"And, when you want something, the entire Universe conspires in helping you to achieve it." -The Alchemist, by Paulo Coehlo

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Field of Dreams

The big field
Ok. Walking around and around and around in an arena is BORING. Boooo-ring. I've been DYING to go on the trails, but that is a big no-no until Lily is at least cleared for turnout, I think. God forbid she torque that fetlock on the uneven footing of the trails.

Since it's been *almost* South FL hot this week, all of the horses have been inside during the day so they can take full advantage of the shade and their stall fans. They love this: you'll walk down the aisles, and they're all napping with their faces towards the fans.

Yesterday's forecast for our area in Maryland. 47% humidity. Oh, and it said 94 with a "Real Feel" of 101 for today? No, it did not get that hot today.
Yesterday's forecast for the area that we used to live in in South FL. 67% humidity.
That humidity percentage is what will kill you. Charles and I have a huge heat tolerance, and so does Lily, having come from tropical climates. Our current 47% humidity in MD is fine. But when the humidity soars above 70% and the temps feel over 100+ degrees, that's when we may have start having problems. If it gets to that point around here, Lily will get hosed down BEFORE riding so she will stay cool, and I'll have a bottle of water on the arena fence.

It was late afternoon and overcast by the time I got to the barn today. Lily was happy and comfortable in her stall. I gave her 3.8 mls of ace, because I wanted to be able to take out to the big field for our ride. I thought she would enjoy this, but I bumped up the dose because every time I've taken her out there sober for hand walks in the past, she has gotten quite "up".

Just starting to feel sleepy
I fly-sprayed her and tacked up. We did our first 5 minutes in the outdoor. Lily was sleep walking along, when I noticed one of the jumps had a very colorful tarp over it. Lily saw it 30 seconds after I did, just as I was thinking, "We should totally walk closer to that!" Lily gave a huge startle, ducking her front end like a cutting horse, then stopping with a giant snorty blast, and staring at the jump.

I immediately asked her to walk on, eventually making it back to the jump so we could circle around it. She did her one-eye one-ear head cock at it, then stopped watching the jump.

We moved on into her paddock, where she still seemed bored. We walked for another 5 minutes in there, and then we walked into the big field.

I was honestly expecting her to be a little more enthused. Her ears went up, but her walk didn't change. It wasn't long before the flies were driving her crazy, despite the fly spray. I use UltraShield Red, too - a decent fly spray! We walked for 5 minutes, and then I asked her to trot. She refused. I insisted. She trotted a few strides, then broke back to a walk to bite at her chest and shoulder, trying to get the flies off. I pointed her towards the field gate, and relieved, she happily walked out and back into the arena.

Poor mare.

So yeah...I had this really cool mental picture of us trotting in the big field, but the flies put that notion to an end.

The fly situation was nowhere near as bad if we were off of the grass, so once in the outdoor arena, we picked up the trot. Her trot has been feeling FABULOUS!!! We're still only doing the single 2 minute session in the middle of the half hour walk, but her trot actually feels better than her walk. I've been letting her stretch after each trot session, which she seems to look forward to.

We then walked for another 15 minutes.

"Why do you keep pointing me at this thing? This is dumb.."

Sweat! My previously anhydrotic mare, sweating! :)
She's fine as long as it's still getting cooler at night.  The most difficult time of year for us in South FL was between June-October, when during the day you'd hit 90+ degrees with a heat index that made it feel like it was in the 100s; 80% humidity, with nights staying in the 80s. I'm not exaggerating. Once it reached that point, there was no relief to the heat and humidity for MONTHS. Even One AC year-round and beer in the summer made no difference in her very minimal sweating (only under the saddle pad) once the weather turned into this nightmare. The heat was obliterating, nullifying, stupefying. Those are my words for it, and I was raised in the tropics. Yes, it was THAT BAD.
Rides during those months in South FL were limited to evenings or very, very early mornings, and during those months Lily pretty much had to stay in her stall 24/7 so she could have access to her fan around the clock. She was hosed down before rides, and I carried a bottle of water mixed with alcohol to spritz her with. We walked, trotted, and did minimal canter work, depending on the weather. My first summer owning Lily, when we discovered the problem, I was going to the barn in the middle of the night to hose her down-the BM would turn off the fans at night and I'd find Lily panting in her stall. :(
Everyone tells me it gets really bad with the heat and humidity here, but if it's like it is now, we'll be fine. And at least there are breaks to it: at night and when storms roll in. Plus the worst of the heat is only for 2 months. YAY SEASONS!
And that was that. I think next time we go in the big field, I'll just give her the 3 mls of ace. I wish I didn't have to drug her for these rides, but we just don't want to risk her exploding when she has her injury. :(

I wanted to hand graze her afterwards, but the weather had other plans too. Grrrrr... It started to thunder as I was untacking. I was able to hose her off, coat her in fly spray all over again, put her away in her clean stall with the fan on, and run to the car before it started pouring.


  1. Welcome to the temperate rainforest, home of random thunderboomers that are here and gone in the blink of an eye. Yet they linger long enough to ruin plans! Hahaha.

    Glad to hear Lily is doing well and still able to throw some silly antics about bright scary nonsense lol

    1. Lol Thanks!

      And yeah, I grumble, but this is SO much better than thunderstorms every single afternoon in the summer in South FL! :)

  2. It's been steamy here too... yuck.

  3. I think only other anhydrosis-suffering horse owners get the utter elation that a full sweat brings. :)

    1. Definitely! :) I was almost hopping up and down! I remembered your joy over Archie sweating, too!

  4. Tomorrow has a high of 106. This is cruel and unusual. Drugging for safety when rehabbing is okay, don't worry about it!

    1. Thank you! :)

      And 106 is a beast of a temperature. :/ Stay cool at the horse show this weekend!