Heat Strategies

By Terry Golson

The forecast for the next couple of days is for high humidity, full sun, and temperatures in the mid-90s. Here in New England that’s considered HOT. The animals know how to cope.

The little dog sleeps in.


I wilt in this weather but I need to ride Tonka. After months of light work, we’re getting back into shape. I’ve got a goal – our first show is in five weeks. Getting fit can’t be rushed, but it can’t be done sporadically, either. This morning I arrived at the barn before 9 am, so that we’d ride when it was *only* in the 80s. The barn cats were already stretched out in the breeze.


Cider is a wise horse. He loves his cool shed.


Tonka, as usual, was waiting at the gate for me. After a quick brush-off, we went into the woods to loosen up on the trails – in the shade!


Then we schooled in the outside riding ring. We worked hard for a half-hour, and then went back into the woods, both to get fit on the hills with a bit of trot and canter, and then to cool off.

After the ride I hosed him off and let him graze for a half-hour in the grass paddock. Even in the full sun, it was so humid that when I put him back into his dirt paddock he was still wet.

Tonka was born and raised in Texas. He knows about heat. He knows just what to do. This:


Quite the thorough job!


When done, he came right over to me with an expression that clearly said, I feel great! What’s next?

The answer was a disappointment to him. I went home for a shower. He gets the rest of the day off. I’ll be back tomorrow. I’ll schedule enough time to give him a good grooming. He’ll need it.

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