Saharan Dust

We’ve had a significant haze hanging over the area since Friday–so hazy on Friday that I decided not to ride. It’s also been very windy out at the barn. AND the water truck needed a tire repair so the footing in the arena was sandier than usual on Saturday morning. This culmination of factors meant I ducked out of a lesson after 4 jumps. Before we started my trainer even asked if I wanted to jump that day and my response was may as well try. But the dust in the air proved too much for my eyes and I had a hard time even seeing through squinty, itchy, watery eyes. I am sure Eli wasn’t enjoying that, either. Sunday was a little less hazy but no less hot so Eli got another break.

This made me think about another factor that affects our riding, especially in the summer, and that is air quality. It may not be much of a factor for rural areas, but suburban riding stables all over the country must experience this issue to a certain extent. When you have not only heat, but poor-quality air dense with particulate matter, do you decide not to ride? How do you decide whether to ride or not–is there a threshold of ppm that gives you pause? How often do you check the allergy forecast in your area?

14 thoughts on “Saharan Dust

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  1. Thankfully I don’t have allergies (yet) and none of my horses are especially sensitive to the air, so I only skip riding if there is a bad air quality day and/or it is crazy hot. I don’t jump very high at home so I’m not terribly worried about the footing. We put 10 semi loads of sand in my arena this spring so it’s still holding up quite well.


  2. not sure what happened today but the air quality down here must have altered, I am hacking and coughing and snotting with eyes watering. i havent had any issue but even overcast there is a heat index of 110 or some such nonsense so i have to think the air is bad. UGH

    Sorry you didn’t get to ride much. Hope it clears up for you soon…..


  3. I don’t check the allergy forecast but I do listen for air quality reports. We live near Toronto and as this is a big city when the weather is hot and humid the air can get to be pretty nasty. Fortunately the barn is just far enough away that most of the time the air is still ok so i ride.


  4. The barn is far enough out of the city that it’s not usually too bad, but I’ve had to skip the last few days because of the humidity + heat combo. I have asthma and humidity is one of my triggers (I was SUPER FUN to live with in Alabama…) so I try to be careful and ride when it drops. When I lived out west, we had to be really careful for the opposite because it’s so dry and sandy and the wind blows and you get haboobs.


    1. Humidity is why I ride in the evenings — much lower by then. Plus I don’t want to wake up at 4am. I hope you adjust to the Alabama humidity and figure out how to manage!


  5. I’m allergic to all kinds of pollen and have asthma, so I pretty much have to ride through all that or not ride. But if it seems like it will be unfavorable for my horse, than I will definitely take a day off.
    I don’t have a horse to ride right now, but if I did, I would have skipped out of riding yesterday for sure. The pollen count was something like 90%, it was 96 degrees out with 73% humidity resulting in a heat index of 110. Very uncommon for shoreline CT. It was like breathing under water out there!


  6. Ugh that sounds pretty miserable. My current barn is 40 mins outside of Dallas, so haze doesn’t seem to be an issue (so far), but the heat certainly is. Definitely part of the reason why I may be taking it a bit easy in July!


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