From Endurance to Dressage
Californians "enjoy" a long summer. It starts about now and ends right before Thanksgiving. We've already had a few 90 degree days which always seems to shock most of us. That should strike the rest of the world as hysterically funny since we're a population well acquainted with triple-digit days. Here are the daily highs and lows from last June, July, and August.
Not to be a whiner or anything, but I count 49 out of 92 days that were over 100 degrees. We had our first 100 degree day in May and the last in September. Check out that run of triple-digit days in July. How did I live through that? How did any of us live through that?
Last summer's heat hit both of my boys pretty hard. Speedy dealt with a skin irritation on his heel, and Izzy rubbed out nearly all of his mane and the top of his tail. I never bothered to blog about it, but I know he was uncomfortable.
This summer, I am getting a head start. For the past month I've been stockpiling creams and lotions and sprays so that I'll be ready for whatever skin ailment my boys might develop. I also decided to be more proactive about protecting Izzy's skin. Since early March, I've been top dressing his beet pulp with flaxseed oil.
You might remember that I used Platinum Performance's Healthy Weight, their particular flaxseed oil, to keep weight on Speedy over the past year and a half. When the ranch got its newest load of alfalfa, Speedy decided he liked it a lot better, and I was able to phase out the oil.
Since flaxseed oil has been shown to improve skin and coat health, I researched a few cheaper flaxseed oil options and decided on Horse Guard's Flaxen Flow, a cold-pressed flaxseed oil. With regular discount codes from Riding Warehouse floating around, I can get it for around 25 cents a day as compared to the 78 cents that Healthy Weight costs.
While I can't say it's working miracles or anything - his coat is nice and shiny, but that's how it always looks in the spring, he eats every drop of it without any waste. When this pouch runs out at the end of May, I'll definitely replace it, especially as our heat will be cranked up to the max. By the end of August, I'll know if it has had any effect on his skin and coat.
Besides the flaxseed oil, I've also stocked up some tried and true skin and coat therapies: Equiderma Skin Lotion, Knotty Horse Detangler, and Mane 'n Tail Detangler. I used this trio last year with a good degree of success.
While the Equiderma doesn't cure everything, it did work wonders on the leg crud that Speedy gets. After I got more of this winter's coat off, I saw that his hind legs had some patches of crud that were just too painful to scrub off. The Equiderma got called into action earlier than I expected.
For daily conditioning of manes and tails, I really like Mane 'n Tail. It's cheap, so I don't mind using it every day, but for a really good conditioning, I love, love, love the Knotty Horse products. Besides leaving the mane and tail hair feeling super silky, it smells divine. Last year I stuck with the spray version. This summer, I wanted a more concentrated version with less waste on windy days, so I opted for the oil, and is it ever AMAZING.
A new addition to my summertime routine is Fresh Rider Odor Deodorizing Mist from Nunn Finer. It's such a girly thing to use, but I love mists. I have several that I use after showering, so when I saw this, I decided I needed to try it for my boots, helmet, and even my gloves. Just because it's a bazillion degrees outside, it doesn't mean my stuff has to stink. Besides, lavender scent helps with my headaches.
The final element in my summer preparedness kit is fly protection. I know it is way, way cheaper to buy my fly spray by the gallon, but it's just too painful to fork over 60 bucks AT ONE TIME for fly spray. You know?
But yeah. The gallon jug is up next. For now, I am starting the summer off with last year's left-over bottle followed by a brand new quart I have waiting in the wings. Speedy also got a new fly mask (not pictured). Rocky, his neighbor, has already tugged it off once, so I am hoping that game has reached its conclusion. I am not sure that Izzy will be getting a fly mask this summer. It has taken him all of about 2 days to completely destroy every fly mask I've ever purchased for him.
The fly masks above are my replacements for the ten-year old masks that live in my horse trailer. Since I use shavings, I keep a fly mask on each horse to protect their eyes from flying debris. When I used them the other day, I was horrified at how stiff and scratchy they've become.
Izzy will get one of the old ones as his "daily driver." If he can keep it looking like a fly mask rather than shredded mesh, he will get his very own brand new one to wear. That's a big IF though.
So for now, I am ready for summer's heat and misery to begin. If you live north of hell, you're probably still enjoying your spring. That's okay; you can laugh. We had our fun this winter while you were buried in snow.
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
State Rider Awards
State Horse Awards
CDS Sapphire Rider Award
Third Level: 63.514%
Third Level: 62.105%
2023 Show Season
(r) Ride-a-Test Clinic
2023 Show Schedule
2023 Completed …
2023 Qualifying Scores
Regional Adult Amateur Competition (RAAC)
Qualifying Training Level
3 Scores/2 Judges/60%: