In case you didn’t know, SC is a wildly hot and humid place. It is borderline tropical. For context, today it is 80 degrees at 8am… with 85% humidity, so I don’t care what you are doing, if you are outside, you are SWEATING. And yet, I’ve ridden more in the past week than I have any other week this year. So let’s discuss what makes this possible!

I am sharing links to what works for me, but literally nothing here is sponsored.


This goes first and gets the big capital letters because it is just so important to my ability to ride at all. I have always thought of myself as someone who “just doesn’t do well in the heat”, but now that I have a hydration routine down, I am able to put in solid rides without feeling like I may die after.

Pre-hydrate with Liquid IV
I make sure that I drink a full 16 ounces of water, minimum, with a liquid IV prior to my ride. I am going to sweat. I am going to sweat A LOT, and if I don’t have enough in my TO SWEAT, I am just going to feel awful almost immediately.
My favorite flavor is the passion fruit, but if you have any recommendations, let me know!

Post-hydrate with Gatorlyte
I have no idea what it is about this stuff, but if I get off and chug one of these, I feel 100% back to normal nearly immediately. So this stuff stays in my car in a cooler with an ice pack until post ride (because it is not easy to drink if it gets hot). I am not a regular gatorade fan, and I don’t feel like it helps anything. But this formula does seem different and does work for me. So don’t knock it until you try it!
All the flavors are great, in my opinion, but they basically taste the same as the regular gatorades.

As for the horses, my barn is big on soaking grain and adding electrolytes, especially in the summer. Grayson doesn’t love soaked grain, but he is great about drinking after our rides. Of course, most importantly, they both have access to a lot of very clean water. Like so clean that I have taken pictures of the water troughs and sent them to people because I am so impressed by how clean they are.

    A Portable Fan

    The barns at my farm all have fans at the cross ties, which is great. However, I pasture board, and while I have access to the barn and those crossties, it’s a far walk. Instead, I have crossties and a tack shed right by the fields and the arena. It’s a great, shady area with poured concrete pads and mats on one side and sand on the other side, but the shade also means that any breeze is often blocked. It also doesn’t have electricity, so I had to get a little creative.

    But last year, I bought a portable 40v fan. Specifically, I bought this one from Lowes because I already had Kobalt batteries, so I only had to pay for the fan. It moves 2400 cubic feet per minute (CFM). This mean’s it isn’t SUPER powerful, but it is more than enough to make a difference. While May was at first kind of suspicious of it, she soon realized the benefit and had some solid nap time in front of it. Grayson, meanwhile, has been a fan since day one and loves his fan naps while tacking and untacking.

    Grayson is a PROLIFIC sweater and nearly nothing evaporates quickly when its so hot and humid. While May doesn’t sweat quite as much as he does (she sweats like a normal horse), she is a big girl and definitely doesn’t cool off super effectively in the heat. So being able to put a fan on my horses makes a HUGE difference in their ability to cool off and release heat.

    Finding Shade

    One downside of my barn is that, like most barns in SC, there is no covered arena. We have an large arena and a massive hay field to ride in, but both are IN THE SUN. So we have been escaping into the woods to ride on the trails more often than not. As soon as we head into the shade of the trees, the temperature drops a solid 10 degrees, and it has been a total lifesaver. In fact, Grayson ended a ride LESS sweaty than he started last week, thanks to the shade. I’ve found a trail loop that allows us to get in about 3 miles of work and has areas to walk, trot, and canter pretty comfortably in good footing and wide trails. I knew I wanted trails when I chose a barn, but I didn’t realize how helpful it would really be in this climate.

    On top of that, I also use a sun visor. I bought this Equivisor when I was living in CA, and I still use it constantly. Every year, I am surprised by how much that bit of shade helps keep me cool.

    Sunscreen & Sleeveless

    The sun is no one’s friend, so I am a prolific sunscreen user. In CA, I mainly focused on my face and worse long sleeved UV shirts. Well in SC, it is just TOO HOT for long sleeve shirts in the summer. I sweat too much and no matter how “cool” the fabric is, it sticks to you. So I have basically fully transitioned to sleeveless shirts and sunscreen.

    Sleeveless Shirts

    I am very cheap when it comes to riding tops. I know they are going to be abused within an inch of their lives, and I just don’t have it in me to spend $75+ on shirts. As a result, I now have three of these shirts from Amazon. For $25, they look really nice (I get compliments on them constantly), they wash up super well (no shrinking, staining, or odd stretching), and they don’t get heavy/sticky when wet.


    A few years ago, I developed a pretty significant allergy to chemical sunscreens. If I try to use it, I will break out in hives that will refuse to go away with steroids. It is miserable, so all my recommendations are mineral sunscreens. For the face, I have a few products I love for different reasons.

    1. Bubble Solar Mate 40 SPF – It’s mineral. It’s blends in great. This is my go-to every day sunscreen.
    2. CeraVe Sunscreen Stick 50 SPF – This lives in my car or purse. Since it’s a stick, it doesn’t leak or get anywhere. I pop it on my face using my visor, and I am good to go! I also don’t have issues with this running into my eyes or stinging as I sweat.
    3. La Roche Posay Anthelios Mineral Sunscreen 50 SPF – I love the regular version or the tinted version. This is a super liquidity formula that is easy to get absorbed into your skin.

    For my body, I also have a few favorites worth sharing.

    1. Blue Lizard Sensitive Mineral Sunscreen 50 SPF – Like all body mineral sunscreens, it takes a bit to work this one into the skin, but with no fragrance, it has quickly become a favorite of mine.
    2. Bare Republic Mineral Sunscreen 30 SPF – When I DO want to smell like a beach vacation, I love this one. With a spray, it’s a bit easier to get one and rub in, but I do worry if I am applying enough, especially since its a lower SPF option.

    Of course, all of the above goes in line with the regular recommendations. I keep my rides short and/or less intense. I have a lot of walk breaks. I ride in the early mornings or at dusk, and I am not afraid to skip a day if the heat is just unbearable. What about you? What tips are you using to stay cool this summer?

    This Post Has 6 Comments

    1. martidoll123

      same re Heat in NC. I thought TENN was hot and humid but the summer so far here in NC has been BRUTAL with humidity and temps. I applaud you for riding! It is all I can do to take care of the horses in this (to be fair I am doing self care so do have to do some labor each day)! I have drank more Gatorade this year than ever but feel the ones with the extra electrolytes are way too salty for me. My portable fan is a life saver too (Though I do have power fans in each stall for the horses). MY favorite analogy for humidity here is, it is like I am wearing a sweater on my skin, soaked through HA! ICK

      1. Emily

        100% After being in Cali, I forgot how badly the humidity affects us all! At this point, i have just resigned myself to sweating until October… ish

    2. I’ve been living on LMNT (I love the watermelon salt and the raspberry salt) — they keep away my heat migraines and I’ve switched entirely away from liquid IV. It takes a little while to get used to the saltiness, but use a packet after any 4+ mile walk.

      I wish sunscreen was easier! I currently use a SPF 50 mineral on my face/neck/shoulders plus SPF 75 regular on my arms/legs and I burn through both. I hate how sensitive I’ve become. I try always to wear a hat and will toss my visor on once I start riding more regularly.

      1. Emily

        I’ll have to try LMNT! I’m pretty tolerant of the saltiness once I start sweating. Even my body gives in to the necessity of it. As for sunscreen, I WISH I could go stronger and not use the mineral stuff because I would 100% would. Pool time right now is 100% done in a rash guard, but I just can’t stomach any layers when riding at this point.

        1. Oh I get it. I can’t use the chemical stuff anywhere but my arms/legs which are the least sensitive to burning. I mostly just use it for speed and convenience before I go out for walks since it’s easy on. But, I wish I had a higher SPF that worked. Preferably mineral. I never used to be this sensitive. And Definitely try the LMNT!

    3. Brianna

      Ugh, NC has definitely been brutal so far this summer! I only ride 2x a week, which makes it a little bit easier to plan. But, I make sure to hydrate really well the day before I ride, as well as the day of/during my ride. I definitely do at least 1 serving of electrolytes the day of as well.

      I’ve started bringing a small snack with me – usually an apple – because I can’t eat a meal too close to my ride no matter what the temp is. I tend to feel really gross if I do. But I’ve noticed when it’s hot, I sometimes feel a little weird before I mount up, if it’s been too long since I’ve eaten lol. Can’t win! Eating the apple between doing Jo’s stall and mounting up has been helping me with that quite a bit, so I think it could be a blood sugar/overexertion thing.

      I recently purchased a pair of pretty lightweight full seat tights with some mesh vents in the legs (Sync brand) and while I don’t love the color for my personal palette, I have literally been wearing them and washing them because they are quite a bit cooler than all of my other breeches. They stay cleaner, and seem to dry a bit faster, too. I have a couple more pairs coming that I snagged during their 4th of July sale, so I’m excited to be able to rotate them more and have a couple more colors! I also live in sleeveless athletic type shirts this time of year so they at least whisk some of the sweat away! Oh, I also a sweat headband while I do my chores and under my helmet to keep the sweat out of my eyes – and I’ve started keeping a cooling towel in one of the pockets of my breeches during my ride, too!

      On Sundays, I normally ride in a surcingle for my private lesson. This past Sunday for my lesson, it was SO freaking hot I couldn’t bear to even put my half chaps on or my vest. My body was so tight I ended up mostly stretching for the 30 minutes. But it was so humid that when I wasn’t stretching we were mostly walking and trying to get my body to loosen up more, and only did a little bit of trot work anyway. I think most of the sweat on Jo was from me LOL. It felt so weird to not have the vest on after 3+ years of wearing a safety vest for every ride! But there are definitely a handful of adults that opt not to wear their vests on the flat when it’s super hot/humid and then put it on to jump if we’re jumping that day. The last few group classes I’ve done, I’ve literally sweat right through the dang vest in addition to my shirt – so they might seriously be on to something! ๐Ÿ˜›

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