Saturday, July 30, 2011

Aloha Harley!

I have not seen Harley in an entire week!

My husband and I just returned from a trip to Hawaii.  This trip was very uncharacteristic for us.  We rarely fly and have certainly never traveled so far from home.  We have also never left our birds or Harley for such an extended period of time.  One week may not sound like a lot, but it is a lot for us!  Our budgies and cockatiel were very happy to see us, but I cannot wait to go see Harley!

Hubby having fun with the camera

I felt so badly leaving him last Friday.  The temperatures on the Big Island were low to mid eighties with no humidity worth mentioning, except in the rainforest.  ;)  Meanwhile, poor Harley had to stay in New Jersey, battling temperatures over one hundred degrees and approaching 120 degrees Fahrenheit with the heat index.  The day before I left, he looked so awful that I almost did not want to go.  Harley enjoys 24/7 turnout, so he is well acclimated to his environment, but the heat was so extreme that he was beginning to struggle.  Although there is plenty of shade and shelter in his paddock, Harley and his buddy like to nap in the far sunny corner of the turnout during the afternoon.  I guess that habit trumps heat waves, because I found the two horses napping in full sun.  Harley's fur is light-colored with dark skin, like a polar bear.  This is helpful in the winter, not so helpful in the summer.  Both horses were sweating, but Harley looked terrible.  His dark skin was visible under his coat, slick with sweat.  The profuse sweat made his body look charcoal gray instead of cream-colored with shiny wetness around his eyes and ears.  The vet says to be happy if your horse can sweat, because some horses do not sweat enough and have difficulty thermoregulating.  Harley can sweat with the best of them, but I am not sure for how long his body could have handled the heat stress.  He was successfully cooling himself, because he did not actually feel hot when I touched his chest and flanks, but his face said it all.

"I feel yucky.  Take care of me."

After a cool shower and lavish use of the "horse squeegee", he was looking much better.  Harley confirmed that he was feeling better, too, when he did not hesitate in hoovering up a stray clump of hay in the aisle.  But it was not until I returned from the tack room and he was wearing his "carrot face" that I breathed a sigh of relief.  He was officially "okay".  I parked him in front of a couple fans and gave him a thorough grooming and detangling before my departure.  I topped off his fly spray, installed a fresh mineral block in his stall, and left instructions to please keep him inside during the day while I was gone.  I would not be there to take care of him if he decided to nap in the blazing heat again.  I said good-bye to him about four times before I finally left.  It was so difficult to leave my horse during such extreme temperatures, but I knew that he would be well cared for under the watchful eyes of my barn owners.

The Pacific Ocean

Evidence that volcanoes and rainforests can be explored on horseback

Harley has a connection to Hawaii.  Can you guess what it might be?

1 comment:

  1. Welcome home! We travel frequently and I ALWAYS worry about my ponies. Even though others are capable of providing good care, it just doesn't beat the extra-good care horse moms give their own babies. We know just what their most special needs are. Hopefully you find Harley with a "carrot face" when you finally get to see him.


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