Monday, June 13, 2011

More Extreme Summer Heat

It was a challenging weekend! Virginia had its first batch of extreme summer heat and humidity and was it a scorcher! Saturday, June 11, we had temperatures in the high 90’s F, with strong humidity. Buckshot was a trouper though! I was unaware that the temperatures had climbed so high. I was of course, very hot, sweaty and wanted to move slowly. I got Buckshot in from his pasture and checked his rain rot. Unfortunately, while two areas had healed, and a third area was in the process of diminishing, a new area of rain rot had appeared on his right hip. I sprayed it before taking him down to the barn to tack up.

I put a small amount of some special alfalfa hay in the stall for him. He loves it! I groomed him and tacked him up. My Cashel Tush Cushion had arrived in the mail so I used it on my saddle. (It works great – and gives a firm inch or so of dense foam right under my butt, just where it is needed. It is easy to attach to the saddle also.)

We headed out to the arena early and started our phase one walking. After twenty minutes, we started trotting and after a few tries, Buckshot rallied with some very nice trotting. We did a few canters, which felt a little funny with the new pad on my saddle – I’ll have to do more cantering to get used to it. But it definitely protected my seat bones. By this time, I was really feeling the heat, and giving Buckshot extra standing time in the shade.

A few students joined us in the arena and a bit later, we walked down the barn road to a neighbor’s house. A seven year old girl was having a birthday party and wanted a ride on a horse, so the BO rode one of the school horses and we followed. This party had added a huge, colorful bouncy house/ plastic slide thing for the kids to enjoy, but we riders were very wary of how our horses would react, so we stayed back, slightly behind trees and didn’t go where the bouncy house was fully visible. All of the horses behaved wonderfully. We rode back down the road with the birthday girl being led by the BO.

We arrived at the field arena and while the BO led the girl on down some grassy patches the rest of us spent a few minutes in the arena. Buckshot and I trotted and then cantered. I did quite well at sitting the canter (thanks to the pad, I think) and at using my hands well to give him the rein he needs while keeping a little contact with his mouth. Then we went to stand in some shade at the side of the arena. Buckshot decided I must be lost, and he started his itty-bitty steps to the side and towards the road (you know, back to the barn… the route all horses know by heart LOL). Laughing, I gently steered him back to the arena and we stayed with the other horses to return the birthday girl to her party, and we went on into a wooded trail, and then back to the barn. In all, Buckshot and I rode for almost two hours (which is quite a bit more than I would have ridden him if I’d known it was 99 degrees). He did well, though.

After untacking him and giving him treats (which he voted were not as good as the alfalfa hay!), I gave him a full medicated shampoo bath, and wiped him down with a squeegee. I then sprayed his blanket with Vetrolin spray for a sunscreen. In case you didn’t know, blanket is a term used on Appaloosas to mean a large area of skin/hair that doesn’t have many spots. I think most blankets are white hair. Buckshot has mostly white hair on the back half of him, so his coloring is called red with white blanket. The white area is where I spray sunscreen. I used a little bit of human baby sunscreen on his white blaze on his face. Then I walked him back to his pasture and told him what great work he had done that day! Later I applied more treatment to his rain rot, sprayed him with regular fly spray, gave him his dewormer (or most of it), put his fly mask on, and finally, left him to be a horse!! LOL!

On Sunday, June 12th, I came ultra-prepared for the hot weather. I brought more water, more Gatorade, more snacks and more ice. I planned to walk slower and sit down whenever the heat started to feel oppressive. I also planned to ride Buckshot earlier, and for a much shorter time than on Saturday. We had severe thunderstorms forecast for Sunday afternoon so I wanted to get my time with Buckshot before any old weather messed us up.

We had the arena to ourselves as there wasn’t anyone else at the barn. And the arena had two large wet spots in it. One large spot I called the lake; the other one I called the pond. I told Buckshot we would name it the LakePond Arena! We did our phase one walking and I used the lake and pond to give variety. A few times we walked around them, other times we walked right through the middle of them, other times we used them as borders. After walking, Buckshot did some lovely, energetic trotting, and we did a few canters. We rode for 45 minutes and then I dismounted. He had done great in our work!

I untacked him, gave him his treats, and gave him another medicated shampoo bath. I checked his weight because I have had to go up another hole on his girth. Fortunately, he hasn’t lost weight; rather the girth is apparently stretching. When I walked him back to his pasture, he had a spring in his step and seemed happy as a clam! What a good boy! After he rolled, and I applied some treatments to him, I left him and his pasturemate standing side by side in one of their stalls, hind feet cocked, nodding off into an afternoon nap – two happy horses! What a wonderful thing! What a wonderful horse he is – I am so honored that he is my horse!!

Today I bought some more Equispot and Eqyss Spray. I gulped as I saw the price of Equispot and decided to research any homemade options for a stay-on fly spray. Since Buckshot is in pasture all of the time, and I don’t get out to see him daily, I need a stay-on option, as well as my regular fly spray. After reading about various homemade ideas, I think an option for me may be to try Repel X, and not dilute it too much. Also, Repel X has a lotion form that is a stay on product. It has a much lower pyrethrins percentage than Equispot has. So I will give this some more thought. Have you found an effective stay on fly control product?

Hope you had a great weekend!


Carol said...

Sounds like you guys are just getting beter and better. I'm so impressed with both of you that you could stay out for 2 hours in that heat. I know I couldn't do it.
I've never found an effective fly spray. Luckily our horses can go into their stalls on their own, so that's what I rely on. If you find anything good please let me know!

juliette said...

You are not far from me and we had that horrible heat too. I hope you and Buckshot are enjoying this pleasant week now, though. It is perfectly cool and wonderful.

I can't find a bug spray that works well. I give my boys garlic and that helps with the flies, but not with the gnats.

I bet Buckshot loved his bath during the heatwave!