Y’all, it’s getting hot in Central Texas.
My son wasn’t feeling well this weekend, so he stayed home from school today. I had every intention of heading out to the barn earlier today to sneak in my ride while it was still a little cooler.
I did not do that.
I was feeling a little low energy today, so I opted for an Equicore ride today. Typically, our rides with Equiband system are shorter – 30 minutes or less – and are essentially an extended warm up. I think of these like yoga classes for Elf and try to focus on how his body feels through very familiar movements, looking for him to feel forward, lifted through the shoulder and back, and reaching for connection.
Positives today: He walked to the arena like a champ (which hasn’t been a guarantee lately, there has been some spooking). I felt more balanced today. Elf was much softer on the left rein than he was last week, although I’m still making that dental float a priority. I was pretty easily able to move his shoulders around on a 20m circle. He felt like he was working better and better as we went and we finished with some very decent transitions.
Things to work on: His energy felt low today. I’m not sure if it’s heat related, hydration or a reflection of my energy level but it’s something I need to keep an eye. When I have his teeth floated, I’m also going to ask for a blood draw just to check on everything and some additional joint support.
Planning for summer always includes a little extra management for Elf. He sweats alot, tends to be lower energy when it’s hot and is very bothered by flies and other biting insects. I think it’s time to look at additional ways to support him this summer – maybe electrolytes, a new flysheet, riding earlier in the morning?
Time to do some research.
There are some days that are not meant for hard work. Even on the walk to arena, Elf just did not feel like he was into it. As I walked over, my trainer was walking out on one of her horses with the same sentiment. So, it felt like the perfect time for a hack around the farm.
It’s ok to take a break. Whether that break means not going to the barn for a bit, just grooming and hand grazing, or taking a day off from the work plans.
Horses are individuals, too – with their own feelings, ups and downs, energy levels and bodies that sometimes feel creaky. With Elf being older, I have to be always listening, always paying attention to what he is communicating about how he feels physically.
He felt so good after our hack, that we did just a little stretchy walk, trot and canter in the arena – which felt lovely and forward and willing. So, I called it a day
Elf continued to feel low energy today. This time, I opted to take advantage of the full “loop” of trail that my barn offers – along the creek, over the bridge, around and through the pecan grove.
While Elf remained quieter than normal, he definitely perked up once we were out of the trail. I’m suspected that after I get his teeth and a general check up done, we might need to consider his feet. Our arena has been dry and hard. Elf has been known to have thinner than average sole depth, although his feet are generally good.
Whether it’s physical or a bit of arena burnout, it feels like trails are in our near future. I typically lighten Elf’s load in July/August (I’m serious about him not liking the heat), so we’ll just start a little earlier this year.