Well folks, we have officially hit the triple digits in Arizona. We have been hovering around 110 degrees for the past several weeks and it’s a bit toasty outside! If you took a peek at our When is it Too Hot to Ride post, you know it is WAY too hot to horseback ride right now. We’ve got the ladies all set up in their stalls with fans, misters, and sunshades so they are quite comfortable. And, while we are pretty hot too, we still want to be in the barn!
So even though we can’t ride right now, there are lots of other fun things to do with your horse when it is this hot.
This could be as simple as exercises in the stall or in a covered arena. Work on backing up, yielding hindquarters and forequarters, and flexing. While you are working through these exercises, make sure to be aware of general ground manners and make appropriate corrections when needed.
Tying seems like such a simple thing to teach a horse, but I truly believe it takes time and patience. Pick various locations around the barn to practice tying. Gradually extend the amount of time your horse is tied to help build their patience.
Some horses love trick training. It engages their brain in a whole new way. There are tons of neat resources online for trick training – from picking up objects to smiling.
Give your horse a thorough grooming, wash manes and tails, and use a coat conditioner to keep their coats moisturized in the heat.
Friesians have amazing manes and tails and provide endless braiding possibilities! We’ve done running braids, day braids, double running braids (French and Dutch), and Spanish braids. It’s always fun to experiment. Try some new techniques or work on perfecting your running braids.
This is a wonderful thing to train your horse to do if you ride on a lot of trails. You’ll be surprised how often this comes in handy.
Teach your horse some ground stretches for their legs, back, and neck. This is a nice way to keep your horse mobile when they are stuck in the stall more than they are used to.
Your horse may already know how to do this, but it is a great low-energy item to work on in the heat. Start with a halter and apply downward pressure. Make sure to release the pressure as soon as your horse gives into it. This will encourage them to give into the pressure faster. Eventually, you can remove the halter and apply pressure to the pole with your hand.
Clicker training isn’t for everyone, and I will be the first to admit I haven’t had much success with it. However, I have several equestrian friends that love working with clickers. High temperatures are the perfect time to give it a try!
We do a lot of desensitizing work with our younger horses, but some older horses can benefit from this, too. Is your horse afraid of a specific object? Plastic bags, flags, balloons, strollers, and bikes are the top scary items we see. Take it slow when you introduce your horse to these items. Let them be curious and investigate each item (safely), without putting pressure on them. If you do this frequently, your horse will become more used to the object and it won’t be as scary.
Pretty sure this one speaks for itself – who doesn’t like a massage? Take your time and find all of their favorite spots.
Give your horse a nice cool bath. Make sure to remove excess water and keep them in the shade until they are dry. Believe it or not, excess water in the sun will actually heat your horse up rather than cool them off.
I know this doesn’t sound too fun, but a clean organized barn helps keep pests away. Sweep your aisleways, remove any feed that has fallen on the ground, and organize your horse supplies.
Give your brushes a good soak in some soapy water and scrub to remove the dirt build-up, then let them air dry in the sun. This doesn’t take too much time and feels so rewarding when you use the clean brush next!
If you have a young horse, take this time to practice routine items they will need to know. Try lightening the cue as your horse gets used to this. It is lovely to pick up hooves with just a tap on the leg!
I’ve been around horses my entire life, but my Friesian journey started just over 20 years ago. Our horses have always been a part of our family. They have traveled with us as we relocated from Vermont to New York to Iowa and finally, to Arizona. I can’t wait to share our story with you!
Jul 1, 2021
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