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Copyright 2012 Rocky Mountain Rider. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Reproduction of any editorial material, artwork and photos is strictly forbidden without express written permission of the publisher. For information about reprint rights, please contact the editor; editor@rockymountainrider.com.

 

Dog Hair & Mule Sweat

with Natalie Riehl

editor@rockymountainrider.com

 

August 2012 issue

 

     This month we’ve included some sensible tips for when you go riding on the trail … or, in fact, anywhere. The tip I’d like to include is for riders to stay well-hydrated, especially on hot days. This means drinking a lot of water.

     Since you can’t necessarily count on finding a beautiful spring burbling out of the side of a mountain along the trail, you’ll need to pack an adequate quantity of water.

     I used to get bad headaches when I’d be riding, and did not realize why they were happening. I kept aspirin in my saddlebags, and would take them around lunchtime.

     Even though I would pack two, black plastic, army-style quart canteens, I had never thought about taking more than a swig or two of water at one time. Then, one day, I drank nearly the entire container of air-temperature (okay, warmish) water. My headache was gone within fifteen minutes.

     Ever since then, I’ve been a water advocate.

     Water is bad news for our friend here at RMR — Al. He’s 81 going on 82, and he hates it when I look into his bloodshot eyes and say, “You need to drink some water.”

     He’s very stubborn, and always says “No!” first.

     For 20 years, when he comes over for dinner, I’ve insisted that he drink a large glass of water. And I’m talking about iced, pure, well-water for Al, not lukewarm water from canteens.

     Even though experience has taught him that he will feel more energetic and wide awake after he drinks it, rather than pooped-out and sleepy, his nature is to be resistant! I’ll match him any day with an average five-year-old and prove who is the most unyielding!

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     These hot summer days remind me of how brutal the noonday sun can be on the wide, open prairie, and how that fact was not accurately depicted in Ken Burns’ documentary about the Lewis & Clark Expedition.

     Virtually all of the landscape scenes in that film were shot at sunrise or sunset, with the long shadows and magical orange and rose colors upon the rivers, mountains and grasslands.

     This is not realism for how long do these sunrises and sunsets last? Not nearly as long as the sun during the day!

     In the documentary, I think some of those scenes should have been shot in midday, when the shadows are so short, there are basically none at all. And the sun’s light is stark and bright and hurts your eyes. And the heat can be merciless.

     An exhibit at the Lewis & Clark Interpretive Center in Great Falls , MT , comes to mind. The building is perched on the edge of the Missouri River and extends out over the actual river bank.

     The exhibit depicts lifesized Corps of Discovery members, who are portaging the falls and hauling a large and heavy dugout canoe up the steep bank of a bison crossing. The men, who labor in the heat of the day, wear leather moccasins on their feet as they pick their way past cactus which grows in abundance on the eroded trail. The going is so tough, they have to replace the soles of their moccasins every day or two.

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     We hope you enjoy this year’s “Families & Horses” photos submitted by our readers! Thanks to everyone for sending them in to us!

            Keep your cameras handy, and take photos now of the kids in your life riding horses. Our annual “Kids & Horses” photo album is in our December issue, and the deadline is November 5.

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Copyright 2012 Rocky Mountain Rider. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Reproduction of any editorial material, artwork and photos is strictly forbidden without express written permission of the publisher. For information about reprint rights, please contact the editor; editor@rockymountainrider.com.

 

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