With another scorcher of a day, I debated skipping another day of riding, but with my first show in 3 weeks, I wanted to practice what I learned at my lesson. But I took a bunch of precautions.
1) I rode very early in the morning. I got to the barn before 7 am when it was still in the 80s. It was nice to see the horses munching their hay in the peace of the morning. I was surprised no one else had the same idea.
2) I hosed PJ off before I went into the ring. I got under his belly, his chest, under his tail, and down his legs.
3) I gave him lots of breaks. We trotted and once he felt nice and bouncy through a few serpentines and straight-aways I gave him a break. Then we did some canter work and I gave him another break. We ended on walk work.
4) We didn’t ride very long, maybe 30 minutes. I really wanted to work more on our canter departs because they were bad, but PJ was panting. It wouldn’t have done any good to drill. I ended by working on the collect at the walk and then going forward, which is related to our canter departs because it is about responsiveness to my seat.
5) I quickly untacked him and hosed him off again. I started on his belly and legs, where the big veins are close to the surface, and moved up from there.
6) I made sure he had some fresh water in his buckets. I probably should have done this before our ride.
When I put him back in his stall, the fact that he didn’t rush to drink the new water was a good sign. He seemed comfortable. He’ll be able to rest all day in his stall during the worst of this heatwave, and won’t go out until the evening when it’s a bit cooler. Being safe in inclement weather is the most important thing. It doesn’t help to do the perfect trot half-pass if you pass out before reaching the rail, and it definitely doesn’t help build a horse’s confidence if he’s pushed pass his limits. Be cool and be safe everyone!