Swimming Through Summer Heat

Showing when the temps go past 90 requires fitness.
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Showing when the temps go past 90 requires fitness.

Last weekend I rode in my first show in a year, plus it was my first show in four years where the temps clawed their way into the 90-degree range, not to mention the humidity that goes with it. When I’m loading up for a show, there’s always a point where I declare loudly to anyone within range that I’m going to take up competitive swimming. Only problem there is that I hate to swim. But, the only gear you need is a swim suit and maybe a towel.

It's a lot more comfortable to show without a jacket when temps are high.

It's a lot more comfortable to show without a jacket when temps are high.

It’s a good thing I’m a compulsive list maker, sometimes making lists of lists, because there is always something at the last minute I can’t find. I almost prefer to take a follow car for the truck because then we don’t have to pack so carefully – but if I was driving by myself I’d miss that great opportunity to catch up on gossip.

Anyway, departure day was agony, too little sleep, too much heat and too much to carry. I put my new expanding cart from Costco to good use and earned definite cart envy from others at the show. Bed was midnight and reveille at 5 a.m., and I had leg cramps all night. I rode my FEI Intermediare I test at 9:45 in relative cool (lower 80s). With all of us done by early afternoon, dinner was early and I was asleep by 9 p.m.

Just before bed, I realized I was so hot that day that – despite always having water or Gatorade in my hand -- I’d never visited the PortaJohn, a side benefit to heat and humidity but not exactly a healthy life style. Even my fit mare was huffing a bit but made a faster recovery than I did.

So lessons learned this weekend: Either show just in the spring and fall or get fitter!!! Especially since I won’t be getting any younger. I’m looking forward to maybe showing Grand Prix next year – passage is a lot easier to sit than collected trot. Darn it, but I can’t get away with posting in FEI-level tests.

Margaret Freeman, Associate Editor