Tips for horseback riding in the rain


Most of us need to ride in the rain for some reason or another. A rainy ride is not always planned, and a wet horse and tack take longer to care for. But horseback riding in the rain can help you and your horse prepare for any situation, especially in the show ring. 


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Turn a rainy challenge into an opportunity for success


  • Use your rainy rides to acclimate yourself and your horse to puddles, wind, unusual noises like rain on roofs, and just riding in a less-than-ideal situation. Avoid thunderstorms, though, no one wants that kind of a shock. 


  • Riding in the rain will also motivate you to deep condition your saddle and bridle. 

Riding in the rain safety tips


  • Beware of the footing during a rainy ride. Watch out for slippery rocks, mud, and any puddles that could be deep and dangerous.  


  • Some riders use studs on their horse’s shoes to help with traction on questionable ground, but they are inappropriate for use on most hard ground and pavement.  


muddy horse hooves in wet footing


Protect your horse


  • Many horses dislike facing the rain, and while you won’t be able to prevent this all the time, be aware of your horse’s reactions to the direction of wind and rain. This is important for walk breaks during your ride to make them as comfortable as possible. 


  • Use hoof oil to protect the hooves. Many more minor cracks and hoof softening happen with too much moisture.  


  • If your horse wears leg protection, ensure the boots or wraps won’t get water logged and heavy. Your best bet is to avoid polo wraps and fleecy leg wraps. Opt for boots made from neoprene or other water-friendly material that won’t hold water.


  • In cold and wet weather, use a waterproof quarter sheet. Have coolers ready to help dry your horse and help them stay warm. 

Dress for success while riding in the rain


  • Raincoats and covers help immensely when riding or hacking in the rain. So does a covered arena, but not all of us have access to that.  


  • When looking for saddle-friendly rain gear, longer jackets are best when they have a split up the back, allowing the fabric to cover your legs without getting bunched up under your bum. 


  • Riding skirts are also a thing and keep your legs covered and warm. 


  • You can pop a rain cover on your helmet, too. 


  • Avoid wearing your best boots in the rain. Pants getting wet are one thing, but leather riding boots need more care. It may be time for half chaps and waterproof paddock boots.


  • Wear hi-vis clothing in the rain. Everyone needs to be able to see you through the fog, heavy rain, or a cloudy windshield.

person in raincoat


Pro tips for your rainy-day outfit 


  • Keep a change of clothes in your tack area or trunk. A towel is also nice to have around, and can be used to dry yourself or your horse and their tack. 


  • If your once-waterproof raincoat lacks water-repelling skills, you can re-waterproof it with a spray-on or wash-in treatment. Easy peasy. Sometimes the spray-on versions are a bit stinky.  

Tips for your tack in the rain


  • Quarter sheets come in all sorts of fabrics, including waterproof ones. They can help cover your legs and saddle if your jacket isn’t enough. Quarter sheets can also wrap around you and cover much of your saddle and thighs.


  • Leather reins can become slippery in wet weather. Switch to rubber reins or reins with a sizeable stopper to help your grip. Some gloves may have extra grippy palms and fingers, which could help, too. 


  • Give yourself time to care for your tack after riding correctly.


black horse saddle that is wet from the rain


Take care of your saddle and bridle


  • The problem with wet leather happens beneath the surface. Leather was once alive and held together with protein bonds. As the leather dries, the bonds can crack. 


  • Cracked bonds create weak leather. You can absolutely condition the snot out of your dry and cracked tack, but you can never glue those bonds back together. Your tack is at risk of cracking and failing. 


  • When your saddle and bridle are wet, remove as much moisture as possible with a towel. Then immediately condition all of the leather, especially where leather bends around buckles. The conditioner will protect those bonds as the leather dries. 


And try and find some enjoyment from riding in the rain! It can be fun, sometimes. 


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