Last Tuesday, Jack had a chiro appointment that saw not nearly as much out as I expected, but a couple notable things needed adjusting on both sides of his neck. Then Friday we had our saddles fitted as planned, and big changes made to both my jump saddle (now sitting up much further off his withers) and my dressage saddle (which is less inclined to scooch left as much as it did, though still some).
Sunday we did our first proper conditioning set, which we did in the big ring at the trainer’s where there was plenty of space to work in, and where the footing was dependably good. This workout looked like:
- 7 min walk warmup
- 4 min trot, just working around edge of the arena
- 2 min walk break
- 4 min trot, incorporating some circles and working to get proper bend
- 2 min walk break
- 4 min trot, insisting on correct bend and staying straight through his body on long sides
- 2 min walk
- 5 min canter, mostly thinking about my position, last 2 minutes sending forward and back and trying to focus on just using my upper body to change speed/balance
- 2 min walk
- 5 min canter
At the end of this [37 min] work out Jack was heaving as expected. Granted, so was I! I very hurriedly took off his tack and got him under water as soon as possible, then in front of the fan (note to self: bring my own fan out next time so he can get both at same time). Without counting his breaths per minute, it appeared to take him 20 min to return back to completely normal breathing.
With the show this weekend there’s no point in doing conditioning, since we’re running XC and Jack will be getting a heck of a workout as is. So my plan will be to do another set like the above next Thursday, and Sunday get out to the XC field to do laps as part of our cardio routine.
I won’t lie, doing this kind of work in the heat sucks. I’m not great in heat, and my tomato face is famous and unfortunately long lasting. But no pain, no gain, and so we will forge on in the safest way possible so that Kentucky doesn’t kill us, if we get to go.
I fully expect to roast at the show this weekend, though Jack will try out a Flair nose strip to hopefully make breathing a little easier. Has anyone had experience with those before- did you find it helpful? Any tips for putting them on??
I’ve used Flair strips a lot. I groom for my trainer who uses them on his upper level horse and I actually used them on my guy even at BN as he roars and has a hard time in the heat. They definitely seem to make a difference. It could be coincidence but the first time I used one on Duke he practically ran off with me on XC 😅 For me, this is what I’ve found works best. Use a rag and a ipe the nose the wrong way with rubbing alcohol. (Both horses do not like this step and resulted in hilarious faces.) Rough the hair up. Use the positioning card that come with them. Stick a strip to the card and remove all the backing. Use the guide on the card and stick to the nose. Press across the entire strip focusing on the center over the nasal bone before removing the guide card, then gently press across the whole strip to make sure its adhered. There is a bit of a learning curve and you’ll probably have a few off center ones before it’s easy. I’m happy to help if you have any questions ☺️
Thanks a lot- it does sound like there’s a little bit of practice involved but hopefully I’ll get it right!
This heat right now is killer! Good for you to stick to the plan. I melt in the summer and end up waving the white flag a bit until cooler weather returns. By which I mean low 90s at this point.
It’s the humidity that truly kills us… I’d rather be hot than drowning and hot!
I’m not great in heat and humidity either, so I feel for you! I used FLAIR strips before and liked them. I always had someone put them on for me though, so I’m no help in that regard 🙂
Well, here’s hoping I don’t waste the one I’ve got!
I use the Flair strips on Henry if I have to run him in the heat. The instructions on the package are pretty good, just read them a few times and make sure you understand it before you try to put it on. It’s not many steps but they all kind of have to happen quickly.
OK got it- thank you for the advice!
So hikers have these cooling neck wraps, my mom had a ton of them because she loved hiking and I definitely stole one or two for myself for riding back when I lived in triple digit heat. They honestly really help: https://www.amazon.com/KOOLGATOR-Cooling-Neck-Wrap/dp/B073V59SY7
Ah- yes! That’s a great idea. I should invest in one!