hit the trails as soon as the weather warms up. I wanted to share some of my top picks for summer trail rides that make them most enjoyable for me and my horse and hopefully for you and your horse, too!
SunShield Short Sleeve Shirt by SmartPak
Although I like a summer glow as much as the next girl, I also know how important it is to protect ourselves from UV rays while spending time outside. The SunShield Short Sleeve Shirt by SmartPak does just that, while still keeping me cool. The material is comfortable, lightweight, and most importantly blocks your skin from 98% of UV rays. The “hot pink” is my personal favorite, but it comes in a few other more neutral options, as well.
Cowgirl Tuff Company Don’t Fence Me In Ladies Jean
This is usually my go-to jean for any time spent in the saddle, but especially when I’m planning a long ride or if I’m going to be running errands before or after the barn. Not only are they extremely comfortable as they were designed for riding with the right amount of stretch, but they have a flattering fit and add style with barbed wire detailing on the back pockets (and even the front mini pocket) and golden and blue complementary stitching. These jeans come in a medium or dark wash depending on your preference, but I had to have both!
Under Armour Qualifier Jacket
This is the perfect jacket to bring along on summer trail rides since it’s so lightweight, thin, and easy to stuff into a saddle bag. This jacket uses Under Armour’s Moisture Transport System to help wick sweat away. Some other features that I love are the two fun colors it comes in, the zippered pockets, and the drawstrings at the waist to make the jacket a little more fitted and feminine. Even if there is a chance of rain I’ll still push my luck and try to get out for at least an hour or two and I feel better knowing that I have an extra layer to put on if the weather does decide to turn for the worse.
SmartBug-Off® Ultra Pellets
The comfort of my horse is most important to me because when he’s happy I’m happy since we’re having a more relaxed and enjoyable ride. The SmartBug-Off Ultra Pellets will help keep your horse comfortable on a daily basis, even when just hanging around the farm, but is especially important out on the trails since flies seem to love to follow your path. The garlic, apple cider vinegar, and brewer’s yeast will help keep the bugs away from your horse (and hopefully you, too!), so there is less twitching and swishing on the trails. Only in a perfect world would our horses’ never get bitten, so we’ve included some MSM and Omega-3 Fatty Acids to help horses manage a normal response to excess inflammation associated with bites.
SmartLytes Pellets & Paste
Although electrolytes are important all year round, even during the colder months, they are crucial in the summer time, especially for horses in activity in high temperatures and humidity. The daily support of the SmartLytes Pellets encourages normal hydration and replaces important minerals lost in sweat to keep your horse going strong. The pellets are apple-banana flavored and very easy to feed to even the pickiest of eaters. I like to have a tube of the SmartLytes Paste in my saddle bag, as well, just in case I end up out on the trails longer than anticipated (which happens more often than not!) just as an added booster.
Small Horn Saddle Bag
I have used many different saddle bags over the years, but I recommend this one hands down for a basic day ride. I can’t tell you how convenient it is to have a bag at the front of your saddle since everything is at your fingertips and there’s no reaching around to the cantle trying to pull out whatever you’re looking for. Although this saddle bag is small, most of the necessities will fit just fine. It has larger padded pockets that Velcro and clip closed to keep your items secure and protected (they even fit my Under Armour Qualifier Jacket when it’s folded up!), but also has more unique compartments on the outside for water bottles, and smaller items like cell phones or chap stick.
Rockin’ SP Split Reins- Buckle End
When I learned that champion reiners Tim McQuay and Tom McCutcheon helped design these reins I knew I wouldn’t be disappointed, but I also didn’t intend loving them quite so much! The durable Hermann Oak leather stands up to wear and tear but is soft enough to use right out of the box. The reins don’t irritate my skin on long rides, offer the right amount of grip, and the tapered ends allow the reins to hang with just enough weight.
Rockin’ SP Browband Headstall – Buckle End
After trying the Rockin’ SP Split Reins, I had to have the matching headstall. Although we make a single ear version and I normally prefer that style, when I’m out on the trails I prefer the full browband as it’s less likely to come off if we brush up against branches or for a more reactive horse. It’s made with the same high quality working Hermann Oak leather and the buckle ends make last minute adjustments a breeze.
Professional’s Choice SMx Air Ride All Around Saddle Pad
Thinking about my horse’s comfort, this is my choice for a summer saddle pad. It has a good amount of padding, but is also very easy to clean, which is particularly important on those hot, sweaty days. This pad works really hard to keep your horse cool as it’s breathable, lightweight, and creates even air circulation so your horse doesn’t get as hot and can also cool more quickly. Although I like a pop of color, this dark shade looks nice with most any tack, which is a plus.
UltraShield Sport Fly Spray
Along with the SmartBug-Off Ultra Pellets, fly spray is a must have for the summer months, especially when hitting the trails. I really like the UltraShield line, but the “Sport” version in particular because I tend to stay out on the trails for many hours and like to have fun picking up some speed, so my horse works up a decent sweat. The UltraShield Sport Fly Spray is sweat-resistant and water based, so it can withstand our workout and dust picked up on the trails doesn’t coat my horse. Although this spray should last up to 14 days, I like to bring the 15 oz. continuous spray with me in my saddle bag if I notice the bugs becoming particularly pesky or if we go through some running water to reapply to the legs for added protection.