Can You Horseback Ride in the Rain?

Horseback Riding in the Rain

Can I Ride My Horse in the Rain?

As equestrians, it can be frustrating when rain deters us from a good ride. For those of you who take riding lessons, you probably watch the forecast closely to make sure your lesson won’t get rained out. (I know I did!) Although rain may be a nuisance when working with your horse, it doesn’t need to stop you from spending time with your horse and riding.

So, can you ride a horse in the rain? You can still ride your horse in the rain; however, it’s important to wear the proper gear so you don’t get soaked and also to protect your saddle and other leather pieces of tack from water damage. Rain can also make the ground slick and create low visibility, so always exercise caution when riding in the rain. If the weather turns severe with strong winds, thunder, or lightning, it’s best to return to the safety of a stable. 

Riding in the rain can be a nice escape if you live in someplace hot. It can also mean that you can continue your horse’s training routine. Knowing how to properly care for yourself, your tack, and your horse when you choose to ride in the rain can make your experience all the better. Keep reading!

Horseback Riding in the Rain: Proper Attire

If you plan on riding your horse in the rain, you’ll want to make sure you have the proper attire so you don’t get miserable and wet. Here’s a list of items that can help you stay dry:

Rain Jacket Suitable for Horseback Riding

One of the most important pieces of clothing to have for horseback riding in the rain is a rain jacket that is suitable to be worn in the saddle. There are many jackets out there that aren’t necessarily made for riding but still work well when in the saddle.

Check out the Southwestern Equine American Cowboy Saddle Slicker Rain Coat Duster here on Amazon. This rain jacket is designed to keep both you and your saddle dry. It offers optimal protection from the rain, with long gussets to cover your saddle.

Waterproof Riding Boots

No one likes wet socks on their feet. If you’re going to ride your horse in the rain, you’ll want to make sure you have waterproof riding boots. The TideWe Rubber Neoprene Boots give riders a reasonably priced option that is still exceptional at keeping their feet dry.

Helmet/Hat Cover

A helmet or hat cover can keep your headgear dry while you ride. Depending on the materials your headgear is made out of, the rain could ruin it in an instant.

The M&F Western Western Hat Protector and the Intrepid International Plastic Helmet Cover can protect your headgear from getting damaged by rain. Click the links to see these items on Amazon.

Horseback Riding in the Rain: How to Take Care of Your Tack

One downside to riding your horse in the rain is that your tack and any other leather piece of equipment you use can get ruined. Even a non-horse person can tell you that the worst thing for leather is to let it get wet, so it’s no surprise that most horseback riders dread riding in the rain.

Water can cause the leather to dry out and crack. Leather can get moldy easily, which makes it all the more difficult to take care of after being in the rain. If you plan on riding in the rain, it’s important to know how to properly take care of your tack ahead of time.

Protective Horseback Riding Rain Gear

Believe it or not, but there are pieces of gear created to protect your tack from getting wet, even when you’re riding. For example, the Cashel Saddle Shield Rain Cover (see here on Amazon) is a plastic cover that protects the saddle from the rain while still allowing the rider to be able to ride.

How to Care for Your Wet Horse Tack

If you don’t have protective rain gear or if your tack gets wet accidentally, it’s important to know how to take care of the leather so it doesn’t dry out or rot. You’ll have to be able to give attention to your tack quickly to be able to save it.

Here is a step-by-step guide to take care of your wet tack:

  1. After you ride, put your saddle on a saddle rack that allows for proper airflow. Dry your saddle indoors rather than out in the sun as the heat can cause more damage to the leather.
  2. Soak up any excess water on your tack with a cloth. Wipe away any dirt or mud.
  3. While the leather is still damp, use saddle conditioner to rub into your saddle. This should help to keep the leather from drying out. (Check out Fiebing’s Aussie Leather Conditioner here)
  4. From here, you can let your saddle finish drying or apply another layer of leather conditioner to the saddle.

 

These steps can be followed for any piece of leather equipment you may use for your horses. While taking proper care of your saddle may add an extra step to your routine if you decide to ride in the rain, it’s important to do all you can to preserve the quality of your tack so it will last longer.

Alternative Options for Riding in the Rain

If you live in a region where it rains a lot or if you just don’t want to run the risk of your tack getting ruined, there are some alternative options you can try when it comes to riding your horse in the rain.

Synthetic Tack

Ideally, leather pieces tack would never get wet. The more leather is rained on, the worst the quality will become, even if you properly take care of it. If you rather preserve your leather tack, consider purchasing synthetic tack for those rainy day rides.

Synthetic tack is usually made from nylon, which naturally repels water. Having a synthetic saddle and bridle for your horse could make it much easier to ride in the rain.

Wintec is a well-known synthetic tack brand that produces quality products. Check out the Wintec 500 HART All Purpose English Saddle or the Wintec Semi-Quarter Western Saddle.

Bareback

Another easy option for riding your horse in the rain is to ride bareback. Although I can attest that staying on a wet horse bareback can be challenging, it would make your ride a little bit more fun and you don’t have to worry about your tack getting ruined.

Check out our article How to Ride a Horse Without a Saddle: Complete Guide.

Indoor Arenas

If you want to ride your horse but the days are plagued with rain and bad weather, research renting out an indoor or covered arena in your area.  This will allow you to ride your horse in the safety and confines of being under a roof and unable to get wet.

Indoor arenas also offer a new challenge for your horse as it’s a new place to ride and a new environment. This can be a great training opportunity for getting your horse used to unfamiliar places.

Horseback Riding in the Rain: Horse Safety

Another thing to be aware of when riding your horse in the rain is that there can be some new safety hazards brought on by the weather. It’s important to know how you can keep you and your horse safe and still able to enjoy your ride. Here are some tips:

Be Aware That the Ground is Slick

We all know that the ground can get slick and muddy when it rains. Once after a good rain, I watched my horse galloping in the field slide right through a four-board fence since she couldn’t stop herself because of the mud. Mud can cause many hazards for horses, as many of us know.

It can be more difficult for your horse to keep their balance on slippery ground, not only because the footing is bad, but because they also have someone sitting on their backs that can through off their balance as they’re slipping and sliding.

If you’re riding when it’s raining, it’s best to go slower, avoid sharp turns, and watch the ground ahead to make sure you’re not going to run into a mud pit.

Stay Away From Roads When Riding in the Rain

Rain can cause lower visibility for drivers and passersby; because of this, it’s best not to venture near any roads on your horse if it is raining out. Drivers may not be able to clearly see you even if you had reflective gear on.

Staying near a stable when riding in the rain is always the best option, just in case the weather takes a turn for the worst. Avoid wandering too far off so that people know where you are or could easily find you if you were to fall off.

Know When It’s Time to Get Off Your Horse

Sometimes, rain can turn into lightning storms or become inclement with wind and extreme downpours. For you and your horse’s safety, it’s important to know when it’s time to head back to the stables.

At every stable I’ve been at, there has been a rule that once someone sees lightning, then it’s time to head back inside. Horses can become spooked in high winds or lightning, not to mention the threat of tree limbs snapping and debris flying around. Know how to recognize when enough is enough.

I hope this article will help you enjoy riding your horse in the rain! It’s also important to learn how to properly care for your horse if they’re left out in the rain. Check out our article Leaving Horses Out in the Rain: Everything You Need to Know.

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