Saturday, January 21, 2012

Well, It's Finally Here

Winter, That Is

We have several inches of snow on the ground. But that would not be too bad. The "bad" is that it is already starting to rain on top of that and the rain is mixed with sleet, so we may be in for a coating of ice.

Ice is not good. My biggest worry is the Boys. If the footing gets dangerous with ice, I will have to keep them in the barn until things thaw. This happened a few years ago just before Christmas and the Boys were in for three days or so.  We also had bad ice one year when I was boarding out and that was dreadful. I finally made a path all the way to the indoor arena by lugging buckets of extra sand from the arena.  It was a long haul, but at least the horses were able to get out for a while to stretch their legs.

Here, I have no option like that. It's either in or out.  So right now it's just a matter of wait and see.

I also need to make a decision about whether or not to plow the driveway. Once before, I let the snow sit and it froze over and all I had was a mess of ice for at least a week.

On the plus side, it's supposed to go up to 53 F on Monday, so there is a good chance the worst of whatever falls will melt quickly.  Tonight is the bad one as it's predicted to be around 18F, so frozen is definitely the norm.  Tomorrow, it may go up to 36F or so, and if there is sunshine, that's good too.

Ah, well. My other problem is that I will be doing some substitute teaching next week so I will not always be here to monitor the Boys or see to their needs. I'll just have to see how the whole thing plays out. For now, all is well.

The Boys are fed and have hay to keep them content.

But, all three of them were coated in snow and little icicles when I went out to feed. As usual, instead of sheltering during the little storm, they had been standing outside somewhere.  They are all dressed in their winter blankets, so that's not a problem except for their icicled manes and wet necks. You'd think they'd take advantage of all the roof options they have--three run-in shed roofs and the barn itself.

One of my former trainers said when the weather is bad, horses actually want to be outside because the noise of wind and rain falling on the barn roofs upset them and they needed to be out where they could see what was going on. I suspect a part of that is true.  As prey animals, horses would not want to be trapped if there was danger about. They would want to be free to run. As well, when it snows, in particular, visibility is limited and being out gives them a wider range of vision to see any predators that may try to take advantage of the weather's cover.

Could be.

The Boys too tend to take shelter when it rains--at least some of the time. I suppose I need to monitor exactly what kind of rain brings them in and what kind of rain keeps them out as there have been many times I've seen them standing outside as well.

It's all just another one of those mysteries of horse behavior we simple humans cannot fathom.


  1. We've got the cold and snow too. It's stopped for now, hope we don't get the freezing rain. Ice is always bad. The good part is the weather should warm up quickly and it will melt.

    Can't figure out why they don't take cover in bad weather either. Ours have icicles hanging off them too. They did all try to squeeze into the shed for a while but then came out to eat hay. Maybe to keep there furnaces burning and be warm.

  2. I've given up trying to figure out their motivations. I provide the shelter, they can use it or not as they see fit.

    It does make me giggle when I hear people moaning about the "poor horses they saw standing out in the weather", though. The horses prefer it out in the weather!

    Hopefully Monday will bring warmer temps and rain to melt all this mess!