As the summer show season has already begun, and in my case the wedding season, we have to remember to cool our horses down. We all tend to do a great job at that because we are horsemen and know the horse always comes first! We tend to forget about ourselves and the things we are expected to wear to look great tend to be kin to that we wear in the winter months. This combination can lead to terrible situations we don't tend to notice until it is too late.
With the summer heat our bodies use fluids to attempt to keep us cool. We sweat it out! The sweat on our skin is cooled by breezes if we are lucky but mainly tends to evaporate and the heat in the warm sweat is taken with it. What a wonderful process, right? Well it doesn't work so well if we haven't kept up on the water intake! They say we need 8 glasses of water a day. I am sure, even in the winter, I drink a lot more than that. In the summer months or when we are sweating it out in the gym or on the dance floor we need to drink more than those 8 glasses. There is no set "sweat 1 hour equals X number of glasses extra". We have to regulate that ourselves. I have gotten lost amide horse shows, kids camps, weddings, HAY SEASON and other hot horse events where I have completely forgot about hydrating. I unfortunately did this very thing this past weekend.
While grumbling under my breathe that it was too hot, too early in the season to be standing the horses on pavement and while stopping every two carriage rides (of only 15 minutes each) to give the horses water I completely forgot about giving myself water. I did give myself a half a bottle once, only to turn to my helper and give her the rest since she was up and down from the carriage more than I was. Really every drink from the hose for the horses should have equaled one for myself!
I was very dehydrated but luckily did not have heat exhaustion. That terrible thing happened once while working lambs. I don't know how those little buggers in the wool coats did it, running amuck in the pen all day. One thing I did learn is when you are dehydrated and have a nice juicy fruit with you, don't bother. Your body cannot handle the digestion required to get to the liquids if it doesn't have liquids itself! You will just end up in a worse situation. Ever notice when it gets really hot you tend to not be hungry? It is your body's own way of preserving its fluids but it's not a good thing to hold off food so drink up so you are hungry when you should be!
Some signs you should watch for in the heat are head aches, lack of appetite, moodiness (steer clear of me when I need water!), fatigue and muscle soreness or loss of muscle strength. If you manage to keep yourself well hydrated you can expect to last a lot longer than if you weren't! Also a good thing to think of when you are sweating it out in the heat is to drink sports drinks as well as water to help give you back your salts even though you may think that will make you more thirsty. You, just like your horses, loose plenty of electrolytes when you sweat and to be on top of your game you will need those back in your life!
In attempts to not bore you all, I will sign off here and blog about horses who are working in this heat and how to cool them down next time! Until then, go have a glass of water!