Wednesday, June 24, 2015

record-breaking continuous heat (and how we're coping)

According to our local weather channel we have now broken the record for the most continuous days with heat over 95 degrees. It's interesting that the first thing I thought of when I read that was the winter we came close to breaking the record for the most nights in a row below freezing. Clearly the message is this: it's hard to have extreme weather in either direction that seems to go on and on and on. The cumulative effects are the hard part.

Thankfully most of these very hot days on November Hill have been accompanied by a breeze. Some days the breeze is cool, others it is simply warm air blowing, but it does help, and if I wet the horses down, scrape them off, and let them stand in the breeze they seem to feel so much better. The same holds true for humans. Even Rafer Johnson has stepped into the spray a few times at this point, and we all know donkeys don't generally like baths!

I've been making sure the water in their troughs and buckets is clean and fresh, I offer hosings at least once a day but sometimes twice, and I've been feeding wet hay to get more moisture into them. Late afternoon a favorite thing is to serve their daily ration of Chaffehay sopping wet. They love that and it's so easy to do.

If any of the horses seem really hot I hose down their fly masks with cold well water, squeeze out the excess, and put the fly masks on them. The fans in the barn and/or the breeze on the hill helps to cool them down. I got this idea years ago when I discovered that a cold wet cloth on my head and under my hat in the summer makes a huge difference in my own comfort level in high heat. I don't do it every day but save it for extreme days when I know I have to be out longer than is comfortable for me. They seem to like it too.

Anotther issue we've had this summer is Cody's sheath swelling. Keil Bay had this a couple of years ago and I determined the swelling came initially from a tick bite and then "dropped" to the lowest point, which was the sheath. Add in hot weather, less movement, and it can get worse. 

I developed a protocol for Cody which has worked really well. We instituted cold hosing and 5 minutes of easy walking in the shade 3x/day. I also alternated the homeopathic remedies Rhus Tox and Silicea, at first one in the AM and the other in the PM for 5 days, then notched back to alternating them in the mornings for another 3 days. The swelling became much better after I started the remedies and he's a lot more comfortable. 

When I choose homeopathic remedies for horses I use my Miranda Castro homeopathy book as well as George MacLeod's book The Treatment of Horses By Homeopathy. It's a terrific resource and makes it easy to narrow down the remedies that might be useful. In classical homeopathy it's very important to choose the right remedy for the individual person or animal. Sometimes if I narrow down to a couple of remedies I'll alternate both to get a quick response. In this case I think the two worked well but it's generally best to get the one best remedy to get the very best results.

It looks like we'll get a break in this high heat on the weekend. One day's high is predicted to be 79-80 degrees and I feel like that's going to feel like heaven after these very hot, stifling days! Last night on the weather radar something went wrong and it said the low was going to be 32 degrees. I have never wished for freezing temps more! That would have been like nature turning on the AC for all of us. 

I hope everyone is weathering your own versions of summertime blues! 


Grey Horse Matters said...

Weather that hot for that long is just wrong. I hope you cool down soon. In the meantime I'm sure the gang really appreciates all your doing to help keep them cool. Poor Cody, that must be uncomfortable.

I'll have to check out those books you use for homeopathic remedies and pass it on to J. She's basically the one around here who okays medications, shampoos, fly sprays etc. Right now we're not using fly spray anymore but have been trying out garlic in their feed for the fly problem. I'll let you know if it works.

Stay as cool as you can.

Calm, Forward, Straight said...

Glad you and the boys are staying as cool as possible. :D I also soak the fly mask for Val, and have a wet kerchief for myself while working.

Val and I have indulged in midday well water showers with a watermelon chaser since the heat wave started. No one can remember it ever being so hot, so early. Heat indices of 100 - 108 for a couple of weeks. And until this afternoon, we've had a scant 1/4 inch of rain since the end of April, which qualifies as drought-ish in my book.

The bright side is when we get back to seasonal conditions it will feel delightful in comparison, so - there's that. :D

billie said...

C, we woke up in the wee hours to a rocking thunderstorm and got about an inch of rain. It's still overcast out so thankfully this has at least broken the streak temporarily.

On another note, I dreamed last night that I visited you and you had a new bay mare - you were riding her and kindly allowed me to ride Val. In your very fancy arena. :) Conveniently the dream skipped the mounting part since I am guessing you don't have your mounting block raised up high the way I do! I love how dreams can just glide ride over things like that.

Stay cool and hopefully this weather pattern shifts for all of us.

billie said...

A, say hi to J for me. And definitely let me know how the garlic works. Fly-wise, we're still using the predators and a few sticky traps in the barn. With the exception of the greenheads, which are awful this year, that and a non-chemical fly spray work well for us. I am back to considering the Horse Pal big fly trap for the farm.

Calm, Forward, Straight said...

Oh billie - I like the sound of your dream! :D

billie said...

It was cool! :)