The heat wave is on in the valley!!
116* yesterday and looking to be around 118* today (it usually peaks around 4pm and it's 3pm now and right at 116*).
I have done about all I can for the ponies. Shades...misters...and I have some large plastic jugs of frozen water to throw in the big tanks. I need to make more, but the freezer is so dinky on this refrigerator, that I'll never have enough room to be wholly effective. What I wouldn't give to have one of my big freezers right now. :-/. The little tubs of water, I just dump out the warm water and run in fresh. It's not what you would call 'cold' coming out of the well, but it's cool enough to encourage the horses to drink.
Although I did buy a couple salt blocks to put in the big pens, I have also been adding a good handful of salt to everyone's grain in the evenings. They never get enough off of those blocks and jerk horses that I have...They will terrorize any mineral/salt feeders that I put out until they manage to dump it out if I tried to do loose salt.
My main concern was Sneaky. Although it is 10-15* cooler under the shade and I have it nicely bedded...He absolutely won't lay under there. He insists on laying out in the blazing sun. I'm about ready to take some panels over there and lock him and Beretta under the shade during the day. Horses can be the dumbest of the dumb animals sometimes.
People keep saying that horses prefer standing in the sun over shades because of the flies in the shade, but that is not the case at my place. I have almost no flies. It's too hot, but also, knowing how bad the flies can get down here, I have really stayed on top of knocking the manure piles down and keeping pens cleaned out and spreading out the manure. Those measures ensure that the manure dries out before the flies have a chance to hatch. I also alternate spraying the ground with chemicals and using Diatomacious Earth. It's been effective so far.
I do notice most of the horses using the shade here and there throughout the day, so putting them up was not a total waste of time and money. LOL.
While my concern was on Sneaky...I totally missed the fact that The Big Bay wasn't using the shade at all yesterday. When I went out to start evening chores, I saw he was laying down. Didn't think much of it, since Shooter was standing guard. They alternate this position often, so all seemed entirely normal.
It wasn't until I noticed he wasn't getting up and coming to hover in anticipation of supper that I walked over to check on him. He still didn't get up and that is when I KNEW he was in trouble. I immediately drug my hose over and started hosing him down. He rolled up, but did not get up and just laid there and let me hose him for a good 10-15 minutes. I finally made him get up and he wandered over to the tank, but just stood there. I continued to hose and scrape him for another 10-15 minutes before he wandered off again.
I knew I needed to get some moisture and salt into his system, so I hustled over and mixed him up a nice, sloppy mix of beet pulp and oats with salt and put him in a pen by himself to eat. He didn't touch it. Now that is when I was really starting to get nervous. The sun had set and it was cooling off, but Jet was still in distress. He kept laying down, but wasn't rolling or acting particularly colicy, so I wasn't ready to call the vet just yet. I just kept hosing him and started shoving spoonfuls of Epsom Salt into his mouth. It was another 30 minutes or so before he finally perked up and started to eat his grain, but once he did, I was sure relieved.
I kept puttering around doing a few chores and then going back and hosing him down some more. When he finished all of his grain, I made him another batch and he ate that too. By then it was dark and not only had he eaten all of his grain, he drank a fair bit, so I finally threw him a flake of grass hay.
Years ago, when I lived in Arizona the first time, I had a big Thoroughbred that this happened to at the beginning of every summer. I had to take that horse off of alfalfa in the summer and just fed him grass hay and beet pulp/oats. Back then there wasn't all of these specialty feeds, so it was a lot harder to keep a horse like that looking good. He always looked rough by the end of summer.
This morning I moved Jet over to the other pen, with the babies. I didn't know if Moon had kept him from using the shade or that was his own doing. I'm guessing his own doing because this afternoon, I had to lock him in a stall with a mister because he was the only one of the bunch that never did go stand under the shade/misters at all. Everyone else at least goes in and stands there for a little bit before going back out. I guess some horses are just so lacking in common sense that you have to force them to take advantage of the amenities you provide. LOL.
I was going to take horses swimming this morning, but I got to fighting with my wheelbarrow...and lost. LOL. The pan has split out where it bolts to the frame, so I bought some big washers to put over the cracked out parts, but for the life of me, I cannot get a couple of the bolts to come loose. Uuggghhh!! P....I...T...A!!!!
We have about a week of this ungodly heat to survive and then the temps will return to 'normal' summer heat for awhile. I knew what I was getting into when I moved to this area and it might be a bit of a struggle for a little while, but I already have great ideas for how I am going to set up barns at the new place when we get rolling on that. Things will be set up right from the get-go there and while the summer temps in the valley will always be hotter than hades, the horses don't have to fry.