How to Stay Cool(er) at Hot Summer Horse Shows

If you have ever been to a summer horse show (to ride or spectate) you know how brutal the temperatures can be. When the mercury creeps up into the 90s, there is a very fine line between comfort and misery. On the hottest horse show days, it can seem impossible to stay cool. Here are some tips and tricks for staying a little cooler on those hottest of show days.

Summer Horse Show Trailer Tents

Horse shows are best enjoyed on mild days with a gentle breeze… days that aren’t freezing cold and aren’t suffocatingly hot. But if you have ever participated in a summer horse show, you know that hot show days are pretty commonplace. The worst show days (heat and humidity-wise) are the ones that start out already hot and sticky feeling when you walk outside early in the morning. As the sun rises, the temps soar, and the mood can sour.

We have spent many, many long days at summer horse shows. We have some tricks up our sleeve for things to do and bring that make the overall experience a bit more enjoyable.

Here are our summer horse show essentials for staying cool (as much as possible, anyway!):

Stay Hydrated

Not only can summer horse show days be tiring, they can also be dehydrating! Spending time out in the hot sun requires adequate hydration to keep your body happy. Horseback riders often wear long sleeves and layers, plus a helmet, when showing. It is paramount that they keep drinking throughout the show day!

Horse Show Beverage

Our Favorite Hydrating Drinks



Liquid IV (We bring these packets with us and add them to our bottled water!)

Pack the Cooler

We always bring a cooler to horse shows. (Check out this one – it’s an off-road type cooler with big wheels and a telescoping pull handle. We love how easy it is to roll across the unpaved terrain at a show.)


Not only will you want to pack the cooler with plenty of ice and the hydrating beverages mentioned above, but here are some other ideas for keeping cool in the summer heat:

  • Small ice packs (perfect for a quick cool off on your head, arms, etc.)
  • Wet washcloths inside a ziploc bag (again, perfect for a cool towel-off after your kiddo shows or for anyone who needs some cooling relief)
  • Ice pops
  • Plenty of drinks
  • Sandwiches and other snacks

Toddler Tip: We once brought a small cooler entirely filled with ice cubes to occupy our 3 year old during his sister’s show. It was a super hot day and he had a blast playing with the plastic cups and utensils that we also brought – digging and dumping the ice out for well over an hour!

Playing in Cooler with Ice

Make some Shade

Ideally you will find yourself at a tree-filled show ground with plenty of shade to sit under. More often than not, shows are held at farms with big open pastures and not many trees in the parking or show ring areas.

Bring your own shade when possible! We like to set up these EZ Pop Up Tents near the trailer and then everyone brings their own chairs and outdoor rugs to sit on in between classes.

Pop Up Tents Tailgate Horse Show

These chairs with built-in canopies are also a great option for portable shade.

Pop into the A/C: Not the most eco-friendly option, but if you are truly withering away and need a cool space ASAP, you can always go sit in the car for a bit with the A/C cranked up. As someone who suffers from migraines, cooling off in the air conditioner is sometimes a double edged sword. The cooler air usually helps me to cool off but going between a hot and humid summer day and cold, air conditioned environments can trigger headaches. Know your body and consider if the AC might help or hurt!

Change of Clothes

Horse show clothes are borderline suffocating on hot days! From the long pants to the show coat and helmet, it’s a sweltering outfit to have to wear during summer months. Bring along a t-shirt and pair of shorts for your little rider to change into after she competes.

Shedding those long layers has an immediate cooling effect!

Don’t forget to bring sunscreen and a baseball cap for sun protection. We love these sunscreen sticks for quick and easy application.

Carrying Saddles Horse Show

We hope these tips help you to stay a little cooler and a little more comfortable at your next hot weather horse show! A little preparation ahead of time is all it takes to make the day a bit more enjoyable.

Dehydration and heat exhaustion are very real dangers and they both can strike on hot days when you are over-exerting yourself. Stay hydrated and covered as best as you can and know the signs of both of these afflictions in case medical care is necessary.

What are your favorite tips for keeping cool at hot summer horse shows? Leave us a comment and tell us about them!


Staying Cool at Summer Horse Shows PIN

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