From Endurance to Dressage
In the Heat of Summer
I don't want to complain about the heat, and truly, I try not to, but we have finally reached a temperature where even I won't ride. I ride every day; I enjoy it. It doesn't matter if it's cold, hot as heck, or blowing hard enough to make even Dorothy check the sky. But this, this is just too much.
So far, we've had 41 days of triple-digit heat this summer with more on the way. Our normal is around 33 or so. It's been hot. Since my work week barn time falls from 3:30 to 5:30, I can't escape the hottest part of our day. I can ride at 100, maybe even 102, but 108 (42.2℃ for my foreign friends) is simply out of the question.
I did hop on Speedy bareback with a halter on Wednesday, but we rode down to the river and then tooled around for no more than 20 minutes. We both enjoyed the walk. Izzy hasn't had a ride since Sunday's schooling show, but I think he earned a few days off.
Even though I haven't done a schooling ride this week, I've put the time to good use. One afternoon, I let both boys out on the grass in front of their paddocks. It was quite interesting to watch the dynamics. Speedy is now a confident horse who understands what free grazing means; he's all business. When I let Izzy join him, Izzy's lack of confidence was immediately apparent. It was obvious that he felt uncomfortable without me telling him what to do.
He immediately sidled up to Speedy and suggested they run off. To where he didn't know, but things were not safe. Speedy took him to the end of the fencing, and then stopped and looked around. I brought Speedy back to the grass while Izzy followed along. After several more attempts to leave, I finally held the end of Izzy's rope; he relaxed then and started to graze.
Letting the horses graze on their own without me holding the end of the rope wasn't allowed at my last barn, but now that it's permitted, Izzy will get more practice. I think letting him have some "freedom" will help develop a bit more confidence - something he definitely needs.
There has also been a lot of hanging out in the shade and visiting. A lot of enjoyment can be had listening to your giant pony slurping up something wet and tasty.
While Speedy also enjoys his afternoon beet pulp laced with Platinum Performance (update on that tomorrow), he enjoys a good back rake more. He'll stand there all day long for that.
The weather should break just a little next week which is good as Izzy will be going to another show on the 28th. I plan on spending a lot of time doing walk to trot to walk transitions next week. Now that I think about it, maybe those 105 degree days are what I need for a better walk.
Triple digits or not, I hope to be back in the saddle this afternoon.
Every summer I think "surely this is the hottest summer ever" and every year it feels true. Blech. Almost every day in June was 90+ for us, which is unusual. Thankfully we seem to be on a downward trend -- hopefully it cools down for you too! And sooner, rather than later.
8/19/2016 07:59:25 pm
Unfortunately, our 100 degree days last well into October. It's not like it's a surprise or anything, but it does get old. I hate to complain though since I very often wear a t-shirt or even a tank top in February. :0)
This summer actually hasn't been bad- only recently has it become unbearable. We've had hot days where we wanted to melt, but it was just get out there and do your thing as efficiently as possible to finish sooner. The air moved a little bit at that point, so it wasn't completely unbearable. All of a sudden, we've had weeks of 100% humidity that have made riding absolutely miserable. Combined with temps in the upper 80s and low 90s, no real riding happened. I ended up coming to the barn before I had to be there for AM stalls last weekend so I could ride before the sun was fully up. I'm hoping the Farmer's Almamac was wrong about our September- July/August/September are supposed to be hotter than normal... they were right about July and August though :(
8/19/2016 08:03:44 pm
While it might be the temperature of the sun here, our humidity is usually quite low - thank goodness. We are in our "monsoon" season, but so far, we haven't had any moisture. Humid or not, I just can't ride at 108. It was about 102 today, so I did ride Izzy - it wasn't too bad.
8/19/2016 07:32:01 am
Yeah, 108 is just too much. I try to ride around dusk when it's that hot, but when it's still over 100 at 10 pm... well, there's just not much for it. A little light w/t work or a trail ride under the trees is about as much as anyone feels like!
8/19/2016 08:06:26 pm
Yep. If my horses were at home I could try for a late evening ride, but it's ride at 4:00 or nothing. Since I have most of the summer off, I just muscle through the six weeks or so before the heat breaks. I have a pretty good schedule so I try not to complain about it. :0)
8/20/2016 06:53:00 am
It used to kill me, but over the past 10 years, my body has toughened up. The heat doesn't bother me now (or as much I should say!).
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About the Writer and Rider
I am a lifelong rider.
I began endurance riding in 1996 where I ultimately completed five, one-day 100 mile races, the 200-mile Death Valley Encounter, and numerous other 50, 65, and 75 mile races. I began showing dressage in 2010.
Welcome to my dressage journey.
About Speedy G
Speedy went from endurance horse to dressage horse. After helping me earn a USDF Bronze medal in the summer of 2020, he is now semi-retired. Speedy is a 2004, 15'1 hand, purebred Arabian gelding. His Arabian Horse Registry name is G Ima Starr FA.
Izzy was started as a four-year old and then spent the next 18 months in pasture growing up. I bought him as a six-year old, and together, we are showing at the lower levels. He is a 2008, 16'3 hand warmblood gelding. His Rheinland Pfalz-saar International (RPSI) name is Imperioso.
National Rider Awards
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Third Level: 63.514%
Third Level: 62.105%
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