Ok, here's the deal. We live in northwestern WI, so we don't get a lot of extreme heat. Yes, we have days in 90's and lots of humidity, but few enough that we can generally just avoid riding then. I have certainly done 50 mile rides in the upper 80s, with 80 percent humidity, but I don't think I've ever done a 50 with it over 90. Maybe just lucky. However, next weekend is one of our favorite rides, and the toughest in the region -- massive hills the whole way. And it's supposed to be 95. I might not be so concerned, except that our endurance horses were halter horses in previous incarnations, so they are not your typical stringy radiator Arabs. My mare is SE Arab, but I call her my little tank, very solid and muscly. Including a few pics that probably don't quite show just how stocky she is -- she has almost QH worthy shoulders and hindquarters.
She does well on the rides, pulses down fast, but obviously holds a good deal of heat as well. Now a couple of weekends ago, we did one of the aforementioned upper 80 degree, 80 percent humidity rides, and I was honestly surprised we finished. They did all right -- pretty slow, 8 hours, and were understandably draggy most of the ride, and that was even with lots of cold river crossings to sponge off in. But I honestly can't imagine doing a ride much hotter than that on these two, esp. if it was at all humid. 95 sounds terrifying. I really want to do this ride, but I don't want to hurt this horse, because she's a really gutsy little animal, and I just don't know if I can ask her go 50 extremely tough miles in brutal weather. Am I overreacting? I know horses south of us probably do rides in heat like that all the time and do just fine....
I think the humidity would be the deal-breaker. I often ride in 95, and would do an endurance ride in that weather too, BUT we have almost no humidity here in northern California. What does the heat-index say? Maybe if the ride had lots of cooling water stops, like creeks, where you can really cool them (more than sponging). If your gut says "Don't", than don't. There are other rides on other days.
p.s. Such a pretty mare! I can't tell if the tack is pink or orange, but it looks stunning on her. She certainly is stocky, my guy is tall but tiny.
"Do your best, and leave the rest, twill all come right, some day or night" -Black Beauty
This weekend I did a short ride (about 6-7 miles) in 95 degree heat with humidity in the upper 80's. It was brutal for me but both of my Morgans were clocking along like usual. In general I tend to err on the side of caution with heat and if your gut is saying it might be an issue, I would probably hold off. I actually just scratched from a 2 day 50 CTR I was supposed to do at the end of July because we've had so much insanely hot weather I am loosing way too much training time.
“While the rest of the species is descended from apes, redheads are descended from cats.” Mark Twain
if the horse (and rider) are not used to that kind of weather, you might want to skip it. Or go, with some thoughts on pulling out if you start to have doubts mid-ride.
My arab used to get invigorated at hot temps- I remember one 4th of july we went on a planned trail ride with friends despite the forecast of "horribly hot and humid" like riding in an huge outdoor sauna, and everyone else was wilting and lethargic, and he was skipping and dancing about, enjoying himself tremendously, which irritated ME tremendously because I was in the "wilted and lethargic" group.
I assume you know how to take P&Rs and watch hydration and gut sounds. If you start to see your horse get stressed, Just pull from the ride.
I'm sure the vet will set the P&R values to reflect the heat . But you don't have to ride 25 miles or how ever far the first P&R is to see if your horse is stressed, You can stop on your own every 5 or 10 miles and do your own P&R.
Where a normal ride my be 5 or 6 hours at a trot, A hot ride may be 9 hours at a walk.
Wish it was that easy, but if I never did a ride when I was miserable I wouldn't have finished many rides. I'm afraid I am one of those demented endurance riders that finds some perverse pleasure in being miserable and surviving to talk about it afterwards, just like I like to see how many outfits I can soak through working outside on these kinds of days. Anyways, looks like my problem might be solved because she seems to have just come up with an abscess. Maybe she knew it was going to be too hot this weekend. Thanks for your advice everyone, with the way the temps are looking this summer I might just have to start riding in this 90+ weather so we can be ready for it.
Thanks for the compliment, irish_horse, I think she's lovely myself, and the tack is pink with attitude and suits her personality exactly
Wish it was that easy, but if I never did a ride when I was miserable I wouldn't have finished many rides. I'm afraid I am one of those demented endurance riders that finds some perverse pleasure in being miserable and surviving to talk about it afterwards, just like I like to see how many outfits I can soak through working outside on these kinds of :
Ha ha, I can totally relate!
I would probably do the ride if I had been planning on it. I've ridden in some hot ones but never anything that bad though. I did start Tevis though- we were pulled before the heat of the day really started, but I was ready for some torture!
I am in wi too and I couldn't imagine doing a 50 in this gross humidity. I have lived in California and done trail trials in 90 degree temps but this sucking heat index is making myself and my horses quite unhappy.
If you really want to do it and think your horses have a chance of making it, go for it. HOWEVER, if they reach a point where they're showing signs it's getting to them, pull.
I pulled midway through my first ever 30 mile LD ride because it had been an unusually cool summer, UNTIL that weekend. Bonita chugged along to the mid-ride check and the vet would have let her go, but I decided we just weren't having enough fun to make the rest of it worthwhile. I heard later that almost half of the other riders pulled, too, so I felt doubly sure I did the right thing.
If they live outside in the heat and are used to it, give it a shot. I trained for a Triathlon and did a lot of biking and running in 90+ degree heat with crazy Minnesota humidity. If they feel off, pull from the ride. But give them a chance to show you what they've got. They're Arabs, after all.
My Arab doesn't seem to feel the heat until its 95F+ and humid. He'd be perfectly happy to chug down the trail in pretty much any weather. I, however, am not getting on his back in that weather so I usually bow out at 90 if the humidity is high. I just don't care that much. There's always another ride. Now, maybe when we get a little more serious about it, I'll push through the heat a little more, but until then, pass.
Well I did not end up going because my horse was still getting over her abscess. Otherwise I probably would have at least tried it. But Friday when we would have been hauling it was 105 at the ride site, with a heat index of 115. REALLY glad I wasn't hauling horses in that -- that would have scared me. Heat index of 99 Sat. Oh well. At least I had another reason for skipping out. Only supposed to be 90 at the ride this coming Saturday.
It was 102° yesterday and I went and got a load of 120 bales of hay for my horses. I loaded them on my trailer 4 layers high and when I got home and put them in the barn ( around noon) I stacked them 6 layers high. I'm not too smart since I stacked them higher than my head when I was soaked with sweat. I got really coated in hay dust that stuck to my sweat.
But if I can haul hay for them to eat at 102° They can haul my butt across the mountain in the shade of the pine trees