Despite the heat, Misty and I participated in a trail riding clinic yesterday. We practiced some basic riding exercises in the indoor arena, like turning on the forehand and on the haunches, backing, and side passing. Then we rode out into a cow pasture where we worked on skills such as opening a gate, riding up and down hills, backing up a hill, and trotting on natural ground. We didn't do very well at the gate. Misty was scared of it, so the clinician had me just practice walking her up to it, positioning her parallel to the gate, rest and praise her, and then I would push the gate wide open and ride her through it. It was a start. We did great up and down hills and trotting in the prairie grass.
It was so hot during the clinic, that I couldn't make it back to the ranch's barn before getting too dizzy to trust myself to stay seated upright in my saddle. I had to dismount and walk Misty back to the barn. I tied her inside and got a cold, wet paper towel to wipe my face and neck. That helped. I was hit with a very bad respiratory virus 5 weeks ago and I'm still trying to shake it, while continuing to work my day job and getting out on trail rides whenever I can. Just when I think I've turned the corner and am feeling better, I push myself a little too hard trail riding and am exhausted for days afterwards. That's why I haven't been online much lately.
While riding in the pasture at yesterday's clinic, one of the riders pointed out a big plume of billowing smoke way off in the distance. It wasn't there at the beginning of the clinic. A new forest fire had started in the mountains west of Colorado Springs.
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The fire is zero percent contained and spreading fast. Mandatory evacuations are in effect and the fire is now threatening homes. Penrose Equestrian Center is accepting horses evacuated from the fire area. They are sending out a plea for donations of hay, fans, and extension cords.
The cause of this fire is unknown. No lightning was in the area when it started. There were upwards of 20 arson fires set in that county last week. It's too soon and too dangerous for investigators to begin their work.
Record high temperatures are forecasted again today; humidity is low, and afternoon winds are expected to pick and gust in multiple directions. Not good! And to add insult to injury, there is a possibility of afternoon Thunderstorms that will produce lightning, but little, if any, precipitation. Not good at all.
We are nowhere near the fire, but can see and smell the smoke. I can't imagine what the firefighters are enduring, working such a dangerous and physical job in extreme summer heat. The news reported this morning that firefighters were as close as 20 yards away from flames rising 100 feet tall. And they haven't had much time off in the last couple of weeks as they have been battling other fires in the region.
Is your state on fire? Check the InciWeb site for information on fires around the country.