Caught Harley and dressed him. Checked the weather one more time before walking to the arena. Heat Index was about 96F. UGH. But not as bad as it could've been. A decent breeze lingered over the property.
I didn't bother longing him. Screw it, I'm just riding. Make the most out of this awful weather rather than stand on a circle a while. I sent him straightaway at the walk and began bending in shapes, circles, figure8s, and some tight serpentines. He loosened up nicely. Off to trotting some figure8s and a few lines, and a little circles of canter.
Heading left canter, he tried to duck away. Was there a spook there? Heck no. Was there a good reason? Nah, just ignoring. He'd just tried to break gait, and I sent him on forward with a kick and a smooch. He definitely just didn't want to canter. He broke to trot as he went off sideways. I stuck it, and he paused, probably confused. I sent him right back at long trot, pushed hard, and quickly asked for that canter again. One heavy sigh, and he cantered off.
After the warmup, I shortened my reins, and asked for a big trot collected. WOW. Yeah, go supplement Go! Harley was moving, covering some ground. Lines, circles, all were pretty good. His shoulders weren't steerable to start, but he relaxed more as time went on. After a little collected canter on circles, and a walk break, I did some canter starting on a circle, then riding a longer line to another circle. Good results. Great in fact. He stayed in gait (though more energy required at left than right), and his transitions got better each time. In and out of big trot to a nice strided canter, and back to the nice trot. No muss no fuss. No head tossing, no fighting. He's picked up what he thinks is a way out of canter-left nicely - twisting his face away from the contact. He's been sticking his nose OUT at the canter-left some. He gave me a bit of this at trot left, so I made him ride an entire trot circle counter-flexed. OOOOH what a hissy fit. His tail let me know he was ticked. It even felt like he hopped up in front in protest. Once he got the counter bend, and was attentive, I asked him to bend inside the circle. Oh well, much better Harley, as he started a nice bend left on the circle. A big improvement.
Wednesday? It didn't cool to heat indeces under 100 until 745pm. Too close to sunset since I don't have lights. Tonight? Not much better. Different weather reports have a heat index lingering between 97 & 100. That's a little too close to my personal limit to ask the boys to work.
We are slowly approaching "too hot to ride after work" time of the year. This will slow my rides to maybe one work night walk, and the weekends (short or long) riding early in the am, then nothing but light work on week nights, if at all. What's your limit? When do you "call it"? I know some folks add temperature & humidity, and call that sum of 140 or 150 too much. Me? In the mornings, even if it is stuffy humid, I go by feel. Am I miserable? Is the sun baking us early? I try to get out just at daylight to dress the horse, then ride the harder ride first. Usually that means Harley goes first. Then Mo comes out, but he doesn't work as hard, or as long.
So share .. What's "too hot to ride" where you are? :)