It has been way too hot to ride. In fact, even the RCMP won't ride in temperatures like we have been experiencing. We have been hovering around the 33-35 degrees Celsius (92-95 F) mark for the past week. The humidity is also very high, making it feel hotter and making it difficult to breath. Humidity and I are not friends. I dislike the way it tires me. I also dislike how it makes my hair get bigger, and BIGGER. So while some people here manage to survive with just a glow on when we go through these heat waves, I tend to look like a damp Brillo pad. I am hot, but not in a good way!
Jean and I had arranged to meet out at the stables last Sunday afternoon. When I arrived, she was sitting just outside the barn under the trees with RB, catching the breeze off the side pasture. She informed me that there was no way she was riding in the heat. Jean is 20 years younger than me, and I took pleasure in telling her she was a big baby and I was riding. I pushed my fuzzy mop away from my face, and off I walked to get my boy.
He was standing under the trees on the far side of his small pasture. The last 3 times I have been at the stables, I have stood at the gate with a little treat and called him. Surprisingly, he would walk over to me when called!!! I thought it was a fluke each time. I couldn't believe that he may now really recognize me and would come to be with me willingly. So, Sunday I stood at the gate and called his name and whistled. He turned and looked at me. I called and whistled again. He TROTTED over to me at the gate! He looked magnificent....mane flowing, tail up. It took my breath away. It's not a fluke! He knows me! OK, it was probably the treat he was after, but could this mean that I will no longer have to walk through the seasonal obstacle course of flies or ice or muck to get him? Yeah, baby! I gave him his little treat and haltered him. As I haltered him, a trickle of sweat ran down the side of my face. Yep, it is warm out here. I brought him into the cool barn.
Once I had him in the cross-ties, he started to doze off. I think getting into the coolness was a relief to him. Realistically, it's probably only about 4 or 5 degrees cooler in the barn - the loft full of hay provides insulation against the sun and the floor and 1/2 walls are cool cement - but that is a big difference when you have been outside for a period of time. I started my grooming routine.
About 5 minutes into my routine, I had sweat pouring off my body. The sweat was running down the back of my neck to the waistband of my jeans. My underclothes became damp and uncomfortable. Every time I bent over, sweat would drip off the end of my nose. My feet were actually sweating and starting to slide around in my shoes. My eyeliner was suffering, but thank goodness for waterproof mascara! My damp T-shirt showed me that the spare tire from my car had somehow managed to make it's way over to me and attach itself to my midriff. And my hair continued to get bigger and bigger, in spite of being tied back.....
Gem did not seem to be suffering the same way I was. I know I could have ridden Gem without issue or complaint from him....his breed is known for their willingness and toughness and is aptly nicknamed Little Iron Horse. Oh, sure. He might give me a bit of attitude when he believed the session should be finished. My point is that I know he would not refuse me and would go willingly out into the heat with me on his back. There was a split second when I actually considered it.....but then sanity came back to me. I realized that I may be taking advantage of Gem. Why would I ask him to do something uncomfortable that, if the roles were reversed, I wouldn't want done to me? I left Gem dozing in the cross-ties and went to inform Jean that I was not riding.
Instead, we took my beautiful boy outside and gave him a nice cool bath. If he were a cat, he would have been purring up a storm. After toweling him off, I hand walked him. I was reminded, as we were slowly walking up and down the lane, that I didn't have to ride him to feel a connection with him. In fact, as we age or if circumstances changed for either of us and riding was no longer an option, I would be quite content walking or lunging Gem forever. I am excited to think that we are starting to have "that" connection that all my other riding and blogging friends talk about. Sweat continued to run down my face and neck. We stopped and I rubbed his face and looked into his big brown eyes. ....how could I have entertained the idea of riding him in this heat...I mean, really?.....
What was I thinking....?