heat exhaustion, anyone? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 7 Old 06-24-2010, 01:58 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Northern Ohio
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Question heat exhaustion, anyone?

I am very prone to heat exhaustion. It started when I was about ten, and has gotten worse every year. (I'm sixteen now) Often when I'm in a hot environment, (about 75 degrees and above) and especially if I'm riding, I get this...fuzzy feeling in my head. Then I feel nauseous, and my vision goes dark. Kind of like when you stand up too fast. That weird, light-headed-and-practically-blind thing. It is a very unpleasant experience.

It happened in my riding lesson this afternoon. (well, yesterday actually, haha :P) It was about 88 degrees and sunny, so I told my instructor we had to keep it short. So, I drank a glass of water, slathered on my SPF 100 (XD) and headed out.

After about 20 minutes of light work, I started feeling minor symptoms. I stopped my lesson, and figured I'd be OK. Usually if I listen to my body and don't push it I'm alright. But this time was different. After I dismounted it just got worse, and I had to have my instructor untack my horse while I sat in the shady corner of the arena. I wasn't sure I'd be able to walk without collapsing or fainting. After several minutes I had my instructor help me to the barn, where I laid in front of one of the gigantic fans. I stayed there for about 20 minutes, and by then I felt OK enough to sit up. It took me several hours to fully recover.

Now, since I do NOT want a repeat of that, I've been thinking. I have low blood pressure, so could that be a factor? And, for awhile I thought it could be dehydration, but that doesn't seem right. I drink water and gatorade before, during, and after my rides. I don't know what is wrong with me. No one else I know has this problem, at least not to this extent.

I try to ride in the mornings and evenings, but often that just isn't possible. I'm usually forced to ride right during the heat of the day.

Does anyone else have this problem? And if so, have you figured out how to deal with it? It gets so hot here in the summer, and the heat consistently cuts my rides in half, if not more. I'm also worried about shows, since they are almost always outside and during the afternoon. At this point a show would be out of the question.

So, if anyone can help, that would be amazing!

Sorry this is so long. :O
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post #2 of 7 Old 06-24-2010, 08:08 AM
Join Date: Jan 2010
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I am the same way, I have actually had severe heat stroke twice. I try to be outside as much as possible early in the year, it seems to help me build up my tolerance to heat as the days get warmer. I regularly douse my head with the hose when I get pretty warm and as you said, when my body starts to complain I take a break. Have you been to the doctor? My own suscepitblity is a result of having heat stroke in the past but you might want to talk to the doctor about it.
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post #3 of 7 Old 06-24-2010, 09:37 AM
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80 degrees is kind of crazy.

I'd suggest just drinking a lot of water. I am prone a little bit, but not much. Is there any way you can condition your body, gradually do more and more outside, to get your body used to it? I know in Texas in the winter 70 degrees is a killer hot! But by the summer I'm totally used to it being 100 degrees, just because my body is used to it.

But if you are REALLY having problems, at lessons and shows, I'd recommend having a doctor's note saying you absolutely CANT ride during the heat of the day.
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post #4 of 7 Old 06-24-2010, 09:53 AM
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Story of my life. I have no advice, as I do just what you do. I live in FL where it can easily get 90 degrees and up. During the summer most of my rides aren't more than 30 minutes, and still a lot of the time I'll have to sit in the shade and guzzle water for a while before I can untack my horse, and continue what I was doing. It's very annoying, and can get dangerous If I don;t pay enough attention to it.

Definitely not fun.
Good luck!

I give myself very good advice, But I very seldom follow it
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post #5 of 7 Old 06-24-2010, 09:57 AM
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I really don't like to ride in the heat! Here in New Jersey it gets very humid. I has hit 90 degrees & above this week. One horse that I ride doesn't like the heat either....he stumbles and won't pick up is feet!! I think I am just going to hibernate this week!! No riding for me! Hope it gets cooler next week!!
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post #6 of 7 Old 06-24-2010, 10:28 AM
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I work out at the barn on Saturdays, which means I'm outside for 10-12 hours that day. I bring along a water bottle that fills up to fix 32 ounces (two zephryhills water bottles) and one 32 oz gatorade. Usually, I fill up the water bottle twice, and drink the whole gatorade through out the course of the day.

I would suggest hydrating yourself (i.e., the gatorade) before going to take a lesson, and then drinking the water while you have your lesson, and possibly bringing another gatorade along. You can also try wearing a cooling neck wrap I have something like this at the barn to wear when I really get hot. Its basically an ice pack that you can tie around your neck, and since you're thin skinned and your neck has both an important vein and an important artery, it helps lower your body temperature so that you're not so hot.

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post #7 of 7 Old 06-25-2010, 12:35 AM Thread Starter
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Jacksmama: I haven't actually had heatstroke, but I'm really afraid I will. A couple years ago I talked to my doctor, but all she said was "Stay hydrated -- you aren't getting enough fluids." When I tried to tell her I WAS getting plenty of fluids, she didn't really listen to me. :( I need a new doctor...

xdrybonesxvalleyx: I do kinda get "conditioned" to the heat as the summer progresses, but only to a certain extent. By mid summer I can usually handle mid 70s OK, but for some reason I can't get used to weather hotter than that.
That is a good idea though, getting a note from a doctor. If I can ride early at shows, I might be able to survive!

Gillian: Oh my gosh, I can't imagine living in Florida! I went down there to look at horses, and it was HOT. :O I tried out this one horse during the heat of the day, and the owner thought I was dying, haha. (I thought I was dying, too :P)

justsambam08: Yeah, gatorade is amazing! XD I don't think I'd last without it. But unfortunately I don't think dehydration is my problem. (That would be far too simple to fix! :P) Those neck wraps sound really cool though. I've been thinking of getting the whole set - neck wrap, vest, wrist bands, everything. I once saw these thin, cooling caps that went under a hat. I have to find those again.
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