Friday, July 6, 2012

Sweltering Heat!

Like many of you, we in Virginia have been suffering in the sweltering heat of triple digit temperatures. Last weekend we had over 100 degrees on both days. So I didn’t ride Buckshot – too hot to ask him for a ride. Instead I brought him over to the main barn and groomed him. I swear that standing in the stall with him is like being in a room with an active heater going full blast!! LOL! A horse is a mega-heater, which we love in the cold temperatures but wow! During this heat wave, it’s killer.

On Saturday, I gave him a shower after our grooming and walked and grazed him back to his pasture. But on Sunday, we did some groundwork in the arena first. Just some simple exercises and patterns for about twenty minutes. He was a bit crabby, a little mouthy, and had forgotten which way was “back.” I know that he knows his “backing” from going forward, but he wasn’t much in the mood to do it. I think I was a bit crabby also, from the heat. I washed him off with lots of water afterward and slowly we meandered back to his pasture, going slowly for my sake.

Since we had Wednesday off of work for the July 4th holiday, I took an extra day off – Tuesday – and went out to the barn. It was still very hot, in the high 90’s, but I decided to ride. As I got the stall ready, I could feel the effects of the heat, and I moved very slowly, drinking water and Gatorade regularly, conserving my energy. I told myself I could back out of riding at any time if the heat was too much. But I wanted to ride, even just at the walk, and even if just for a short time, say twenty minutes. I missed riding. And I think Buckshot wanted to ride also, and do our “regular” work.

When I went to his pasture to get him, he came to the gate and nickered! That was a first, since he only usually nickers when it is feeding time. But this was around 1 pm so I don’t think he thought it was yet time to eat. I walked him slowly over to the barn, and we started grooming. Wow, grooming is especially hard work in high heat. So I cut back a little, I didn’t do quite as much as I usually do. Moved slowly and kept up the Gatorade drinking. I got him tacked up and headed out to the arena.

I felt kind of excited to be riding! We rode for thirty five minutes, mostly at the walk, with just a few minutes at the trot. We did circles and serpentines, and patterns, and I worked a little on my equitation. After trotting, I stopped Buckshot and looked at his flanks, to see if they were heaving with effort. They didn’t. But that was long enough. By then, the sun had stopping flitting behind the clouds and it shone or baked us with full intensity. I knew it was time to get off of him. I untacked him and gave him a nice shower and lots of treats. It was wonderful to ride him, and feel our partnership, even if for a short time. I told him what a wonderful horse he is!! Good boy!

To fill you in on the probiotic experiment, we have had Buckshot and his pasture mate on the Command FT Probiotic that I bought from Valley Vet. The ingredients are similar to Fastrack, but it isn’t as costly. So far, so good. I check their stalls and paddocks for poop and carefully evaluate what I see. Unfortunately, I haven’t seen Buckshot personally poop the last few times I have been with him. But surely some of the poop I see on the ground is his. And it looks okay- 80% of the piles show good ball shapes, and 20% show cow patty shapes. That’s not bad.

I’ve talked to the BO about what we see so far, and we think it is fine. After we finish this five pound bag of Command, we are going to use the other probiotic I bought, called Forco. We’ll see how that one does as well. I’ll keep you posted. So far, I am pleased with the Command product. As you can see, I’ve become sort of an expert on horse poop. LOL! I look at other horses at the farm, many of whom are Arabs, and their delicate but firm and round poop balls and I am jealous for Buckshot! But it is not to be; his poop just isn’t that solid and beautifully round, no doubt due to his age. So I look at every poop he does when I am with him. When I ride, and he poops, I circle back around to look at it. LOL! Just to make sure it isn’t too bad. And to reassure myself that his intestines are working okay. Because of that, I watch other horse’s poop as well, and make an inner comment on it – Oh, that’s a nice poop! Or, Oh, that’s not too bad. Or, why do other horses have green poop? Poor Buckshot hasn’t had green poop for a long time! I wish he had green poop balls. You get the picture. It’s so funny, what you become focused on with your horse!!

Anyway, enough about that topic – so sorry to make you read all that! Hope you stay cool and have a good weekend with your horse!!

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