African Heat Wave Hits Italy

Did you know that the frequency of a Cicader’s chirping varies according to temperature.

Its actually possibile to gage the temperature by counting the number of chirps in 15 seconds and then adding 37 (for degrees farenheit that is).

As I write this post, the Cicaders are chiping so fast outside that I cant even count the chirps they make in 15 seconds. and the heat outside is stifling and oppressive to suit.

Interestingly, a chorus of cicadas can reach volumes greater than 100 decibels, a noise that is louder than your neighbours lawnmower.  The cicada’s group chorus repels birds that hunt by day and they usually quiet their racket when the sun sets.

According to the news today, this week may be one of the the hottest of any during the summer. Italy is expecting a heat wave stronger than any other in the past 10 years.

High daytime and evening temperatures, high humidity, intense sunshine and lack of wind will make the area seem like a virtual sauna bath.

Our horses are all now well used to the Tuscan heat, and are worked only in the mornings and evenings when the weather is cooler, but we are still constantly alert to the possibility of the non sweating syndrome of Anhydrosis: in which the horse has problems cooling off after work (heat overload).

There have been cases of horses dying at hot events or races due to this sydndrome, and I am Always on the lookout for horses looking distressed after rides. Horses out in heat over 33 degrees without shade will start to suffer from the heat. Whilst many people think a sweated horse means he is stressed, in extreme heat this is a good sign, whereas a horse with a dry or slightly patchy coat is a sign that his own personal cooling system may not be coping. This is a cause to worry. Some horses with age (like people) loose the ability to cool there bodies down.

Horses do have special  ways of dealing with heat overload and one of these (much like camels) is for them to push a certain amount of the heat into fluid in their hindgut (called heat sink), for later heat shedding in the cooler hours of the evening. Basically they hold the heat during the day, and release it when the evenings turn cool just as camels in the dessert do.

One of the nicest ways to cool our horses down is to take them swimming in our lake.  Kiss, the quarter horse in this photo really loves to swim, and during this photo shoot took me far deeper than I originally planned to take him (how to clean a saddle….).

2012-09-10 11.57.32-1


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One thought on “African Heat Wave Hits Italy

  1. WHP July 27, 2013 at 11:29 pm Reply

    It’s been pretty hot here in England too, over 30C some days. I was riding Brena out and some children asked whether they could stroke her. When they touched her sweaty body one boy asked whether I’d just swum her in a pond.

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