Staying Cool When It’s God Awful Outside

It’s averaging about 107°F in my town right now and we’re expecting a major heat wave this weekend. There are no words to describe this type of heat, except for unbearably crazy. The are a couple good things about the weather, though.

  1. It gave me inspiration for this post, and
  2. I have a new appreciation for air conditioning

But for those days that you can’t spend 12 hours inside an air controlled building, I thought it would be a good idea to bring up some ways to beat the final days of drastic heat before it is fall and then we have to worry about how we will ride in 29°F weather!

First things first, invest in a huge, durable water bottle. I have a Nalgene and a Hydroflask, but my Hydroflask is smaller and I have to refill it about 5 times a day. If you’re going to be outside for long periods of time, the bigger the water bottle, the better. I’ve noticed that after awhile, water will taste good when you’re hot and sweaty no matter the temperature. If you want to spend $50 on a water bottle, get a 40 oz. Yeti or Hydroflask. If you want to spend $12, get a Nalgene. The most important thing about riding in the heat is to stay hydrated!

Another thing that helps with the heat are the long sleeve, UV protecting, sun shirts that you can buy at almost any horse supply store. Ariat, Kerrits, Noble Outfitters, Goode Rider, Kastel, Tuff Rider, and the list goes on, all make these shirts so there is no trouble finding what you need. It seems counterintuitive to wear a long sleeve shirt outside when its triple-digit heat, but these shirts are life savers. They’re made with cooling fabric and have a couple vents in them, so it feels like you’re riding with a tank top on. They also eliminate the need for sunscreen on your arms! I personally love riding in these shirts no matter the temperature.

On the subject of clothing, investing in some riding tights or breeches made of cooling fabric is never a bad choice. Actually, just buy everything in technical fabric. The magic moisture-wicking ways of these garments are by far the most amazing thing of the 21st century. You can buy socks, underwear, breeches, boots, bandanas, almost anything under the sun containing this awesome fabric.

There are also cooling vests, bandanas, headbands, and neck coolers that you can buy if you’re riding for long periods of time in crazy heat. You can soak these in cold water for a little bit and they will stay cool for hours! These are great investments if you’ll be spending the whole day riding outside.

Aside from cool clothing, there are a couple other things I swear by when I’m riding in the heat. First, never, ever, ever, take the heat as an excuse to not wear your helmet. The heat can bring on exhaustion faster than anything else, so you don’t want to be fainting on your horse with no head protection. Also, if you don’t feel well, don’t ride. Simple as that. Your horse is probably warm as well and can handle another day off.

If you do ride in the heat, try to choose the coolest hours of the day. Aka, the early morning or late evening. It’s also a good idea to properly cool yourself and your horse down. Obviously hosing them off is a good choice, but take extra care to walk them out as well. When it’s really hot outside, administering electrolytes to your horse (and you!) will help them combat any heat stress they have.

These are just a couple of thoughts for combatting the heat and still riding! If you want some more thoughts, let me know! Remember to just take your exercise one stride at a time, and stop if you or your horse doesn’t feel normal!

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Discovering Other Disciplines

I am beginning another segment on my blog because I feel like it and it’s fun so here we go yay! It’s called latte horse talk. My attempt is to make it similar to coffee talk, where you just discuss interesting topics and see what happens. Today, I want to talk about different disciplines.

I started out my riding career as an event rider. I swore I thought I was so good at riding. When I started competing, I was 10 and I knew that I had a long way to go and a lot to learn before I was riding some serious fences, but I figured that staying with event trainers would land me there quickly. Boy, I REALLY had a long way to go, but it seemed completely doable. Honestly, it would have worked out. Staying in one discipline usually works just fine, but I had a bit of a different path.

Instead, I tried different things. Most of this happened when I went away to college. Not only did I experiment with jumpers, hunters, and dressage, but I also took classes about conformation, judging, and beginning western riding! I also took a halter breaking class (which I talk about in this blog post) and I learned a lot about horse behavior. Each class/experience I had gave me a bit to take into my own riding. I’d like to think I became a better rider because of it.

Even if you don’t want to step out of your comfort zone and do another discipline, try taking a lesson with another trainer! Sometimes they give you a solution to a problem you’ve been having forever. One of the first times I rode with a different trainer, I asked why my horse kept doing running after the fence over and over again and I felt like I was falling forward whenever I would try to half halt. I swear it seems like the simplest solution now, but she casually said try keeping your leg on. I know, I know, it’s like the easiest thing to do and for years I didn’t have it in my head to do it. But now, I will never forget that and my half halts are so darn good it’s insane!

If you’re looking to get better at your riding, or looking for a fun adventure, try other disciplines. Compete in a jumper class if you’re a dressage person. Sit on a reiner and try a spin or two. Heck, just take a lesson from a different trainer. Trust me.

Because you learn amazing things along the way!

Okay cool, well I hope it works out then. Just take your learning experience one stride at a time and it will all work out!

 

 

Jump Into…Clarity

I was 5 years old when I decided that I wanted to be a vet. I spent my whole life being passive about it, worrying about other things like what movies were out or when I could ride. I never once took an internship at a vet’s office or asked my equine vet to ride around in his car. But I still kept this dream all through elementary, middle, and high school.

I was 19 years old when I decided I didn’t want to be a vet. I decided so after riding around with the previously mentioned vet and being thrown into thermodynamics (which I absolutely hated for many reasons). I decided that my career would have to be something different.

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So there I was, 19 years old, at a college that specialized in agriculture, engineering, and architecture, in a major that specialized in pre-vet, and I literally have no idea why I’m there. Instead of running away, I decided to take every single interesting animal science class I could to expose myself to different things. I learned that I love horses, anatomy is amazing, and I still have no idea what I want to be.

A couple years later, I graduate college. I enroll in the MBA program because a well-rounded education sounded nice. I’ve worked in businesses before and people seem okay, right? Okay, well then I graduate. I still have no idea what I am doing.

Then, people start asking me what I want to do. As if I need more pressure, right? But it was actually useful because these people were a bit older and wiser and actually gave me sound advice.

So, after years and years of feeling lost, I am slowly pulling myself out of confusion. There’s a couple of things that helped me with this and I want to share them so everyone can embark on a journey of confusion to clarity.

  1. Talk to different people about things like careers, their past, or and wisdom that they can pass down to you.
  2. Don’t be passive in your life. Sometimes I think back and feel like I was dealt the wrong hand. I feel like I wasn’t given as many opportunities as some of my peers. But when I think more on that, it’s because I didn’t allow myself to open up. I didn’t allow myself to try new things or ask people for help.
  3. Do things that interest you. Don’t worry about what everyone else thinks because in 5 years from now, those people won’t be living your life.
  4. Read self-help books. Whatever you want to believe about them, these books are actually very helpful. Right now, I am reading about finding your career of your choice. I’ve also read books about empowerment and the like.
  5. Read memoirs. Watch documentaries. Learn. Expose yourself to things that might not be ‘you’ at the moment. This will all help you find yourself and your true passions. Plus, you might learn something really cool.
  6. Take time to self-reflect. I always loved the idea of keeping a journal. I’ve never been able to do it until I started this blog. If blogging isn’t your thing, there are plenty of other mindful activities that help. Doing something mindful for 20 minutes a day really helps.
  7. Don’t forget to have fun! I think I did this throughout my life, more than the other lessons that I’ve written down. While it’s not as productive, doing something fun helps you know what you want, what you like, and what you want to keep in your life.

There are so many more lessons I’ve learned throughout the years. But I think everything here is really important. No matter what stage you are in life, it is good to just allow yourself to have new experiences because that puts you one step closer to a life of happiness. And that’s what everyone on this planet should have.

 

Ok cool, so just take this thing called life one stride at a time and you’ll be good, yeah?