When the going gets tough, the tough get going. Have you heard that before? Certainly it applies to horses in the summer. It seems as though the heat and humidity get worse each year. Many people give up riding in my area in the summer, due to the dangerous insects that cause horses to turn inside out (regardless of a rider) to avoid being stung or bitten, that no insecticide seems to repel. They get bigger every year – these huge black flying bugs, horse flies, deer flies, and the huge black things that have a stinger like Nurse Nightmare’s syringe. How many times have I walked out to the barn aisle, chewing the air, and thinking, “Nah…not wanting to tack up and ride in THIS,” and then, I think of Fair Hill, and how neat it is to ride there, and get the tack out and get going.
Sometimes just the thought of a good place to go and compete makes me hustle my butt a little and get riding no matter what the weather. While we all love the cooler temperatures, with them comes fall and less time to ride in daylight; summer brings more opportunities and competitions so if you want to get your green horses out and about, you’ve got to ride in the summer.
I am not a fan of just grabbing a horse out of the field and shipping off to a show. I think it is very hard on your horses to have a hard physical day of trailering, warmup, competing, standing in the sun, and finally trailering home after hours of a typical horse show day. I think your horse needs to be ridden regularly and often. That is not to say you can’t skip a day here and there. But overall, the physical fitness must be in place and you don’t get that riding once a week. The fitness pathway in your horse’s body gets there from slow, regular, patient work, day after day. You can’t say, “nah” four or five times a week and expect your horse to be fit for a day’s horse showing in hot weather.
So I kick myself in the butt, get on the horse, and even if it’s just a 30 minute walk with a bit of trot or canter, I get going and get riding for their health. Besides, it helps me end the day on a good note and gets me sweating a little, all good. I just am really careful to remember the fly spray!