Are you trail riding this summer? Have these items on hand to stow in your saddle bag for safer, more comfortable rides for you and your horse. (Other than the sponge, these items travel best, and mingle least, stowed in separate reclosable plastic bags.)
- Dunking sponge – snaps onto a saddle D-ring
- Soft rag soaked with fly spray – or individual repellent-soaked towelettes–to reapply repellent to your horse’s face and ears if needed
- Electrolyte syringe
- Spray bottle of 50-50 water/alcohol mix; squirted on your horse’s mane and neck, helps cool him as he works
- Lightweight reflective vest, for better visibility to motorists if you’re riding after dark (because, for example, an early-evening ride ends up slower than you planned)
- Small flashlight
- Tube of petroleum jelly or Desitin ointment to treat small chafed areas on you or your horse before they become bigger problems
- Sunblock (at least 30 SPF); reapply if you’re sweating, or after sponging your arms and face with water during a cooling stop
- Lip balm with sunblock.
This article first appeared in the August, 1998 issue of Practical Horseman magazine.