Wednesday, July 17, 2013

"We Rode Anyway"

Howdy Folks,
Chris and I had made our plans a few days ago to ride early this morning. Beat the heat. Heading for Coffee Clutch at 5:30 it was 75 and so humid my glasses fogged as I stepped outside. Air thick as mud greeted me. So did Kessy, at the porch steps, her chest damp with sweat. I asked what she thought about going for a short one, she nodded and moved kind of slow, lethargic. As we did our morning routine even the roosters seemed a bit sluggish, crowing about half as much as normal. Only a Cardinal sang today. Hummingbirds were busy at the feeders. Phoebes darted here and there, and the wrens who have a nest in the tack room started their morning feeding routine too. But they all had a "Gosh it's hot" look about them.

Sweat trickled down my cheeks as I settled into my Coffee Clutch chair next to Kessy and poured my first cup of Folgers. I aimed a fan to blow right on me. Saturday stretched out in the breeze. Too hot to ride, was my clear headed thinking. Kessy was working up a sweat under the fan eating hay. Yup, too hot. I called Chris determined to talk her out of it. No answer. Darn. It's not that I'm a big softy, well not totally, but Kessy was sweating standing still, and my joints and things are more of a bother in this weather.

Chris would be here at 7, so at 6:45 I started Kessy's pre-ride exercises and tacked up. My shirt was soaked before I finished brushing. It was over 80 degrees already. Was the air heavier, too? I could taste the humidity.

We were ready to go and I was letting Kessy pick at the grass in the yard when Chris rolled in. "I brought Sunshine along today to pony with Molly and me." She said grinning.

Sore, grouchy and reluctant I thought, oh great, it's hot and miserable, the horses will be hot too, and you choose today to pony Sunshine. "Don't you think it's too hot for that?" I questioned. Chris just smiled. Sunshine is a sweet, beautiful Arabian mare Chris has been working with for some time, and we've talked about starting her on the trails here by ponying with Molly who she loves and trusts. I really like Sunshine, think she's adorable. But boy howdy it's hot.
Sunshine, Molly, Chris, Kessy and me. And Saturday too.
We set out for the trails, Kessy leading, Molly and Sunshine following right behind, and dear Saturday taking up the rear. We all enjoyed a delightful ride. Sunshine did splendidly, it was quite obvious she enjoyed every minute. She even enjoyed Saturday's happy prancing next to her. And as always, I felt much better after our ride … Even if we didn't get to see any birds.

I reckon I'm happy Chris didn't answer the phone when I called to cancel. Sometimes you just have to ride anyway … I'll admit though, I like the cold better. I think. I'll let you know in about 5 months or so.

Gitty Up ~ Dutch Henry


  1. I'm glad you decided to ride, Dutch! I'm often happy I rode afterwards, but I haven't been in the saddle for two weeks now. It's too dang hot! Hopefully, this heat wave ends tonight, at least here in upstate New York, and not a minute too soon. I'm tired of it, and I'm ready for winter! I've heard two different formulas for figuring the heat index to tell if it's too hot for horses; one is add the temp and humidity, and the other is to add the temp and the dew point. Anything over 120 requires caution, and over 150 is a black flag for the horse because their sweat has nowhere to go. The air is too wet to accept any more moisture. Do you have any idea which is more accurate?

    1. Thanks Robynne! ... And we're going out tomorrow too ... but we're heading out at 6:30am to get back before it's too hot. Chris will be ponying Sunshine again as well. I've heard about computations too, to consider the heat, but I don't know what is correct. We ride very gently and only for about an hour and a half, and hose down thoroughly post ride. And I follow with a wipe down of Vetroline as a brace. I put about half a cup in a 2 & 1/2 gallons of water for the brace.

      I think it is very important to monitor your horse's condition, breathing, sweating etc, as you ride in hot weather, and actually Kessy is quite fit because we ride so often. I think that matters too. A horse ridden infrequently probably should not be ridden in this hot spell. At least not more than half an hour.