Growing up in Sweden was no preparation for living in the desert type summers we have here in the foothills.
This will be my 14th summer in the Sacramento Valley. Still have not got used to the crazy summer climate that is about to start. Without exception, it seems to warm up in early April (Although locals will claim I’m a liar and that it’s really only hot during mid summer. Just the same way my mother would claim “It’s spring!” just because it said so on the calendar, April 1st, even though we’d still often have snow on the ground and the thought of baring any skin seemed risqué and cringeworthy, and not in a good way.).
Everyone else deals just fine with over-heating in full seat breeches and long socks, capped off with leather boots, a shirt, gloves, and a helmet. I convince myself that it’s all completely normal. Fake that I’m not about to pass out already around 11 am. That it does not feel at all as if breathing straight in to a hair dryer. It’s been an adjustment.
Summer mornings start at a cool 80 F (26 C) and quickly rise to some 95 F (35 C) – 110 F (43 C) depending on how lucky you are. Weather reports will state it as a “cooling off” period if highs are only around 90 F (32) for a couple of days.
Around mid September, I’m grouchy, clammy, and have hallucinations about getting to cozy up in a long sleeve shirt someday, soon, next month, OK maybe end of October…
This winter, for what – the third year in a row (?) we’re dealing with a drought. No rain. Maybe only five days of wetness for the season preceding this weeklong stretch we’ve just entered with some wonderful storms coming in? The lakes are drying out, no green grass on the hills during the winter months, and very little snow higher up the mountain.
Not sure it makes a lot of difference, riding wise, here though. Even during wetter years, I’ve been told in SO many ways that arena riding during rain is uncalled for. You just don’t really dressage in the rain here. Seriously. I didn’t get that when first starting out. Got scolded for leading the horse through the rain the 200 meters to the indoor arena without covering up that saddle! Got frowned upon for riding and tearing up the outdoor arena when I knew it was scheduled to rain the next day. Got a lecture about NOT riding the day after a downpour as it completely ruins the footing when it’s wet like that. Waited for two weeks to get in a lesson which kept getting cancelled as there was sprinkles coming in every time we rescheduled. Shamefully and apologetically drove the tractor with the drag after riding in an arena which had ben carefully flattened out in preparation for a rainy weekend.
So, I’ve been retrained to avoid equine arena activity during rain. (Cannot call what La Prima and I are doing Dressage, it’s an activity.) Besides they just pull their shoes. (Which La Prima did this weekend. Super farrier came out today to reapply. As soon as the truck left she promptly stepped right out of it AGAIN, after just a couple of easy trot laps in the round pen!!! With clips on all 4. We’re going nowhere, fast.)
Hanging my head in shame over the weather set backs, and our standstill in the training due to shoe complications. You don’t complain about rain in Sweden, it’s pessimistic and makes you a boring person. Where once I rode in flurries, snow storms, hail, mud rain (OK then, that’s not possible) and came back in with frost on the horse’s eye lashes and icicles hanging off the whiskers off the muzzle, I now have to call it the day as soon as the clouds roll in 😦 . Embarrassing. I don’t ever remember horse shoes falling off either from slopping around in wet arenas back then. Why is that?
With sunshine some 345 days out of the year here, I dutifully join the rest who do not work their horses in the rain. Pitiful. Time to regroup and change.
Forgive me, Sweden, for I have gotten soft.