This Summer Starts off Hot and Muggy

We are not getting a break from these conditions, the lows are in the mid-upper 70'sF and when the sun rises it rapidly gets worse. I am so very grateful that the ladies I ride with are OK with me starting at 8:00 AM, the humidity is high but at least the sun has yet to heat the ground up.

I did have good results from my week of exercising my riding muscles at home, as in my riding muscles did not get sore when I started riding again. After my first ride, on Sunday, I realized that though my muscles were stronger, they were not strong enough to keep my lower leg from slipping back when I post or get up into two-point, and I decided enough, I HAVE TO do something to fix this eternal problem of mine. I researched the web, found out that the half-chaps I have been fantasizing about, ones with silicon grip, do exist now. I called my “local” tack store, but, alas, they do not carry them, so I will have to order them on-line. I went back to using the Sporty Haft-Spray on the inside of my half-chaps, and it did seem to help me some, at least it will help me survive until I can get the half-chaps with the silicon grip.

We had to work Bingo gently in the heat since he had gotten into heat distress during riding camp week, they had to get him into the shade and hose him down to get his temperature down. I did not use my Fenwick Face Mask with Ears so his ears could radiate heat. I did not use my BOT exercise sheet at all, though from the ride I got out of Bingo I think I will go back to putting it on him for the walk to the riding ring. Bingo's new wind-puff still aggravates him so Debbie is going back to treating it with DMSO and wrapping. It was so bad that Debbie did not let me do any sharp curves, turns, or turns in place. We do not dare to take his BOT exercise boots off of him, so I limited myself to walking so his lower legs did not get too hot. Part of Bingo's problems with the heat are caused by his Cushing's disease, in that he still has a LOT of winter undercoat even though he has supposedly shed out. Luckily my new grooming tool, the Kong Cat ZoomGroom, gets a lot of this sub-coat off even after a thorough grooming with the HandsOn gloves, jelly scrubber, flick brush and body brush. I will just have to use it more on him, all over him, instead of just under the saddle and on his head. Maybe I will get enough hair off of him so he can tolerate the heat better.

Since I did not put his BOT exercise rug on him for the walk to the riding ring, Bingo was very stiff in his movements, and he did not want to move out at all. It was only in the last three minutes of my 30 minute lesson that I could feel the push of his hind legs through my seat and he took good contact. On one hand it was exhilarating to feel his power, on the other hand I wondered how in the world I would be able to stay in the saddle when his uses all this power in the trot, canter, and gallop. I'll just have to work on my lower legs some more, they will be my only hope as he springs through the air with the greatest of ease when we finally fix his many problems!

Bingo is somewhat of a puzzle, I have NEVER ridden a horse whose conformation is so unsuitable for dressage, from his low set neck, his super thick throat latch through his high, high, high croup, Bingo is an illustration of a horse whose conformation is totally unsuited for dressage. On the other hand Bingo is the one horse, out of all the horses I've ridden, that at times I feel has the desire, the ability, and the mind to do dressage. Unfit though he may be, at times, when he gets thoroughly warmed up, his hind legs feel much more powerful at the walk than any other horse I've ridden, except for the 18.2 hand half-draft horse.

Mia was, as always, very appreciative when I groomed her. Though her summer coat past shedding is nowhere as thick as Bingo's coat I still got loads of her old winter undercoat off of her when I used the ZoomGroom cat grooming tool. I used the BOT exercise sheet on her since she has shown no signs of heat distress. As usual I walked and trotted, and the worst thing that occurred is her cough is back big time. Since we have not gotten much rain lately it is very dusty, aggravating her cough. Between her coughs she did very well, striding forth confidently.

It is when the heat and humidity get high that I can no longer deny that I am crippled by my MS. Throughout the rest of the year I can sort of fake being a better rider, but when the heat drains my energy the truth comes out, I am crippled and I will remain crippled, and if I want to ride well I just have to adapt to my body's limitations. Ever since I started wearing the Columbia Sportswear Omni-Freeze Zero neck gaiter I have not felt the promised cooling, but I last for 5 minutes longer before collapsing in the saddle. My hair actually stays dry instead of ending up soaked with sweat so that is another improvement. If I did not have my technical fabric riding tights, shirt, and ventilated half-chaps I do not know if I would still be able to ride in the summer heat without harm. I LOVE the modern summer clothing, it makes my life so much easier when normally I would melt into a little puddle.

Have a great ride!

Jackie Cochran

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