Horseback Riding in the Desert

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Benson, Arizona, is situated in the high desert region of the southwestern United States, surrounded by the captivating landscapes of the Sonoran Desert.

Different kind of beauty

This arid and rugged terrain is characterized by its vast expanses of open space, rolling hills, and sparse vegetation that has adapted to the harsh conditions.

The desert is adorned with iconic saguaro cacti, prickly pear, and various other desert flora that have evolved to thrive in the dry climate.

There's a different kind of charm that comes with the desert.

Seeing a landscape on horseback is like stepping into a living painting, where every step taken by your four-legged companion reveals a new layer of the natural world's beauty.

~ Stategies to beat the heat! ~

Remember to stay hydrated

In the desert's arid climate, the combination of physical activity and high temperatures can quickly lead to dehydration.

I cannot stress this point enough! It is so easy to not realize that you're getting dehydrated until you're at a point where it's much more serious and medical attention is required.

Being proactive is the best way to protect yourself and your horse. Offer water to your four-legged friend throughout the ride!

It's possible to become dehydrated without realizing it, especially in low-humidity environments where sweat evaporates quickly and might not be as noticeable.

In dry and arid conditions, such as desert environments, your body can lose significant amounts of moisture through respiration (breathing) and through the skin's surface, a process known as insensible water loss.

This can lead to a gradual decrease in your body's hydration levels, even if you're not experiencing the typical signs of excessive sweating.

Always carry water with you especially on long rides.

Dress appropriately

Choose lightweight, breathable clothing that provides adequate sun protection. Opt for long-sleeved shirts and pants made from moisture-wicking fabric to keep you cool and shielded from the sun's rays. Don't forget to wear a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses to protect your face and eyes from the harsh sunlight.

My go-to for avoiding a sunburn is a ball cap! 

Apply Sunscreen

Before hitting the trail, generously apply a high SPF sunscreen to exposed skin, including your face, neck, arms, and legs. (If you wear jeans, and a high-neck t-shirt, you mainly just have to worry about your face and arms!) Remember to reapply sunscreen every couple of hours, especially if you're sweating profusely or spending an extended period in direct sunlight. Look for sweat-resistant formulas designed for outdoor activities.

Time Your Rides Wisely

Plan your rides during the cooler parts of the day, such as early morning or late afternoon, to avoid the peak heat hours. Desert temperatures can soar during midday, making it uncomfortable and potentially dangerous for both you and your horse. Be mindful of the heat index and adjust your riding schedule accordingly.

Saguaro cactus

Also known as Carnegiea gigantea, this cactus is an iconic symbol of the American Southwest and the Sonoran Desert.

The saguaro cactus is instantly recognizable for its tall and columnar silhouette, which can reach heights of up to 40 feet (12 meters) or more.

Its trunk is ribbed, allowing it to expand and contract as it stores water during periods of rainfall and gradually uses that stored water during dry spells.

Did you know? The saguaro cactus, a symbol of the American Southwest, can live for over 150 years and doesn't typically grow its first arm until it's around 75 years old! 🌵✨ #SaguaroFacts

Saguaro arms, which can number from none to over a dozen, typically start to develop once the cactus reaches around 75 to 100 years of age.

Saguaros have a slow and deliberate growth rate.

It can take several decades for them to reach their full height, and they may not even sprout their first arms until they're 50 to 100 years old.

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~Mary
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