June 27, 2012

Heat Wave

While the Starter division at Leg Up would have been the perfect first event for Connor, with its 18”-2’3 jumps, 275mpm XC course and Intro B requirements, I’m very glad we didn’t enter after seeing the weather forecast.  We, like much of the Midwest, have been baking under the blue skies and hot temperatures of a good old fashioned summer drought since, well, the middle of spring.  After highs of 105 and 100 on Thursday and Friday, it’s supposed to “cool off” to a high of 98 on Saturday and Sunday.  Add to that the nearly 10 inches of normal rainfall that we haven’t gotten this year, and you’ve got a recipe for hard ground and hot animals/people.  Not exactly fun show weather for horse or human!  

Our parched grass and dying trees are pretty evident in this photo from last weekend.

I’ve managed horses through heat waves before, but this one makes me especially nervous.  Highs are supposed to be 95-105 for the next week at least, and the worst part is that even night won’t bring any relief to their bodies when the low temperature barely dips into the 70’s.  

So what‘s my plan?  Excluding lessons, I’m planning on getting up at 5am and riding at 6am before work, taking a shower at the barn (thank you, thank you, thank you to my lovely barn for installing the new, air–conditioned bathroom this spring!) and heading off to work straight from the barn.  Connor has free-choice access to a salt/mineral block, and I’ll be bringing out a box fan for his stall.  Finally, I’m buying several bottles of rubbing alcohol to mix with water and hang in a bucket on the fence so I can periodically sponge him off during our lessons.  Water consumption is never an issue with this pony, and neither is filling up his bucket, as he drinks so much during even normal weather that they’ve actually got that noted on his feed chart in the tack room – “CHECK WATER!”

This is one of those times when your horse being 45 minutes away really sucks.  I have the greatest people in the world running my barn and they care for him like he’s their own, but I do wish I could just pop over there for a quick check on my lunch break sometimes.  That’s okay, though, if relying on other people is the price I have to pay for having him at my awesome barn, that’s fine with me.

I know I’ve got several Midwestern readers, what are you guys doing to manage your horses through the heat?


  1. Connor sounds like a trooper. I love non picky horses like that. Glad you have such a great solution.

  2. ugh. another heat wave. It has been a bit cooler here, but we always seem to get the Midwest's weather a couple of days later.

    Sounds like Connor will be well cared for! I hear you though on wishing you were closer...

    My barn does night turn out when the heat goes over that 95-100F mark, so that is good. I usually try and go down after dinner and hose her off and check to see if she is ok.

  3. Our barn does night turn out all summer long and every stall has a fan on during the day. Other than that, light rides on the scorcher days (like today!) followed by a long soak with the hose.