Cooler heads prevail when it's hot, hot, hot

PABLO FERNANDEZ -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 10:19 AM ET

The heat wave that plowed through the city yesterday had Spruce Meadows spectators clambering for shade and equine staff working hard to keep horses cool.

Reaching the low 30s, yesterday's sweltering temperatures -- which are expected to continue today -- were almost 10 degrees higher than seasonal normals, prompting horse trainers to modify workout schedules and medics to keep a watchful eye over visitors.

Hot weather means lazy days for horses, said Spruce Meadows trainer Ronja Richter.

"When it's this hot, the training isn't so hard," she said.

"We don't ... work them so hard or jump them too high."

Apart from light workouts, the horses also got cool-down showers throughout the day, said Richter, adding the measures taken by trainers yesterday were only precautions, as horses can actually handle the heat better than people.

"Horses are individuals so some are affected more than others," she said.

"But they have a better system and can better cool down."

Normally busy treating scrapes and bruises, and breathing problems triggered by allergies, yesterday's relentless heat saw emergency responders shift their focus to treat and prevent heat-related injuries, said paramedic Kathy Prather.

"We have a lot of ice and water at hand," she said.

"When it's this hot out, heat injuries is what we see a lot of."

Hats, water and staying in the shade are key to keeping sun stroke or heat exhaustion at bay, said Prather.


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