Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Hot Pie

Hot, hot, hot, hotter, hotter, hottest.  Today didn't seem so bad - the temperatures were up in the high 80s by the time I went to the barn to check on my horses at around 10 a.m.  But the humidity was horrible (relative humidity of 74%), and there was little wind and the sun was beating down - our barn has no shelter or shade in the pastures. Dawn and Drift were somewhat sweaty, but poor Pie was absolutely dripping with sweat, panting and close to being seriously overheated.  I brought them in and cold hosed them and then scraped them off so the remaining water would be a thin layer that could evaporate from their skin and cool them further, and then put them in their stalls under their fans.  I gave everyone a scoop of electrolytes in their feed pans - Pie ate some out of my hand.  It took a lot of hosing to get Pie cool enough that the water didn't immediately heat right up again on his skin.  After I put him in his stall, I got some ice packs out of the freezer and held them on both sides of his neck on his jugular veins, and also rubbed him all over his neck and body with the ice packs - he let me do this despite the crinkling plastic of the ice pack containers (which he was initially worried about) so it must have felt good.

After I did the ice treatment, he felt good enough to start nibbling some hay, which was a good sign.  After I was done hosing Dawn and Drift, I took Pie out and hosed him some more as he was still a bit too warm.  Getting him cool enough that the water on his skin stayed cold didn't take as long that time.  After I scraped him off and put him back in his stall, I took his temperature and it was about 101F, which was fine considering how hot he'd been - he was much more comfortable at that point.  It's clear that Pie's just not a hot weather kind of guy, particularly if the humidity levels are high.

Tomorrow and Thursday are supposed to be even hotter with heat indices over 105F.  The horses will have to go out later and come in earlier.  Hoping for some relief from the heat soon . . .

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