PATRICIA SMITH: Having Heated Visions
It is a pretty well-known "fact" that when temperatures reach 103 degrees the human brain warps, causing random hallucinations. Let me explain.
There are two gates in the middle paddock of my three side paddocks. In the morning I take the mare into the barn and switch the grey gelding in the farthest paddock into the middle paddock using the second gate nearest his paddock. That way, the two geldings can keep each other company while I take the mare out for a drive.
It requires remembering to shut the gate I take the mare out of so I can let the gray gelding in from the other end. Tuesday morning I moved horses around and had the two geldings out side by side with the mare in her stall eating breakfast.
I'm in the tack room when I hear the mare spinning in her stall. Opening the door into the barn aisle, there is the grey horse meandering down the aisle stopping to sniff each stall door.
Hallucination number 1: grey gelding walking down the barn aisle. Surely I had just left him in the middle paddock eating his grain.
Getting ready to go out in the sun to take some photographs, I grab sunglasses and a baseball cap. Somewhere into the third hour in the sun, I can't find my sunglasses. It seems reasonable that I left them in the car. No sunglasses in the car. Upon reaching home, I take off the baseball cap and there are the sunglasses on the top of my head.
Hallucination Number 2: Sunglasses under a baseball cap. Surely I would have felt them.
Wearing shorts to cover a horse show is not usually a good idea because of the bug factor but in 103-degree heat, I waived the no-shorts rule to cover a recent horse show. Not wanting to chance a burn, I sprayed sunscreen on my legs. Fast forward to the next day -- when I feel the need to rip my skin off.
Upon close inspection, little red welts are starting to appear on my middle torso. Yep, it's the summer curse -- a chigger attack. Hallucination Number 3: No chigger bites where I sprayed the sunscreen. Surely sunscreen isn't the answer to keeping chiggers at bay.
While following my husband in his car down Youngs Road in my car, he suddenly gestures to look to the side of the road.
Hallucination Number 4: a no more than week-old baby deer bounding alongside a paddock fence line very near the road. It's Bambi with no Mom in sight.
Bambi is obviously panicked and considering crossing the road which would have put it up against wire fencing with no way to get through. As I stopped traffic, my Champion came to the rescue -- my husband pulled over, got out and convinced the baby deer to go the other way.
Hallucination Number 5: Seeing a Dressage rider in 103-degree heat wearing a white vest. After a number of double-takes I confirm that the rider is in fact wearing a vest.
Listen up all you summer riders: Our clever Dressage rider had on a vest that you wet and put in the refrigerator keeping you calm, cool and collected for eight hours. Too bad there isn't a matching equine vest.
Itch, scratch, itch some more, I'm on my way out to buy some Benadryl, wishing these bites were a hallucination.
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