It’s too hot!

It’s too hot…I struggle in the heat, my brain hurts, I can’t do what I usually do and have to change my day around so that I do all the outside things early and late rather than during the day as I usually do. Flexibility, that skill that is so important at the moment, becomes even more important during hot weather.

Flexibility, the ability to adapt easily to changing circumstances, is, I think, one of the most important skills that we can learn. I think they should teach children flexibility in school rather than some of the things that they seem to spend their time doing. That would be a far more useful lesson, than how an oxbow lake is formed (literally the only lesson I can remember from geography at school, and has had no practical application ever in my life, whereas mental flexibility I need every day and have never been taught!)

At the moment we need flexibility every day, every hour, as the world and our circumstances change in a kaleidoscope of chaos. Applying flexibility to our horses is just as important as applying flexibility to our own lives. If you bring your horse out to school him and you had planned to a particular exercise that your trainer had given you, it is important to make sure that that exercise is relevant for this day. If it is an exercise to stop your horse rushing, but your horse is very sluggish when you try to school him that day, the exercise is no longer relevant. It is better to think of a new exercise than simply to carry on with the other exercise, because that was what you had planned.

So the next time you come out to ride, make sure you are responding to how your horse is today, and training him from there, rather than simply following your plan. People change, horses change, we need to be flexible to adapt to what is before us.

Wear a hat!

It is so tempting in this hot weather to not wear a hat. Hats are hot and sweaty, and they smell when you have sweated too much into them, but…they will save your life. Personally I would choose being sweaty, hot and smelly over being dead any day.

It’s simply not worth the risk. Always wear a hat to ride, and if you are dealing with any horse on the ground who is unpredictable, young, sharp or you don’t know very well, wear a hat for handling as well. Teaching a young horse to have it’s feet picked up, wear a hat. Turning more than one horse out at once, wear a hat. Teaching a nervous horse to load, wear a hat. Just got a new horse? Wear a hat. Not sure whether you should wear a hat or not – wear a hat.

Wear a properly fitted hat, with a harness. Get your hat checked at least every year, and certainly after any fall or kick. Your brain is far to valuable a commodity to risk it. Brain injury causes damage not only to the individual who has been injured but also to their friends and family who have to deal with the long term consequences of brain damage.

I know it tempting in the heat not to bother, but it only takes a moment and your life, and your family’s life can change irreparably. If you are struggling in the heat, considering riding at an earlier or later time of the day, or give your horse a few days off. Please be mindful of heat exhaustion and keep you and your horses safe during the heatwave. After all being hot is a temporary state, but being brain damaged is for life.