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Thursday, July 8, 2010

What to do in the heat?

So it's no hidden fact that it's hotter than hell out this time of year and that many horses don't want to do much. Hell, not many riders want to do very much either. So, even if you don't want to do a traditional training ride on these hot days because you can't get out to the barn at 4am to beat the heat (I know I'm not getting my ass out of bed that early!) then there are other options out there:

1. You can clean tack. I know, its not the most glamorous thing to do, but it needs to be done. And I bet your beeswax conditioner is nice and soft in the heat too. Just be sure to get all of the sweat and crud off of your tack first! I personally use the Passier Creamsoap and then the Passier Lederbalsam. The Lederbalsam is great and has beeswax in it but doesn't have oil so it doesn't over saturate the pores of your leather. Everyone has their own methods, and these are the things that are in my usual arsenal of tack cleaning. That, a good sponge, a clean rag and a tooth brush for those tough places.

2. You can scrub your horse, pony club style. I myself was never a pony clubber, but I've heard that if one was ever to follow all of the rules in the handbook that you would never have time to actually get on the horse. If you're deathly curious as to how a pony clubber meticulously grooms their pony to gleaming brightness, you can click here for the instructions and try yourself. I'm sure it will take up an afternoon for sure.

3. You can bond with your steed by doing some confidence building ground work. Set up a mini obstacle course and convince your horse to follow you through the areas either having your horse have to do tight turns, or have to go by or over scary things like big blue tarps or stacked up plastic chairs. This can help for future showing situations, and since your horse is hot and tired already hopefully he'll be less willing to spook.

4. Since it is so gross and smelly out, you could strip your horse's stall down to nothing and scrub it, but I would be VERY impressed if anyone did this in this heat. If you do, send me a photo and I'll post it here! That might help with some of the uber icky smell that can come along with the summer though...

5. Or you can just go to the barn and get some beer and sit around with your barn friends and shoot the shit. I personally vote for this one. Hose the horses off to cool them off a little and then set up shop under a tree with some of your gal friends and chat about whatever gossip is going on in your local dressage world, or your work, or just have a good laugh.

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