Sunday, February 14, 2010

Dodging the Snow Bullet

But It's Still Cold

I cannot remember since having the horses home--over ten years--such an extended period of below freezing weather. I judge this by how long I had had to fill the water trough either with buckets or by using the coil hose--now residing in my bathtub. We've had colder weather, with temperatures below 0 F, but this is many more weeks of cold in the 20's.

We may luck out and be missed by the next storm coming across the country. The latest track calls for it to hit north of us with a chance that we will get some rain instead of all snow.

Good and bad, as rain creates ice--far from my favorite kind of footing.

Which leads me to the topic of the day since I will not be riding again. I am quite amazed as to just how much of my life is governed by owning horses, especially now that I have them here at home with me.

For one, weather is definitely not "take it or leave it." I follow the weather forecasts like an addict. Temperatures, precipitation, the comings and goings of storms all are important in ways the outside world could never understand. Will there be mud? Then Tucker has to have restricted turnout. I'll have to fill the second water trough and make sure the interior fence rails are all in place. Will it rain? Do the Boys need waterproof turnouts? Thunder and lightning? Close off the pasture and perhaps put them in the barn. Too dry? Dust in the arena when I ride. Too cold? Frozen footing makes training impossible. The list goes on and on.

Then, there's timing. There's a feeding schedule to keep. I'd rather be home around 4:30 in the aftenoon to feed, so activities that keep me away might be a no-no. When is the feed store open? Will a holiday interfere with being able to get my hay?

And just when do I need to go get a new load of grain or hay? How many bags do I have? Will they hold me over the weekend? Is there enough hay to carry me over in an emergency?

What if the power goes out? Here, my water comes from a well, and the pump needs electricity. I do have a generator for serious outages, but that means I also have to keep tabs on having enough gasoline to run it. All this, not because the house will get cold--I have a gas fireplace--but becuase I have the horses and they need water.

I'm sure people with children have similar worries, but at least you can pack the kids into the car and go someplace until the crisis is over. Not so with horses.

Well, OK, if you have a trailer and a place to go, you can always evacuate. But I have three horses and a two horse trailer. Who'd get left behind?

Don't get me wrong. I love having the horses home. It is, for dozens of reasons, far better than boarding out. But it is also an awesome responsibility. Everytime I read of some person who';s guilty of animal neglect, I simply cannot understand it. Once you put a horse behind a fence, it becomes your job to see that he has enough food and water--seven days a week--to stay healthy and sound. He cannot fend for himself.

That's why when a person speaks of his/her horses or other animals not as pets, but as "children," I totally understand. Like children, they need care, nurturing and protection.

If I need to mold my lifestyle around them, it's fine by me. I don't regret a moment of it.


  1. Your horses better not see this blog or they will know that you only have a two horse trailer. Tie one behind?

    I don't have Tetley at home but I too watch the forecast carefully as I don't have a car and we don't have an indoor. Even if it's dry, if it's below freezing then I can't ride and shouldn't bike.

  2. "I will not be riding again"

    hoping you just meant, whilst this weather is so bad...

  3. Anonymous4:25 PM

    We haven't had a moment above freezing in weeks and weeks too. I know what you mean about the weather - I have NOAA bookmarked and check it constantly, and when we have our bad weather in the spring and early summer, I'm on the radar all the time to see if we've got severe weather coming so we can get the horses in, which takes some doing with our pasture layout. Ours pretty much go out rain or shine, so there's all those blankets to organize too. I don't have to feed every PM, which is a blessing, and our PM barn lady is a good "noticer" - no injury or illness will be missed, but I still seem to end up at the barn every PM anyway.

    I used to have 5 horses and a 4 horse trailer, but now that we've got 3 horses we're all set, although I'm not sure old Noble would much enjoy a trailer ride.

  4. It would not be a stretch to say I spend more time worrying about my horses in bad weather than my child. Like you said, if the power goes out I can pack the kid off to town. The horses are stuck. Especially in this type of snow. I'm much happier having them here to worry over than having them boarded out. Here I can check on them to my neurotic heart's content!

    I do hope this storm decides to detour.

  5. I agree with you completely. Once they're home with us it's our responsibility to take care of them and the weather is a big concern everyday. Wouldn't have it any other way though after boarding for many many years.