Lauren Shannon’s eventing blog: hard ground in the heatwave

  • After the winter and spring we have had, you will not hear me complaining about this gorgeous summer weather. Goodness knows, we all appreciate that it could stop at any time and all my fellow equestrians seem to be spending as much time in the sun as possible.

    This little summer heatwave does raise a few issues for us eventers though. Firstly, the ground is getting firmer by the hour in this baking heat and I haven’t seen a rain drop in quite a while now — again, I’m not complaining! This means that as riders, we all have to make decisions on when and where to run our horses. This sometimes means not going cross-country, but also could mean not getting the horses off the lorry if the warm-up areas at events are not forgiving on horses’ legs.

    I know all events try their utmost to keep conditions perfect, but with this weather we are having there is only so much any event can do. I respect that totally and understand that sometimes you just have to take it as you find it. I’ve found the best thing for me and my team to do is to quieten down a little in this hot weather and let the ground soften up before carrying on. Therefore, my horses won’t be running again until Aston le Walls in August.

    Obviously, if this weather carries on, I will have to think again, and possibly sometimes run on hard ground, but we’ll cross that bridge when we get to it! In the meantime, it’s lots of dressage, showjumping and arena eventing to look forward to.

    I will take the younger horses out once more this weekend to Stafford Horse Trials, to have a steady run round the BE100 track. Jumping at this height is less hard on horse’s legs than my older horses running round intermediate, and we can go a bit slower too. I’m sure it will be a lovely day out in the sunshine for them (and us too — we’ve starting picnicking at these summery events).

    There’s definitely someone enjoying the sun more than the rest of us, and that is Alta, Delphi’s now three-week-old foal. She spends all day flat out in the field soaking up the rays, just having the occasional hoon round to let off some steam! It’s still amazing to watch her and I don’t know how I’m going to fill my time when she and Delphi head back to Oakham Vet Stud this Friday for Delphi to go back in-foal.


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