Yesterday we had a fresh snowfall of about 5 inches. This is Maine, so it’s not a big deal. Our power is on, our water still flows, and the plows have cleared the roads. However, conditions were such that the horses couldn’t be turned out safely. One reason I like boarding where I do is that Tonka has an attached runout. Even when the paddocks are too muddy or icy, he can walk out of his stall to get fresh air and move a little. Unless there are icicles hanging right over the door. You don’t want that crashing down onto your horse!
This afternoon the weather was beautiful (still below freezing, but sunny and not windy.) When I arrived at the barn I thought that Tonka would like to have a romp in the outside ring. After all, he’d been stuck in his stall for 24 hours already.
I led him out, unclipped the lead and said “Shoo! Go Play!”
Tonka emphatically said “no.” Underneath that fluffy powdery snow was crust and ice. “I’d rather just stand, thank you,” he said. I do appreciate that my horse is careful when he doesn’t think that the ground is safe.
Another reason to like where I board Tonka is that when the footing outside is horrible, there’s always the indoor arena. However. Notice the indoor arena’s roof. That snow was sliding off. Tonka has a rather high tolerance for the noise, but today it was coming down in very loud thwumps. I decided not to ride.
I didn’t want to put Tonka back in his stall. Movement is so important for a horse’s well-being, so I hand-walked Tonka for awhile and then lunged him. He was more than willing to stretch his muscles indoors on secure footing. Of course, the entire time that we were in the arena, the snow stayed on the roof and all was quiet!
Next up was a relaxed grooming session. There might be snow on the ground and icicles hanging from the eaves, but it’s shedding season, because that’s tied in to the amount of daylight – which we are getting more of – not the weather. Can you imagine having all of that itchy, loose hair under a blanket? Tonka was very happy to be curried.
I have a lint roller in my truck, but it could barely make a dent on the hair stuck to me. My jacket went right into the wash when I got home!
How’s the weather where you are? Have you had snow days? Tell me in the comments!
Hello Terry! I enjoyed your post today. We here in the Pacific Northwest don’t get much snow in the winter. Though when it does show up occasionally I enjoy it greatly. So last week we had our whole winter in one weekend. It had been mostly raining and blowing from the south. Then last week we had some arctic air come at us from Canada. The temps fell into the single digits We then had over a few days about a foot of snow. Now of course it is mostly gone. You can find small patches on the north sides of wooded areas and buildings. My chickens survived with no frostbite and are now out and about again as usual. Take care, Connie
A condensed version of my months of winter!
Hi there Terry,
We have LOTS of snow here – about two feet in the bush. No warm up yet. It is beautifully white. Today’s walk was in sun – gorgeous blue sky – yet when I looked across the Lake, in the distance the sky was stormy looking and a blizzard was underway. So much fun to see Tonka and what he is up to.
When the snow is fresh, white and deep it is absolutely beautiful.
We have had 13 days of below freezing weather, some days in the single digits and one night below zero. We had about 2 inches of snow, then 7 inches on top of that. Very unusual for here, should be in the 40’s and 50’s and maybe some nights below freezing. Finally today it is in the mid 40’s and sunny and it’s melting. Horses have been hanging out in the walk-in barn, and go down twice a day and water. I kept the hens in their coops until yesterday and none of them got frostbitten.
Probably a good idea not to ride Tonka if the snow was possibly going to slide off the roof. I know they get used to it, but it can be startling. I can hear it slide off my barn all the way in the house.
Those freezing temps are more difficult for horse keepers who don’t have barns set up for them. You’re in the mud/frozen mud stage. Yech!
We are a bit spoiled here in this part of California…it’s a breezy mid-50s today, and the rain stopped this morning, so out we went for a trail ride. Lots of fun water crossings and a bit of mud, but otherwise a beautiful day. Hope you get a break in the weather soon so you can get some riding in!
50s sound downright balmy. Enjoy!
We have an indoor just like yours. Snow and icicles can be quite the challenge! I was so proud of the mare I’m riding last week. We had a huge windstorm and a couple of willow trees on the far side of the outdoor arena that had been killed by a summer fire snapped. Debris from the trees flew up to the roof, rolled up one side, crested the top and rolled down the other. Inside the arena, it sounded like small trees were tap-dancing menacingly on the roof. I’ve been working to desensitize Rosie because we want to do a couple of baby events this year (if they’re allowed) and event horses have to be brave and trust their riders — so I’ve taken every opportunity to work her where the scary things are! She stiffened when the tree debris rattled up the roof, but listened when I told her she was OK and continued working. Then they crested and rattled down the other side. She was slightly more concerned at first, but when I told her she was fine, she went back to work.
The willow debris experience seems to have helped her. The last couple of days icicles have been cracking and crashing and the snow is whomping down, and she barely registers it.
I am excited to see how she progresses! She hates anything tickling her belly, so that’s the next step. Galloping through brush on her can be quite hair-raising!
Well done! Ah, the ticklish bellies…
We had “ice days,” but they coincided with MY “stall rest” so that was handy. I haven’t gotten to work either horse since I got the all-clear, but I’ve been able to turn Stella out to play both days, which she appreciated.
My “stall rest” usually coincides with the best riding weather. So in a sense you lucked out 🙂