Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Hot Weather Reminder

This was originally posted on Facebook by my local dressage and combined training association. It's good stuff to remember during the hottest months of summer.

When is it too hot to ride?

by Birmingham Dressage and Combined Training Association on Monday, July 11, 2011 at 10:36am ·

With the heat & high humidity wave we are having in Alabama, I thought this was a good time to remind everyone to be careful with their horses. As all of us Southerners know, its not just the heat, its the humidity! When the humidity is over 75%, a horse's ability to cool itself is greatly reduced, no matter what the temperature. When making the decision if its to hot to ride, you have to consider the temperature, humidity & wind. To figure out if its safe to ride use this simple formula...

The Formula:
air temperature + relative humidity - wind speed = answer
Less than 130: All go-horses can function to cool themselves assuming adequate hydration.
130 - 170: Caution-a horse’s cooling mechanisms can only partially function as intended. Some cooling management procedures will need to be performed.
180 or above: Stop-a horse’s cooling systems cannot and will not function adequately. All cooling procedures will need to be utilized to keep the horse out of serious trouble.

For example
Temperature (F) + relative humidity (%) - wind speed
This morning (7/11/11) at 10:00 am in Oneonta, AL:
Temperature (F) 84 (so not that hot)
Relative Humidity (%) 80 (but VERY humid!)
Wind Speed 1 (MPH) (and no wind)
Answer = 163- use caution! As someone who has had heat exhaustion more than once, if I decided to ride, I would opt to go on a leisurely trail ride & not work my horse in these conditions, even though my ArabX handles the heat better than I do :)

Of course, you should consider both your & your horses level of conditioning, level of work & heat tolerance when making these decisions. And make sure you are aware of the signs of heat exhaustion in both horses & people!

If your horse does get overheated, remember that research at the Atlanta Olympics showed that the best way to cool a horse down quickly is to use cold water (ice water) with the sponge & scrape method. Do not leave the water on the horse since it heats up quickly & can actually slow down the cooling process- scrape the water off and apply more- repeat till the horse is cooled off.

For more information check out

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Big Bird's Success Story for the Day

I haven't had the heart to blog much since Ivan passed away, but I have to brag about the big bird today :) I booted him up and stayed either in the arena or in the grass, and he's more comfortable that he was the other day. A couple mis-steps on the left fore, but mostly sound almost the whole time aside from that. Sebastian did very well in the arena today, giving me a rather nice shoulder-in, a great stretchy trot with his nosie nearly to the ground when I asked him to stretch long, a few great strides of renvers, AND THEN HE WENT DOWN THE BIG HILL TO THE BACK TRAILS WITHOUT FUSSING!!!! We didn't do the entirety of the back trails, just the big hill down to the bridge and back again. We went back into the arena, worked a little more, then hacked out down the road to Allison's driveway and back :) He got many cookies for being such a good boy :-D