Taking a lead from Bel Joeor, I am going to copy her "Ten Questions for May" post. I changed my blog URL recently to match the title change, so I have noticed my readership is low. That's ok, since I really do this more for my own record keeping than anything else. But because of that, I don't expect much of a true "blog hop". ;-)
1. What are your summer horse goals?
This summer, my plan is to enjoy a few horse trials with Snappy, do some lessons/clinics/XC schools, and hopefully compete in Area I Schooling Horse Trials Championships in August. Here is the current qualifying list, but they have not put in last fall's Hilltop scores or last week's Green Acres scores, so we are not yet on the list. I am pretty sure we are all qualified, but I want to see it in writing for sure. (Stay tuned for a show recap once I get pics to post!)
2. Do you have any tips or tricks for fly control?
I don't think any fly spray really works that great, but I generally use either Endure or UltraShield Green. I started using EquiSpot when Dreamy was diagnosed with Lyme years ago and I do think it helps. I also do the Spalding Lab fly predators around the farm. Last year was a BAD summer for flies and I was convinced I was wasting my money until my farrier remarked how few flies I had compared to other barns he visits. I was shocked because I thought we had it bad; turns out it would have probably been worse had I not done the predators. And my horses do wear Cashel fly masks, which seem to fit them the best, but they don't seem to tolerate fly sheets very well. When I ride, I use the little silly fly hats and like the ones from USG the best, generally just sticking with black (though I may or may not have just contacted If the Bonnet Fits to see about ordering a custom green one to match our XC colors...)
3. How often do you bathe your horse?
Snappy gets bathed before each show, so that is one to three times a month during show season. I hose her off after every ride. Dreamy, now retired, generally gets a bath a year in the spring and maybe one later in the summer especially if it has been super hot and yucky.
4. Do you have any upcoming travel plans? Equine or otherwise?
It is really hard to leave the farm overnight, so I don't have any overnight show plans right now. A friend of mine was asking about going to Acadia National Park with the horses, which I have done several times, so that may happen this year but definitely next. We may spend the night with the cattle for a pull that is about 3.5 hours north, but we'll see. My oldest son remarked that he has never stayed a night in a hotel before, so maybe we will do that at some point this summer (and hotels are always better than spending the night in the horse/cattle trailer!!)
5. What is your favorite way to beat the heat?
I love the heat, the hotter the better. But we do have air conditioners in the bedrooms because it is much easier to sleep in comfort. I love going swimming and spending time at the beach, so I hope to do that more with the kiddos this summer. On hot days, I generally wait to ride at night when the sun goes down and the worst of the heat has settled down.
6. Do you do anything to prevent your horse from sun-bleaching?
Nah. I did do the paprika based supplement Blackenall one summer with Dreamy, but I wasn't super impressed and it was also not USEF legal, so once I started showing rated, I stopped using it. She actually stays quite black in the summer and I noticed that she more easily fades from leftover sweat than from the sun, so I always hose well after rides and even at night turn-in if they have sweated standing still during the hottest summer days. Snappy just turns from a dark bay to a bright bay in the summer, so I am good with that LOL!
7. How hot is too hot for you to ride?
If the horses are sweating while standing still, I tend to either not ride or limit the ride to a light hack in the woods (where it is shadier). I also will often wait until after dinner and youngest son's bedtime of 7PM before I ride, so the sun is setting. My ring gets direct sun all day, so riding in the blazing sun is not fun for anyone!
8. How important is sun protection for you riding or just in general?
I wear a sunblock based moisturizer all summer and I am super vigilant about my kiddos wearing sunscreen. I admit, I am not always as careful about my own skin as I should be. I tend to put sunscreen on in the morning and never reapply on myself.
9. Have you ever gone swimming with your horse?
Yes! When I was a kid, we would swim the horses at a nearby lake all the time. I trailered out to a lake a few years ago to play with my old mare Reva and I have splashed/cantered through the beach surf with all my horses. There are not many safe places to really swim with horses, despite a large number of lakes around. Most are not set up for horses (or parking trailers!)
10. What’s on your summer wish list?
Not much in terms of shopping, as I already bought a bunch of fun swag with a little Christmas money I was gifted. I bought a new dressage coat, two new browbands, a BoT mesh sheet, and a new embroidered pad for XC. My wish list is really more about having a fun summer playing with horses and spending time with my children!