We made it! We made it to the 71stannual Appaloosa National Championship show in Fort Worth, Texas. Hooray! I can strike an item from my bucket list, assuming I don’t melt before I show on Thursday. It’s hot here in Fort Worth. Not like the hot we feel in South Georgia with 100% humidity. No, this is the kind of hot that sucks every drop of moisture from your skin even if you’re sitting in the shade.
To help make the trip a little less stressful for Vixie, we tried to make a few extra accommodations.
Trailer fan– My 3-horse Lakota is well insulated, but it still gets hot with a 1,200 pound halter horse radiating heat inside of it. So, I had my husband install a 12-volt truck fan above her back. I was pleasantly surprised at how much air that little thing can put out and it keeps going even when the truck is stopped. It was less than $30 on Amazon and took my husband about an hour to install.
Early mornings– We left South Georgia at 5 am Friday morning, which put us in Vicksburg, Mississippi right at 1 o’clock our time (noon central). We stopped at the cutest horse hotel, Bridgeport Farm and Horse Hotel, which was perfect. The owner, Ms. Jo, was so nice. She had a stall ready for Vixie along with access to a grassy round pen. Her trailer hook-up was right next to the barn, so I was able to check on Vixie whenever my anxiety called. Ms. Jo also kept a watch on Vixie for us while we went into Vicksburg for lunch. We left there at 5 am again and made it to the show grounds around lunch time. Because we’d left so early, the traffic wasn’t too bad, but Vixie was definitely worn out from the trip.
Ice– A friend of mine suggested I take ice for the trailer floor. She recommended using pelleted shavings with ice scattered across the top to pull the temperature of the trailer down quickly. Fortunately, the trailer never got to the point we needed ice, but we had a cooler full just in case.
Liniment wraps– Wraps are one of those toss up items—you’re danged if you do and danged if you don’t. I personally opt to leave them off for long trips because they can get loose and fall. I did, however, take a set of wraps and liniment just in case I needed to pull Vixie’s internal temperature down. I placed the quilts in the ice cooler with the plan of pouring liniment on them if I needed to use them.
Water- This one is tough for me because Vixie won’t drink on the trailer. I carry water on the trailer and always have a bucket handy. I’ve walked into plenty of McDonalds’ bathrooms, bucket in tow, to get fresh water for my horse. Of course, I always end of dumping it when my mare doesn’t drink, which makes me worry about her getting dehydrated. This was part of the reason we decided to stay a night at the horsey hotel.
Now that we are here and settled, my horsey-gage is working overtime. Fortunately, Vixie does know this routine and has settled without much trouble. She drinks water like she should—I know because I check her two buckets every couple of hours. And, I’ve dropped her normal work routine down to less than twenty minutes. The two fans in her stall don’t seem to do much more than blow the hot air from one side to the other while covering her in dust and dirt, so she’s also gotten several baths since getting here, too.
While I have enjoyed the horse show and tourist venues (it’s been 15 years since I was here in Fort Worth), I am looking forward to the trip home. I never thought I’d miss 90 degrees with 100% humidity, but here it is. I’ll take the same precautions on the way back east and maybe figure out a few more.
Do you have tips and tricks for getting through the summer swell? How do you get through the summer show season without stressing yourself or your horse?