Pro event rider Kate Samuels shares some tips for dying a slow and painful death by heat exhaustion.
Just like every other equestrian out there, my job doesn’t quit just because good old 95 degrees and 10,000% humidity has finally rolled around in Virginia. Oh, it’s 7am and you’re already covered in sweat? Good, you’ve got 12 more hours of this headed your way. Sometimes when I wake up and walk outside only to realize that literally any clothing is too much clothing, I can’t help but imagine one day when I’ll be fancy and rich enough to have an indoor with gigantic industrial fans installed in the ceiling and a misting corner for cooling off after a ride.
more than a little stubborn, I continued my regular schedule last week when Mother Nature suddenly cranked up the heat and threw in some daily afternoon thunderstorms just to keep everything nice and humid. On day one, I drank so much water mixed with gatorade that I felt like I was pregnant with a lemon-lime electrolyte water baby. On day two, I got lazy, and probably drank 1/5 of what I should have, and then topped it off with a beer, and called it a night in the AC. Day three? I started feeling generically ill, had the vague feeling of a temperature (but couldn’t tell if it was me or just the outdoors), but figured what the heck, don’t be a sissy Kate!
However, day four rolled around and I woke up after a night of sweaty restlessness to continue on my doomed path towards summer misery. I felt nauseated, so I didn’t drink as much as I should. I drank coffee because I was tired, which is a really great way to dehydrate yourself. I had a throbbing headache, I seemed to be having mild memory recall issues and I generally felt like I was walking underwater with some earplugs in. Did it seem like I should ride 7 horses anyway? Of course it did.
Number one way to fail at summer: IGNORE your body when it says, “Hey, you’ve had too much. Chill out for a minute. Maybe don’t ride that extra horse at 12 in the boiling sun. Maybe take a lunch break, drink a few gallons of water.” How, at this age, I have come to be so oblivious to my own obvious physical needs is a mystery to many who surround me, but literally every summer I give myself heat stroke at some point or another, and it takes falling down that rabbit hole to make me reasonable. It’s really a wonder I haven’t lost too many brain cells to write a coherent sentence.
And so, from the depths of my “learned this the hard way” knowledge, I give you:
Top Eight Ways To Successfully Fail At Summer
- Drink irregularly and sparingly. If you have to drink, consider coffee or soda! Water is boring, and relatively flavorless. Drink beer after a long day in the sun without any actual hydration.
- While you’re at it, drink hot beverages. Cold beverages don’t actually cool you down, and ice cubes are overrated. For the best taste, leave your soda outside in the arena with the top open, then you can have flat AND hot Coke!
- Wear lots of dark, tight fitting clothing. Keep your head tight in your heaviest helmet all day long, and even keep it on when you aren’t riding.
- Be really brave and determined on days when the weather suddenly moves from cooler to ragingly hot! These are the days to get the most accomplished. Your body doesn’t need to acclimate to the changes in the temperature, so go for it!
- Don’t take breaks in between riding or other physical activities. Breaks are for sissies and ineffective people. You have things to accomplish, and be damned about the heat!
- If it’s really really hot outside, and you don’t seem to be sweating….great! Congrats! You’ve won the sweating lottery, and you’re doing awesome. You should probably celebrate with a nice beer, no matter what time of the day it is.
- Should you at some point feel like you have been concussed very recently, and perhaps can’t remember if this is true or not, ponder the possibilities while you are riding your next horse. When somebody asks you why you are lilting one way in the saddle and looking distinctly cross-eyed, tell them to mind their own business and wonder why their horse is so ugly instead!
- If you have the choice between riding in the shade and riding in the bright sun, the obvious choice is bright sun. After all, how are you going to get that enviable riders tan that everybody loves so much! Your forearms could always be more tan. Work on it.
*Please note that these are all in jest, and do not by any means follow any of the suggestions above. In fact, do the exact opposite*