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What temp do you think it's too hot to compete?

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  • What temp do you think it's too hot to compete?

    Just wondering at what temperature you think it's too hot for your horse and yourself to compete at an event.

    Add hard ground to the equation too (since we have a lot of areas that have had high temps and no rain in ages).

    Obviously, a lot of variables involved in this decision like your tolerance for heat, fitness and age of your horse, footing, etc.

    And if you do compete in the heat--what kinds of things do you do to help your horse be more comfortable and recover better?

  • #2
    It is very much an event by event decision for me. Did I take my then 7 year old OTTB who had raced in Houston, TX to his very first event at Novice in 110 degree heat at the KHP - yes I did and he was fine (and so was I)

    Did I almost pass out at 88 degrees in the early spring in Florida after a preliminary run while cooling out my horse (well yes, but 32 oz of gatorade solved the problem and the horse was totally fine)

    Did I elect against entering my young, black 3/4 WB mare who had been bred and raised in Alberta, Canada in an event at novice where I was pretty sure it was going to be over 90 - yep again

    Do I more often than not since moving to area 2 decline to compete for a 4-6 week period in July and August - yes again, but not absolute

    I can't really come up with a temperature except that for me it is almost certainly higher than 90 for most cases
    OTTBs rule, but spots are good too!


    • #3
      I am very fit, and my horse is pretty fit (albeit middle-aged), and we are both acclimated--we did Training in the middle of the day yesterday and were fine, and it was in the mid/ high 80s. We have done events on days in the mid- 90s and been fine, too. The ground around here is pretty hard, but generally aerovated, and again, we're used to that, too. Amazing what having a wacky schedule and no ring can do for you.

      If it's 90+ I usually try to have a bag of ice to add to the wash water so that it's really cold. I give electrolytes all summer but up the dosage for a few days when I know we will be competing in the heat. I go back to my trailer as fast as possible and offer water, since that is when my horse is most likely to drink. Sometimes if the ground is really hard I will pack feet after jumping.

      But mostly I think the most important thing is fitness/ being accustomed to the heat. It would be great to only ride before 7 AM/ after 7 PM, but that doesn't help when you have to compete at 12 PM. And AC is great and I wish I had it--but as an athlete I am probably better off without it.


      • #4
        It really depends on circumstances leading up to the event.

        If it is 90+ and:

        1-we have been working regularly and have had good schoolings in the weather, then we go.

        2-we have not done much (as in I have been busy working and not able to ride 5+ days a week), we may skip it.

        3-whether or not we have been working, if the temperature is due to a sudden spike (earlier this spring it was COLD, as in 60's, then suddenly shot up to the low 90's in a few days), then I may skip it.

        I tend to be heat tolerant and my mare is usually fine, but she does not drink at shows (we only do one days), so I worry. Part of the equation is also what time we will show. If we are done by noon, then we are more likely to go.

        There are a ton of factors, but usually the largest is how much we are working leading up to the event.


        • #5
          I care a LOT more about footing than temperature for the most part. And normally avoid mid-summer events in places that traditionally have bad footing or don't aerovate for that reason. Maui Jim was always great about taking care of the footing, and that's pretty much the only late-July show I've been to in ages and ages. By early-mid August we can usually count on SOME rain, at least, if not too much!

          This spring (it wasn't even summer yet!) the temps were in the 90s for endurance day at the T3D/N3D we went to. I was not very happy to find that the Novice group was scheduled to begin R&T during the hottest part of the day. This was because they had a tough time finding volunteers who wanted to show up for a 7am start! Also it was tougher to schedule all the XC divisions around the relatively small 3-day groups. I get that, but I seriously considered scratching.

          Ultimately I decided to go phase by phase with a VERY low threshold to withdraw, and Bonnie surprised me by being very well adapted, in spite of her big body and lack of hot-weather mileage. We both actually did fine, but I handle heat pretty well. The fact that the footing was not too hard made the decision easier.

          Anyhow, I don't know that I would "sweat" the temperature too much unless I was going Prelim or a very fast Training, or if my horse was not pretty fit. For cool-down I'm in favor of just the old-fashioned hose-and-scrape, with water that's quite cold, and getting them out of the sun in a place with a breeze or a fan.

          I do ice ankles/legs and pack feet if the ground has been hard.
          Click here before you buy.


          • #6
            I'm waaaaay more likely to wilt than my damn TB. He was barely breathing hard after our last XC at almost 90 degrees. *mutters*

            We are expecting record temps in the next couple of weeks which will coincide with the local 4H fair; one of the leaders just sent a memo around about reconsidering the safety of competing when the temperature plus percent humidity are greater than 150 (presumably above a certain temperature, like 80?). Seems like a good start to a guideline, anyway.


            • #7
              I avoid competing this time of year, but more beause of hard ground than temps. BUT I would not hesitate to scratch if it was going to be disgusting and unhealthy...usually above 90 with high humidity. It is a bit of a case by case for me, though.

              Eventing is supposed to be fun, and while I love summer, I don't find galloping xc with vest(s) on in brutal temps and humidity very fun, and I don't think it is a lot of fun for the horse, either.


              • #8
                Originally posted by yellowbritches View Post
                I avoid competing this time of year, but more beause of hard ground than temps. BUT I would not hesitate to scratch if it was going to be disgusting and unhealthy...usually above 90 with high humidity. It is a bit of a case by case for me, though.

                Eventing is supposed to be fun, and while I love summer, I don't find galloping xc with vest(s) on in brutal temps and humidity very fun, and I don't think it is a lot of fun for the horse, either.
                Agreed on all counts. For me when it's hot, it's the prep work and cool downs that get me. The one day schedules are great, but usually I have to ride dressage (with a 40 min. warmup), jump off, go immediately to walk cross-country while someone cools down my horse, then come back and immediately start putting studs in/tacking up. The fact that there's no time to just sit in the car in the AC for a few minutes can exhaust/overheat me.

                If I lived nearer to the event, I would walk the XC the day before. I think that takes the most out of me.

                I've been lucky this year to have pretty early times, and the only time I felt weak in the knees was at Rubicon. It was overcast and humid. Historically, those are the days when I can get heat exhaustion. I usually get it once or twice a summer where I feel dizzy/faint and/or throw up.

                Check out my blog at http://lindsayberreth.com


                • #9
                  what do you thinK?

                  its supposed to be 90 this sunday with humidity of 67% per weather channel. i am going beginner novice...it's olney ht what do you think? do it or not? horse is relatively fit....


                  • #10
                    wookie - I'd do it. If horse is pretty fit, 90 with high humidity isn't so bad.

                    Here in NC we're looking at 100 degrees this sunday - don't know the humidity yet, but I'm sure it isn't going to be comfy. I'm trying to decide whether or not to scratch - might have to do it phase by phase, since the money's already gone, anyway.
                    "Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work." - Thomas Edison

                    So, the Zen Buddhist says to the hotdog vendor, "Make me one with everything."


                    • #11
                      It's been pretty hot & humid in New England -- went schooling XC last week & after 30min I was 'done.' Horse was sweaty, but otherwise just fine - no real recovery needed, even after the brisk canter we went on to get the sillies out. Had the best quality canter - heavenly - out in the field that day. On the plus side, I think I lost 10lbs in that vest. The horses have been dealing with this weather for a while now, if it was a random heat-wave I'd approach it completely different.

                      I tend to worry about trailering more than riding in this weather. If you are a good horseman, you can tell when your horse isn't game & adjust as needed (this also applies to footing). There isn't much you can do to make the trailer ride comfortable, and summer traffic in New England is absurd.

                      Running upper-levels would be a whole other ball of wax, I suppose.


                      • #12
                        piaffe princess

                        i did rubicon and almost threw up in sj. stopped sweating in warm up and had no one there with me. went to xc and they really should have water in warm up for competitors but had sippy cups at the start box. where you don't have a lot of time to drink for the horse is getting jazzed about going. as a result i had no energy/felt dizzy....didnt kick to fences. he is green and needed me to encourage and had stops which were unusual.

                        i definately recommend water for competitors on hot days. not all of us come with a cheering section who carry water bottles or grooms.


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by wookie View Post
                          i did rubicon and almost threw up in sj. stopped sweating in warm up and had no one there with me. went to xc and they really should have water in warm up for competitors but had sippy cups at the start box. where you don't have a lot of time to drink for the horse is getting jazzed about going. as a result i had no energy/felt dizzy....didnt kick to fences. he is green and needed me to encourage and had stops which were unusual.

                          i definately recommend water for competitors on hot days. not all of us come with a cheering section who carry water bottles or grooms.
                          That's why I'm hesitant to go xc schooling on my own when it's hot. I threw up and got dizzy at a loch moy xc schooling last summer and then had to make the two hour drive home in my own. When I compete, I always have someone with me.

                          Check out my blog at http://lindsayberreth.com


                          • #14
                            Having someone around to hand me water at key points is reason #1 why I will not ever try to do an HT by myself. I can do ok in moderately high temps, but only if I am very careful about being hydrated, which is hard to do without a spare pair of hands, sometimes.
                            I tolerate all kinds of animal idiosyncrasies.
                            I've found that I don't tolerate people idiosyncrasies as well. - Casey09


                            • #15
                              Today in Chicago! Too damn hot ........


                              • #16
                                I have to agree with the case by case stance for heat -- having someone to help take care of your needs is just as important as your horse so if you go it alone just be sure you're prepared to manage yourself. I did surefire preliminary level alone last summer and it was about 104 that day. For the dressage and stadium I toted along a bag of cold or frozen water and gatorade and hung it on a fence postin warm up which worked wonderfully. For cross country, I carried while mounted one of those lunchbox type coolers with drinks so they were extra cold and also my small size wash bucket with sponge and scraper. Dropped everything at the cooling area before going to warm up, everyone there got a kick out of my pack horse look. When we arrived there after our ride, another young rider with a team of like 8 was sitting down while they worked on her horse as I single-handedly untacked, cooled Zoom and carried all of my stuff back. I felt quite proud!

                                To return to the question, it's more about footing for me. If my horse and I are properly fit and used to the raging Maryland heat and humidity, temperature wouldn't necessarily make me scratch. Very hard ground on xc, however, I'm out.

                                "A canter is a cure for every evil." - Benjamin Disraeli


                                • #17
                                  How about a "cool off on hot days" hints thread?
                                  Freeze a couple bottles of water to take with you...stay cold while thawing....
                                  Proud & Permanent Student Of The Long Road
                                  Read me: EN (http://eventingnation.com/author/annemarch/) and HJU (http://horsejunkiesunited.com/author/holly-covey/)


                                  • #18
                                    Look at horse while sitting in airconditioned car, be thankful you don't have a show or clinic soon, drive home and change into bikini then float in pool until dark.

                                    Mid and upper 90s here all week with heat indexes into the 110 and 115 range. No thank you


                                    • #19
                                      well now

                                      i think considering today the heat index is 110 and tomorrow is 115 i may just call this weekend a scratch. i rode today for 20 minutes max and felt lightheaded and headache. i was drinking gatorade also but i wasn't just riding. i got to the barn and started to clean my three horses stalls, i groomed the one and tacked him up and rode. i then came in and cooled him off and stood in the sun...there was a breeze so he could eat the one little patch of grass with clovers that has not died. i went home and showered and slept for 5 hrs. what the he***? i don't nap. and honestly i am not putting him in the tin can to hall on hot paved roads so i can slowly cook him on sunday. so there. call me wimpy...lol

                                      i raise the white flag.


                                      • #20
                                        I am not sure how the Pony Club kids are doing it this week, it's just insane.
                                        We're spending our money on horses and bourbon. The rest we're just wasting.