Well, spring was fun while it lasted. To be honest we had a pretty good run this year, with a short and mild winter, and the heat was a little bit slower in arriving than it sometimes is. My only real complaint is that we haven’t gotten much rain. This concerns me, heading into what is our driest time of year. Hard ground plus a lack of grass are not my ideas of a good time for the next 5 months. Granted, there’s nothing about a Texas summer that meets any of my requirements of a good time.
With the heat comes a change in routine. Last summer I switched to riding early in the mornings, which, while REALLY FREAKING HUMID, were at least more pleasant than riding in 100+ degrees. Nothing that I have ever tried for Henry’s heat intolerance has actually helped, so I think I’m officially waiving the white flag on our attempts at supplements. Granted, I still have half-full bottles of Equipulmin and Respi-Free laying around, irritating me with their mere presence.
But last week I officially made the switch over to morning rides, which involve some very early alarms and a Henry that is a little more grumpy than usual. He was not thrilled at me stumbling out through his pasture in the dark, using the flashlight on my phone to find him, and then bringing him in to ride rather than eat breakfast. I’m so mean. I was not that thrilled about it either, but that’s just how life is when you live in the sweltering armpit of America.
Mostly though I just spend all spring making him over-fit and then coast through summer. He maintains it pretty well, and summers are his easiest season anyway, as far as work load. Between the heat and the hard ground I tend to cut way back on the conditioning rides and any unnecessary “pounding”. I did just send in a show entry though, for the June schooling show that we’ve gone to the past 2 years. That one was always kind of sketchy with the weather, because you ran XC around 1pm, in the heat of the day, and the speed was maxed out. I was happy to see that this year they’ve changed the format and now dressage is Saturday afternoon (which will be terrible, but it’s dressage so it’s terrible by default) and stadium/XC are Sunday morning. It’ll be humid, but hopefully a little easier on the horses, not being in the blaring heat of the day. We’ll see how Henry does with it. They also lowered the speed to 420mpm (minimum Training speed), way easier than 470 (maximum Training speed). He can lope along easily at 420, no problem.
The only real bummer about switching to our summer schedule is that I have less time to spend with Presto on the weekdays. Usually by the time I’m done with Henry I’m feeling rushed to get out of there so I can get to work and be showered and at my desk in time for our daily 8am meeting. That means Presto’s weekdays might now be limited to a quick grooming, saving the rest of his “work” for weekends.
Or it means that I’ll just arrive at meetings unshowered and still in my barn clothes. That’s probably more likely. Wouldn’t be the first time.
It’s a little frustrating to feel like we kind of barely got going in the spring, and now we’re already dialing things back down again. The spring season never really got off the ground, since I’ve been working a lot and stockpiling money like a crazy person to make myself feel better about the added expense of a second horse. Thems the breaks, though, and I don’t regret it one bit. Hopefully by fall everything will be a little more ironed out and stable and we’ll be able to have more of a “real” season.
Until then we’ll just be over here trying our best not to melt.