Delectable Dirraw delivers

Somewhat belatedly we can report that the club training day in Dirraw was a great success. The heat made things challenging but everyone took things at a sensible pace and allowed plenty of cool down breaks in the shade. Many thanks for the photographic evidence provided, and especially to Erica for organising everything.

Our next training day is the Regional training day, being organised this year by the Inishowen club. This is being held at Gordon’s Bay Equestrian on August 15th. Participants may choose two disciplines to enter and these can both be the same or different. Or you can choose to do one lesson only. Participants may train above or below their AIRC grade.The bookings for it will open on July 26th and can be accessed on the Inishowen itsplainsailing page, which you’ll find at the following link.

While most of our members were content to indulge in one day of equestrian activities last weekend Suzanne and Rachel headed straight from Dirraw to Cloncaw Equestrian in Monaghan to take part in the Border Counties Riding Club one-day-event on Sunday. The Bellew family had the venue in excellent shape and the day went very smoothly with high commendation having to go to the host club for the professionalism of the day. The army of volunteers it takes to host a day like that is not to be underestimated and there seemed to be no stone left un-turned to assure people went home happy. Congratulations to all the Donegal riders who took home rosettes and prizes.

Tomorrow, 25th July sees a good few of us heading to Lenamore Stables to take part in the Inishowen Riding Club show, which is also a qualifier for the national dressage championships in Mullingar on the 8th of August. The heat is forecast to diminish slightly tomorrow but great care needs to be taken to ensure both yourselves and your horses are not adversely affected by the pretty extreme conditions. Inge D’Haese has drawn up the following guide to help understand the best way of dealing with the uncharacteristically hot weather we are experiencing.

Before the competition:• Supply electrolytes in your horse’s feed (follow supplier’s recommendations). This will make them drink more and remain well hydrated. Dehydrated horses will overheat more easily.• Work them during the cooler times of the day.• Ventilate the stables well.• If they are out in the field, make sure there is some shade.• Make sure fresh water is always made available.• Condition your horse to being hosed down and being cooled down with bucket s of water being thrown over it.• Hairy horses may benefit from a summer clip.• Keep your horses lean as overweight horses have a harder time with thermoregulation.

Upon arrival at the competition:• Ventilate lorries/trailers well: if it feels warm to you, it certainly is for your horse.• If the box is too warm, unload them and find a place in the shade.• Offer fresh cool water regularly – do not withhold water for any reason.• If your horse is sweated up, take it off the lorry and wash it down with cool water.• In warm weather it takes less time to warm up your horses.• Try to find shade when waiting to go into the ring or waiting to start your XC.

After your round/ cross country phase:• Make sure you have some help at the finish line to ensure your horse can be cooled down. Bring buckets, sponges and scrapers. Water for the rider is also a good idea.• Ensure there is cool water available at the finish – if not make sure you take some.• Dismount immediately when finished – don’t make your horse work harder than it already has.• At least loosen the girth or, even better, take saddle off and immediately wash the horse down with cool water.• Keep the horse walking.• Offer your horse cool (not too cold) drinking water.• Using cold water to cool down your horse will NOT do your horse or its muscles ANY HARM, it will help cool it down though which can be vital.• It is best to keep throwing cool water down your horse’s neck and back. Scraping is not necessary when constantly throwing more water on. If there is plenty of help, it may be useful to scrape the warm water off quickly before replacing it with cool – but this should not delay further water administration.• Keep the horse walking in the finishing area until sufficiently recovered, then walk it back to the box.

Signs of hyperthermia/overheating– ask for veterinary help when:• Blowing harder than normal and for longer than normal.• Horse is not paying attention to you or the environment.• Sweating profusely.• Horse becoming wobbly/drunk.• Horse collapsing.

Remember prevention is better than cure, so look after your horse’s needs first and foremost!

Best of luck everyone.