Conrad and I do just fine in the heat because we stay in air conditioning. If we walk, it’s in the mornings, usually before 8am, before the pavement heats up. But because I’ve seen some idiots walking their dogs in the afternoons lately — when it is HOT AS F*** HERE — I thought I’d collect a little guide of links to pet safety tips for hot weather. It’s not exhaustive, just some stuff from reputable national organizations about keeping your pets in air conditioning, first aid for pets with heat stroke, not walking your pet on hot pavement, and not leaving your pet in a car that will basically become an oven in five minutes.
The heat wave forecast for basically the entire country was a second inspiration for this post — so check on horses and people, too.
Eli quite obviously has my number. All he has to do is mildly object to something, and my brain goes into overdrive:
O MY GAH AM I HURTING MY HORSE IS HE COMFORTABLE DOES HE NEED SOMETHING I DON’T KNOW AHHHHH WHAT’S WRONG ELI HAVE A COOKIE
This is how he has like 4 fly masks, 4 bridles, I don’t know how many bits, many saddle pads and half pads and … um … not really sure how many girths I’ve tried on him. In the cooler months, I think the sheepskin or synthetic fleece girths are totally fine and he doesn’t mind them.
But oi. He does NOT like them in the heat. All of a sudden. He’ll he stop and bite the girth and pull at it (if I let him, which I did like twice to see, is this really a thing). So I guess the fleece is itchy? I also have a memory foam girth which was working well for a while, but now it’s a bit hairy from Eli’s shedding, and the hair will NOT wash out. At least, not with normal attempts to wash. I may really attack it in the wash rack with some Dawn or something to see if I can get the hair off of it. It does seem to be the girth Eli is most comfortable it for now, but unless the hair washes out, that one is itchy, too.
But I am looking for other options. No leather girth will be comfortable for Eli, and the neoprene ones kind of chafe him. Considering I have tried a variety of Professional’s Choice, Lettia, and other brands of synthetic girths, my options numbered. That number right now is looking like one.
This Equifit Essential girth has piqued my interest. However, the internets are a bit short on reviews (not that I looked very hard) … does anyone have experience with this girth? I really like Eli’s Equifit crown pad. I have a pair of Equifit hind boots, an older version and that material I am less excited about. A lot of vendors carry this girth, so I am not too worried about fit, as I can just shop with a tack shop that offers easy returns. But just jumping in without hearing about anyone’s personal experience? I am holding off for now unless anybody can tell me, yes, this girth is a good option. It seems like it would be! I like the wider belly contour — that’s something I haven’t tried with Eli and maybe that would be more comfortable for him, too?
If you live under a rock, you may not realize Amazon’s Prime Day is happening across two days and this is day one. I am not sure how many deals are going to appeal me, but I guess I’m going to find out while window shopping online. In the meantime, I have found a handful of things via Amazon that I didn’t realize I needed until I had them and now I’m like, whoa. Glad I bought that. Maybe some will be Prime Day deals?
Who needs easy-care, comfortable work pants? Since my breeches are not work pants (well, okay, maybe sometimes they are) I have been digging through the internet for affordable, work-appropriate pants with a tailored look and reasonable price tag. I searched “betabrand” on Amazon. Amazon showed me Rekucci instead. (I am not going to pay $80 for work pants that fit like yoga pants, betabrand.)
Rekucci offers a lot of styles of pants that are all pull-on type pants that sort of feel like yoga pants but look much, much more tailored. My favorites have been the boot cut pants. They work for work. Pay attention to the size chart, for sure! And the length. In the regular length pants, I have to wear heels or the pants drag on the ground. (I’m 5’6″.) The short ones are good for me for wearing flats or kitten heel shoes. And they actually look like work pants.
If you are super curvy, I am not sure how these would work — they are pull on and while they do have some stretch, they are not super stretchy in the waist. I can get them over my hips easily, but I am not sure how they would work on someone with wider hips and a trimmer waist. I also wash them inside out in cold water and hang to dry. Some reviewers have noticed fabric wear after only a few washes, but I have not run into that problem yet.
Since the Amazon oracle (or search bar, whatever) showed me reasonably-priced work pants, I wondered what it would show me for boot trees. That are not actually boot trees. And also not inflatable boot trees. Would such a thing even exist? I have mentioned them once before, and yes they do indeed exist: boot shapers.
They are basically flat plastic inserts that conform to your boots’ shape. I liked the first set I bought so much that I bought more for all my tall riding boots. I am kind of thinking I should get some for my wear-to-work boots, too.
If you have not figured out by now that I am susceptible to online advertising, you must be a new reader. Scrolling through Instagram can be dangerous when it’s not actually kind of boring. I see all kinds of ads, one of which was for amazing hair towels that speed drying and minimize frizz! How can this beeeee! Okay, well, let me just see what Amazon has … and yep, they have the advertised towels. You don’t have to get them via Amazon, but I have found the Amazon price to be slightly lower than other vendors. The product is Aquis towels, and they do indeed speed drying and minimize frizz. Do I end up with completely dry hair and zero frizz? No, don’t be daft. My hair is fried from years of dyeing it. But I am in the midst of a hair renaissance and have stopped dyeing it. The 4-5 inches of growth that has not been traditionally dyed is actually pretty healthy looking, thanks to Olaplex, oVertone, and these towels.
The dyed hair is a lost cause, but the Aquis towels do seem to keep my frizz from getting out of control. They have towels for fine hair, towels for curly hair, towels for long hair, turbans … They are also WAY easier on my neck than big heavy bath towels. 10/10 recommend. (Also got hooked by Sand & Sky from Instagram ads …)
Don’t think my animals don’t benefit from my window shopping. First, Conrad: he is REALLY sensitive to fat content. For a while there, he was doing okay with treats under 10% crude fat and I was giving him the single ingredient duck liver treats, which he loved. And they are like 9% fat. His digestive system eventually rebelled, so I sought out lower-fat options. I found single ingredient chicken breast treats from the same brand.
They are freeze-dried, made in the USA, and are 3% crude fat. And luckily, Conrad loves these, too. I am now sticking with treats for him that are under 5% crude fat. You know what other treat — that Conrad loves — has just 5% crude fat and is made in the USA? Milkbones. Classic! He gets one after each of his meals to chomp on.
So Eli is no stranger to me stuffing his face with all kinds of treats. But I needed something that wouldn’t crumble in my pocket or get all sticky or melty when it’s hot because it is really hot here right now. Like … so, so hot. I found these Ginger Ridge Meadow Mints, and the brand also offers a Vanilla Flax flavor if you are looking to add a little more flax to your horse’s diet.
These stay in tact in my breeches’ pocket, they aren’t gooey, and they aren’t in a plastic wrapper. Eli may not go nuts over them quite like he does for Stud Muffins or German Horse Muffins or Gala apples, but he likes these and these keep his mouth occupied while I am doing up his girth.
He also might get one to chomp on during a ride as a reward for not killing me. What? Our bar is low right now.
I discovered a few other interesting things offered via Amazon that deserve a mention. The first is a newer version of the Polaroid Cube. I have a Polaroid Cube+ and it has been a handy little camera for filming rides. I ran across a Polaroid Cube Act II for an interesting price — much less than what I paid for the Cube+. Does anyone have experience with this one? Do I need it?
I was surprised to find that you can get a 23andMe DNA test kit through Amazon, too. Honestly, I was looking for a doggy DNA test kit and saw that 23andMe could be purchased via Amazon. This is something I have experience with — and the genetic reports keep coming. When you test with 23andMe, you get initial results, but the company keeps your DNA and keeps studying it. On one hand … creepy. But on the other, it’s a wealth of health knowledge. No, you can’t be diagnosed with anything through your DNA, but the company notes what genetic predispositions you might have. That information you can use over a lifetime. If you don’t mind strangers mapping your DNA. If you can’t get past the potential privacy issues, this probably isn’t for you. Because 23andMe will know if you are more or less likely to have wet or dry ear wax. Nope, I am serious. The latest Trait report I got was about Ice Cream Flavor Preference …
Ultimately, I think the best deals are going to be on Amazon devices. I am not in the market for any today, but that Ring doorbell/home security stuff is super tempting!
I resumed walking Eli under saddle last night. He tried a little head toss play initially, but it’s so freaking hot out that merely a lap or two later around the larger of the two arenas, Eli adopted a tamer attitude.
Even at 7:30 in the evening, it’s still in the mid-90s here. The good thing about riding in the evenings, though, is that the humidity is lower. Eli still sweats a lot, and I still sweat a lot, but I don’t have much choice as to when I can ride during the work week. Waiting until 8:30 or 9pm? No. Mornings before work? No thanks. So we’re sticking with 7 or 7:30 on weekdays. I have slightly more flexibility on the weekends, and typically ride in the morning but not always.
I did let Eli out in the round pen for just a little bit after our walk, so that he could roll because he loves that. Then we had a nice long rinse before I stuck him in front of two fans while I cleaned tack. This is our routine now, and it’s not much different than what it would be if he were in full work. We just can’t can’t trot or canter, but all the grooming and cleaning up stays the same.
Honestly, I am glad it’s hot. If it were cold out, this would be a much more difficult recovery process because of how much the cold irritates Eli. I maybe don’t graze him for quite as long as he would like because I don’t want to be in the sun for too long. But he still gets his grass time daily, too. Eli’s next recheck is another 30 days from his last appointment — so that will be August. Where is this year going?
Conrad had a new groomer on Friday. He has mixed feelings about being groomed. He doesn’t like going out to the groom-mobile. But when he comes back in all clean and fresh and smelling a little like chai tea, he can’t stop wagging his tail at the groomer.
This groomer trimmed his nails nice and short! It’s really not too much for him to endure a little bath and nail trim every 6 weeks.
Eli had a vet visit yesterday. We do not get to trot yet, but we can keep walking under saddle and he can keep going out for turn out if he can stay relatively quiet (again, ha). While the injury area showed some inflammation, the tissue was not damaged beyond that. The vet recommended another shockwave treatment and a few days of just hand walking, and continue icing the RH daily.
Eli had also developed some swelling on his left hind, but I thought it was probably just one of his regular dings, and the vet did not seem concerned about it. I’ll probably just ice both of Eli’s hind legs daily until the end of time.
The vet also remarked that Eli seemed very chill. His appointment was in the middle of the day, which is Eli’s nap time after lunch, so I just offered that as explanation. He’s just a sleepy horse in the afternoon. I also think at this point, since Eli is seeing his vet pretty much two times a month, maybe he’s finally calling truce? Like hey maybe this vet guy isn’t so bad? Maybe we don’t have to pin ears and grind teeth so much? Détente, can we?
The turnout time, limited as it is, still makes a huge difference for Eli’s mental state.
While we can’t add any new work to our current routine, I am pleased that all the walking and turnout did not affect the injury too terribly. This feels like a delicate balance between healing and keep the pony sane. Hopefully the shockwave will help it along a bit more! I still have no long term timetable for when Eli can go back into full work, but the initial expectation was that Eli would be out for the summer at least. We still have a lot of summer left here, so I don’t think we’re too far off the recovery pace.
But dude. Walking for 30 minutes is boring. I break it up with some walking in the arena and some walking in the fields but we can’t really do much else beyond that. It’s a little more interesting when other people are riding, so Eli gets exposure to a little more activity and remembers he doesn’t care when a horse canters up from behind to pass him and things like that. The benefit of the heat is that Eli is MUCH more relaxed!
Speaking of heat, my summer riding wardrobe has expanded recently, since Botori came out with a few new colors. The Kate pants in pewter basically are the color of show tan breeches and I may or may not be tempted to show in them one day. They are also slightly less stretchy than the black Botoris, so no need to size down in these.
Happy Independence Day (in advance of tomorrow)! Keep your pets safe.
Luckily, Conrad does not care at all about fireworks.
He’ll just sleep through all of it. Fireworks are banned in my neighborhood, but that never stops anybody. I am hoping there aren’t too many fireworks near the barn, too. Some of the barn neighbors also have horses, so I am not worried about them. And I am sure the horses will all be in their stalls eating hay. It might not be feasible to close the stall windows if it’s hot.
The 4th of July is needlessly stressful for animals. I would prefer no fireworks at all!
Where I board Eli, there are 7 whiteboards that the trainers use to relay information to clients. The biggest big board has the boarder lessons and training rides schedule. A few of the other boards have scheduled vet appointments, a list for the farrier, notes about medications and treatments, and show and clinic sign up lists. There is a big board in the feed room, too, saying a little bit about who gets what as far as type of feed and supplements.
Okay, actually, wait. Every stall has a small whiteboard with the horse’s name and basic feeding instructions. So there are way more than 7 whiteboards …
But the board I want to talk about today is the “turnout board.” It lists every horse by name and has a column for every day of the week. X’s mean the horse needs to go out in the first turnout rotation. O’s mean the horse has been turned out. Other letters designate other things such as the horse has been ridden, or hand walked, or turned out under supervision in the round pen. And there is another wider column for turnout notes, like that the horse is on stall rest or needs bell boots during turnout.
Guess who had an O by his name on Monday evening?
I have spent the last few weeks reintroducing Eli to turnout, hoping that he would get a little energy out without re-injuring himself. And of course he LOVES to roll, like most horses, and that alone does him so much good. It’s how he releases tension in his back, for one thing.
So it’s another step forward — Eli getting back gradually to his regular daily turnout schedule, weather permitting. I’ve been thinking about this process mostly from week to week, and not thinking too far ahead. There is still no timetable for Eli’s return to full work. And I like it that way. Why create long term expectations with an injury like this? I am happy to hop along from one vet appointment to the next and evaluating him as he is on those days.
I know other people might want answers like he can go back into full work in “x” number of months; but if there is one thing I have learned about horses over the years, it’s that horses can and will injure themselves inexplicably. It’s pretty much a guarantee. Plan for the worst and hope for the best.
In other news, I have been struggling with the inflatable boots trees my DeNiro boots came with. As in they don’t stay inflated. But I didn’t want to shell out for proper boot trees. Even new inflatable boot trees seem to be unquestionably expensive for what they are. Plus I could go back to having the same problem. So I started looking for inexpensive solutions and found them on Amazon. I ordered one pair of the Fill Your Boots boot shapers to try. They worked so well, I ordered two more pairs. These are way better than inflatable boot trees because they can’t possibly deflate. You have to roll them up to get them into your boots at first, but then they sort of mold and hold their shape when not in use, so you only have to wrestle with then that first time getting them into your boots. I might need more for my not-riding boots.
And of course, what holiday week would be complete without a sale? Breeches.com has a ton of coupon codes right now for 25% off different brands that they carry, like Equine Couture, Baker, Henry de Rivel and more. Use INDEPENDENCE25 for your whole order!
Managing a horse like Eli on stall rest is challenging. Up until today, if I walked him under saddle, he got some ace (although usually less than the vet suggested because he can be a bit of a lightweight with ace). And after walking, I’d let him out for 20 minutes or so and he … mostly … stayed quiet … mostly.
But on Thursday I was trying to beat storms, so I skipped the ace and the walk and let him out. He didn’t do anything crazy!
And then today, I let him out in the round pen. He had a good roll, but yeah, he had a brief zoomies moment. I stuck him in front of a fan back in the barn and tacked him up. Decided not to give him any ace. And we walked for 20 whole minutes without any spooks or his leapy signature move. Yes, it was after lunch and hot, but this gives me hope that we can do a little bit more every day without sedation.
He does enjoy all the extra grazing! I knew adding walking under saddle would at least initially require mild sedation, but maybe we can do without now? Eh, probably depends on the circumstances. If lessons are going on, it might be more fair to everyone involved to rely on some sedation to keep him from reacting ridiculously to a trainer clucking at a student & lesson horse.
But I felt like today was a good milestone, a good start to going forward with more work and fewer drugs. I also discussed a turnout plan with my trainer, so Eli will get out a little bit more, too.