It’s unusually hot for the first day of spring in southern Ontario. In fact, with all the blue sky and sunshine and temps in the mid 20s it feels more like the end of June. It’s lovely, of course, if not a little unnerving. It’s not the regular order of things to go from zero to 22C in a week. And I do like order.
People are out and about in their summer togs, sitting on patios having a drink, on motorcycles, riding bicycles … have the air conditioning on! (Boy, we’ve become soft.) And while all of this is very nice it’s not normal and my thoughts are with my horse who must suffer this meteorological anomaly while still sporting the better part of his winter coat.
For, notwithstanding the sudden rise in temperatures, Bear’s biological clock continues to keep its regular time. In fact, he’s at least six weeks away from being completely free of winter’s furry finery, so in these unseasonably warm conditions he can become uncomfortable, especially when we’re training.
Today we worked for about 45 minutes, and that was almost too long. The outdoor sand ring is not yet ready for use so under clear skies and sunshine we were forced to use the indoor arena. The three large sliding doors, one on each of three walls (the fourth not having such a door), were all wide open to promote air circulation, but there was little, if any, breeze, so we both just got hotter as we worked.
For Bear this means foamy sweat build up around the girth area and between his hind legs, while the thick hair still layered on his shoulders, neck and tummy becomes matted with moisture.
And because he’s creating so much heat as he moves his breathing becomes more laboured and he tires more easily. This I need to monitor as I don’t want him to become too stressed. A stressed horse is not a happy horse and can result in more serious physical conditions such as colic, which can be fatal to a horse. So, today we worked briefly on a few recent training issues and then I removed his tack and took him for a nice long walk down the driveway to cool out.
I think he likes these walks. We stop occasionally so he can pick at the new shoots of grass that are starting to show forth, or so he can eye something that’s caught his attention on the golf course across the road. He is a curious boy.
Then we walk back to the barn and I brush him vigorously to release more of his winter coat. Bear likes this, especially when it’s accompanied by the occasional carrot treat. He’s not spoilt at all. 😉 )
But getting back to the order of things …
It was just a week ago that Bear was out in a mucky paddock sporting his green winter jacket which, at this time of year, he wears more to keep him mud-free than for warmth. With the frost coming out of the ground and the snow melting, the paddocks are generally a mess. But this doesn’t stop him from dropping to the ground and having a good roll. As you can see his blanket has seen cleaner days.
That ought to be the order of things this week too, but Mother Nature seems to have other ideas. And while this taste of summer is all very nice it just doesn’t feel right in March.
Happy first day of spring!
Nurture what you love …