Horsey Therapist

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Heat motivates

Sounds weird, doesn't it? To say that heat motivates. Especially this time of year where the heat and humidity confirm the onset of summer in New England.

But in fact it does motivate me. To get organized and prioritize my day according to the temperature.

Cooler in the morning, so I will go do outside activities with the horses in the morning. Warmer/warmer/hotter during the midday into the afternoon, so I will stay inside and do paperwork, rest, put up the excess asparagus and rhubarb that waits my attention.

Nothing like having rhubarb in the freezer for a freshly baked rhubarb something come the chilly days of next winter!

Perhaps living in India for three years affected how I respond to hot and humid weather. There were seasons when nothing ever dried -- not the washed clothes, not the towels, not the hair. I had a choice, yes. I could have moved. But instead I acclimated (in the true sense of the word!), continued with the multiple-showers-per-day approach to having some sense of clean and fresh, and learned to sip hot tea on a hot day, move slowly, rest in the hottest parts of the day, and enjoy the cooler times regardless of what a clock-based schedule might steer a person to do.

More locally, I recall some years back having plans to attend clinics at Piper Ridge Farm in May, July, September, October. Each of those 3-5 day clinics coincided with 90+ degree weather that year. What did I learn? When I'm focussed on doing something I enjoy (all together now: HORSES!) I don't notice the temperature.

I must mention here my cooling tools!

For years I kept a wet cotton handkerchief tied around my neck. Evaporation cools.

Last year after watching a colleague sport and rave about her cooling vest, I purchased some cooling body wear from CoolMedics.com. I did not use kerchief or Cool Medics products when I lived in India. I did have the option of finding shade and resting during the day. Teaching now where currently we have no access to sheltered arena during these warmer months, cooling tools have been essential. Before I got the Cool Medics vest, I simply poured a liter of water over my head, shirt sleeves, and pants legs, about twice an hour. I may look weird, but comfort has always been my priority.

Encouraging motor skill activity in the young riders as they use water squirters helps in the lessons, too. Adds an aspect of fun for the riders -- how often do they find a target who begs to be squirted?

Full coverage of skin by clothing is important -- I learned that in India, too, along with the drinking warm in the hot season which apparently stimulates the body to cool itself. In any case, for sun protection and moisture conservation, I wear long sleeves all the time. Add the Cool Medics vest to the long sleeves, long pants appearance and imagine the strange looks I get!

Another remembrance from India -- their air cooling systems were open-weave coconut fiber pads that covered the windows and dampened. Again, the evaporation process created the cooler air. Now that's an energy saving approach -- very little heat generated in the process of cooling the environment!

(Check their website for products to cool the horses as well as humans.)

1 Comments:

At 09 June, 2008 06:06, Blogger Pam said...

Great tips, I'll have to get the girls some squirt guns to use when we ride, sure they'll love that idea!

 

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