Equestrians

Sun protection guidelines for those participating, spectating, or working in sport or outdoor recreation. The following specific tips have been developed with the help of the British Horse Society.

Equestrian sport

  1. Apply a broad-spectrum product with an SPF of 30 or higher, paying special attention to your ears, nose and other areas which are prone to burning.
  2. Get into the habit of applying sunscreen before being active outdoors.
  3. Once applied to the skin, reapply sunscreen every 2 hours, or more often if you are prone to excessive sweating, in or out or water, or simply working hard!
  4. The sun is strongest between 11am and 3pm so on particularly hot days, if possible, try to plan a ride outside of these hours.
  5. A helmet is not only a great way to protect your head when falling of or on low hanging branches, it also provides a degree of sun protection.
  6. Wearing gloves will not only protect hands from wear and tear, but also protect them from the sun!
  7. Ensure a bottle of sunscreen is available in the stable yard tack room just in case someone forgets theirs.
  8. Wear clothing that covers your arms (as legs are usually covered). Compression sleeves are a good alternative for those that might find long-sleeves too hot.
  9. Using a sunscreen applicator or cleaning palms with a small towel and alcohol gel, is a good way to avoid a greasy grip on the reins.
  10. Hydration is essential in reducing the risk of overheating so keep a bottle of water on hand and sip regularly.
  11. Wearing wraparound sunglasses when riding will help protect eyes from insects, branches, as well as the sun.
  12. When not actively riding and during breaks, make sure to rest in shaded areas to reduce your exposure to the sun.

Protecting Horses

It is easy to forget that horses are also prone to sunburn, particularly those with thin coats or light-coloured skin. Follow these tips to ensure that your horse avoids sunburn.

  1. Apply sunscreen to the muzzle and any white markings on your horse.
  2. Zinc-oxide cream is safe for horses and helps heal any skin irritation or blistering. You can generally also use any sunscreen product on the market for people, such as those containing PABA, on your horse.
  3. The sun is strongest between 11am and 3pm so, if possible, limit turnout between these hours, especially if the UV index is high.
  4. Ensure your horse has access to shade during the day.
  5. Consider hacking out early in the morning or late in the evening, particularly on clear, sunny days.
  6. Cover sensitive areas with a fly mask. This will prevent sunburn around a horse’s eyes. A fly rug can also be useful.

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