Oklahoma has experienced triple digit temperatures for the last 30 days, with the exception of about three or four days where we only hit 98F or 99F. With temperatures as high as 110F, it’s not conducive to trail rides mid-day. Once again, I find myself faced with a challenge.
Some FMS survivors thrive in heat, while some do in the cold. My particular brand of FMS causes me the most amount of difficulty in the cold. It’s not unusual for me to not ride my horse at all between late November and the end of February. I’m much more successful in the summer! Give me low 90’s, a case of bottled water in an ice chest, a light breeze, a low pain day and I’m ready to attack the trails and have a grand time. However, this year temperatures have been rather … brutal.
So the search for options began. This shouldn’t be too hard, right? Just ride during the cooler part of the day! But as I evaluated my options, I found more obstacles.
Option 1: Early Morning!
Yes, that works out, right? Unfortunately, at the moment in this part of the country at 5:00 a.m., it’s upwards of 85F outside. Okay, so it’s still toasty, but it’s tolerable. But, that brings up a unique problem for me.
FMS survivors are not morning people. It’s not because we are lazy or don’t want to get up. It’s due to the fact that many of us have some form of sleep disorder that prevents us from getting restorative sleep. That increases our symptoms, such as pain, migraine headaches, fatigue, and even our ability to handle stress. At the very least, an early morning for me means I’m stiff and sore. On my worst days, it means severe pain, stiffness, a limp, maybe even some nausea thrown in for good measure and light-headedness. When I was diagnosed with FMS, I was also diagnosed with sleep apnea and Restless Leg Syndrome (just a couple of the numerous sister conditions to FMS). So for me, if at all possible, it’s best that I avoid any commitments in the early morning. So “Option 1” was thrown out the window.
Option 2: Evenings!
That sounds reasonable. The Rangerettes have done that for years. Practice at 6:30 p.m., no big deal. Whoops … at 7 p.m., it is still anywhere from 100F to 104F. Even they have pushed practice times back to later in the evening due to the heat. So a trail ride before sundown probably won’t work well either. With temperatures this high, it doesn’t take much time and even the healthiest of people and most conditioned of horses could become exhausted from the heat.