The storms were circling Maisons-Laffitte just as I went over to feed breakfast; by the time we would normally take out first lot the lightening and thunder had moved in and rain hung over the yard. We waited, and in about 45 minutes the storm had moved through. It wasn’t enough. The air was still thick and heavy, but it would be further scrubbed by afternoon showers. This summer in France reminds me of those we used to have growing up in Wisconsin. Hot and heavy, punctuated by thunderstorms. Afternoons that seemed to last forever and yet speed by. The horses aren’t happy with it, but this summer has made me feel like I’m 16 again – OK, maybe not quite. I certainly don’t have the energy level – or the alcohol tolerance – of those days. But still. I could use at least another six months of this.
But the horses wouldn’t appreciate it. I am having to choose our entries wisely, because some horses are tolerating this better than others. Rapsodie is a little gray mare who is very light and has almost an Arabian head. Not surprisingly, she is standing up to the weather the best. The heavier horses are struggling. Big Brazil (now her formal name of Little Brazilien is quite comical) sweats like a fat girl, even though she really isn’t fat, just huge in every other way. Rose of Egypte would wilt if she lived in the country for which she was named. She’s a huge filly, and she is still too fat, although getting slimmer. Hard Way and Turfani are taking it stoically, and Timelord and George don’t seem too bothered, either. Skid hates it, and has been clearly much happier since we moved him to a cooler box about 10 days ago. Shuffles is too busy worrying about where his second testicle is to worry about the heat. I’m watching for it, too, because the minute it shows itself I’m going to have it removed, along with its partner. If there’s no sign by this winter I’m afraid we’ll have to go looking for it. Piccolo doesn’t care too much about the weather, either, because she’s still busy scoping out the place and deciding on a restaurant rating.
Despite the heat, the dogs still want their grand tour of the gallops every evening. Coco plays in the sprinklers and Prof knows the two strategically placed water holes that are just his size for wallowing. While Coco has youth on her side, Prof spends all day resting up for his big moment. The biggest decision of the day for him is whether to sleep on the couch or the bed. When I leave the fan on, the bed wins, especially since Coco is strangely afraid of the fan and refuses to go into the bedroom when it’s on. Instead, she goes outside and lays in what used to be the tomato bed before she dug it up. That way, she can bark at people, cars or horses passing in the street without having to actually get up. She will still make the effort to charge the fence at passing dogs, though. She is as afraid of other dogs as she is of the fan, but the fence gives her courage.
This lazy rhythm continues through Thursday; on Friday, Timelord goes to Chantilly. Next week, Turfani is entered in Chateaubriant on Monday, Hard Way in Vichy on Tuesday and Brazil in Dieppe on Wednesday. I’m not sure I’ll take Hard Way down to Vichy, because I think the trip may take too much out of him in the heat. But Brazil and Turfani are more likely to run. It all depends on the weather.