dressage

Smoked Out!

In the Western United States, we’ve been hit hard this year with wildfires. In addition to checking the weather forecast each morning, we check the air quality index. Today’s air quality is Hazardous, yet again.

Micah grazes in a hazy pasture. Normally we can see the Cascade Range in the background.


Here in Bend, Oregon we’ve had a consistent streak of some of the worst air quality in the nation. It’s affected our overall lifestyle to a great extent, causing normally athletic people to spend time indoors, getting cranky.
This sort of event makes you realize just how much joy your day-to-day time at the barn brings you. I’ve used this down time to body clip my horse (evening temps in the 40’s kick-started his winter coat while daytime temps in the 90’s make that coat a hindrance), tidy up his mane, and take my boots in for a zipper repair.

This year’s wildfire season has brought hazardous air quality to much of the western U.S. My town is located under the purple (Hazardous) dot in Oregon.


As for riding, our local veterinarians are warning us that the health risks of riding are great for man and beast. For the past two weeks, I’ve cancelled and rescheduled my lessons, frustrated yet resigned that I need to do what’s best for my horse and my self. My husband will attest to the fact that nothing makes me more grumpy than cancelling a lesson.
For now, the only riding I’m doing is in my mind. I’m signing up for our region’s next league show, scheduled for October 15th, hoping the fires will be out and the air will have cleared. The clock is ticking.
While I’m a bit stressed by not being able to ride, I know it’s far worse for my friends who are preparing for the region’s Championship Shows, this coming weekend. While riders in the Portland/Willamette Valley have had some smoke to deal with, it’s been far less and they’ve mainly been able to continue riding. After working all season to hone their skills, Central Oregon’s riders are having to sit out much of their practice time.
While this isn’t life-threatening, and it’s certainly a First World Problem, it’s a shame for those who have worked so hard to be sidelined so close to our region’s big event.
Here’s hoping that you’re reading this from somewhere safe, far from hurricanes, floods, and wildfires; that your loved ones are healthy and happy, and you’re able to embrace and appreciate the simple pleasures that make life a joy. While we know this too shall pass, it’s not an easy place to be, in the meantime.