Too Hot To Ride

What to do with cross-country jumps when you get a pool and it’s too hot to ride and train. Perfect. Photo by Laura Rayne.

When I ride I am always trying to produce results for the agenda, and I know as an adult amateur I’m not alone.

We all try hard to make sure we are keeping our strength and endurance up, our horse’s condition up, our skill sets up to par in the few minutes we have each day to ride. Mostly we do this to avoid embarrassment at lessons in front of our trainers, who stand with patient dismay when we jump the offset oxer backwards.

Another big motivator: really, really hot weather. Getting up early to ride is a requirement and if you are in air conditioning all day it’s even more important, because you can’t breathe if you wait til 6 pm. And if you can’t breathe, you get stupid.

Take Monday. Predicted high heat. So of course I get up early to ride. But I had 67 new emails overnight for work and Young Riders, so I did them all first while coffee is mainlined. Then I finally get outside, an hour after I intended to start, and get the right horse tacked up.

So of course, I drop the fly whisk first lap of the first trot set and am too far from anything resembling a mounting block to stop and pick it up. Next, I forgot to hit myself with the people fly spray, which I discovered as a fly bit my leg right after dropping the fly whisk.

Then, it seems really hot and the helmet is causing my head to sweat, and the face sunscreen is dripping into my eyes and stinging them. And I go to wipe away the sweat with the hand that has the Wind-Aid on it. (That’s some strong breathing stuff if you don’t know, and has lots of tingling stuff in it.)

Now I can’t see at all and my eye, that I wiped with the Wind-Aid, is on fire. My horse is however still dutifully trotting along, my watch is beeping because I’m supposed to start the canter set, and I am trying not to fall off because I can’t see. All this and not really 10 minutes into riding yet this morning. Can I get a do-over?

It’s my own fault. I entered the event in July knowing I would have to do this in summer heat, and I deserve the penance of stupidity (seriously, who drops a flywhisk at a walk?)

I think summer teaches you that success has a lot to do with self-control. (That, and a good alarm clock.) But all good sports require self-control to develop training habits and keep going towards goals. I read somewhere that you have to keep moving if you set a goal.

Yep, I’m moving. I’m moving sweaty saddle pads to wash in the washrack, I’m moving the switch on the fans to “on”, I’m moving the horses into their stalls for the hot afternoon, and I’m moving my sorry butt to an air-conditioned couch to watch a baseball game on TV. Sorry, not sorry. Kiss my ass, summer!

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