Friday, January 01, 2010

Watching the Snow Melt

And What to Wear?

It's warm enough in the sunshine to melt the little layer of snow. We only had about two inches at the most, and it was raining a bit last night when I went out to feed the Boys and shout, "Happy New Year" to the world. (Amidst blasts of gunfire and what sounded like fireworks somewhere. People celebrate noisily around here.)

As a result, I am a bit betwixt and between about what the Boys should be wearing. I think they are OK in their winter blankets, though. The air is still chilly and it's supposed to go down below freezing again tonight and stay cold for the weekend. Their blankets are not heavyweight and they don't seem to be running around much out there. The ground is still pretty frozen and not the best footing for frolicking.

It is a bit of a challenge once you decide to sheet or blanket your horses. Now that I am home most of the time, it's OK, but when I was working, I would have to decide in the morning when it was still cold, just what clothes the Boys needed for the day. Was it going to warm up a lot? Was it going to rain? Was it going to get colder? I'd pay strict attention to the weather forecasts and then, despite all my efforts, worry all day long if anything changed.

Unexpected storms were and are always a worry. My pasture is on a hill and when thunderstorms rise up I am always afraid the Boys are out there, standing like lightning rods as the clounds darken. While there is less worry about that in the winter--although we do have some thunder and lightning now and then--the unpredicted icy rain or snow can certainly add to the worry. A horse standing around with a wet sheet--one that's not as waterproof as advertised--is worse than a wet horse with no sheet.

I have a rather extensive collection of sheets and blankets on hand. I sorted through them this summer and patched the ones that could be saved and got rid of the too damaged ones. Even so, I have to know the properties of each one when I decide what to dress the Boys in for the day/night. The truly waterproof sheets tend to be heavier weight than the water resistant ones, so they don't work as well in the warmer weather. But, I don't worry too much if it rains in the summer as no one's likely to get a chill.

The good thing seems to be that all three horses can wear the same size. It is a bit strange when you think that Chance is 15.3, Toby is 16.1, and Tucker is 16.3+. Chance fills out his blanket with his broad confirmation, Toby fills his with his longer back, and Tucker snugs in with a short back. Makes it easier to select the right blanket for each Boy.

But you do have to watch the sizing of different brands of blankets. Some brands run big and some run small. It would be nice if every manufacterer was the same, but that is simply not so.

It's the same thing with women's (and I assume men's) clothes. That's why clothes shopping takes so long as you have to try on everything before you buy.

Now all I need to do is take the Boys with me to the tack store and try on their blankets before I buy them. Uh-huh.


  1. I have that same difficulty when I turn out in the morning if an abrupt weather change is expected - what to wear? (Not a problem today with wind chills at or below zero!) We do leave the horses out in thunderstorms - there certainly is a risk with lightening in our open terrain but getting the horses in takes a good amount of time and puts people at risk, and the storms usually blow through quickly. We do our best to get the horses in if severe weather is coming, and we get a good bit of that in the spring and early summer.

  2. Oh - and I forgot to say - I also have 3 horses that wear the same size blanket - Lily (stout, 16 hands, short-coupled), Noble (15.1 at best, very long body and slender) and Maisie (16.2, warmbloody in build) all wear 78s, although I'll bet Lil has fattened up some in retirement. Dawn, our little, short-coupled, somewhat stocky QH impersonator (TB, 15.2) wears a 72).

  3. So difficult to pick the right colour too - mustn't clash with a chestnut, can't have pink on a boy, bog standard blue is too dull .....

    Happy New Year Jean.