Wednesday, January 14, 2009

How Cold Is It?

These are the kind of days that try horse-owners’ souls. The temperature has been dropping since I got up this morning. We’re at 11F degrees at noon, going further down over the next two days with a little more snow thrown in to make it even more fun. The weather forecasters say it will warm up on Saturday into the "upper lower digits". Are they trying to be gentle and hide the truth from us about how insanely cold that is?

I shouldn’t complain. I know that some of my friends, like Callie at Midwest Horse, have it even worse. The biggest worry that I have is keeping the horses warm enough through the night. I hate going out to the barn at 9 or 10 pm. I’ve been getting away with throwing some extra hay and filling the heated water buckets around 7, which means they have to make that hay last for almost 12 hours. For the next couple of nights, when they are predicting extreme cold, I will bundle up right before I go to bed and bring them some late night flakes.

This is the time of year when Siete is really full of beans. She can’t run around because there’s a good layer of ice on the snow. Fortunately, she seems to have sense enough not to try it and fall down like she did the first year that we lived here. So, she amuses herself by stealing her mother’s hay and just generally being a punk. When I lead her into the barn from the pasture, she’s been trying to race inside to get to her feed bucket. Instead of turning it into a battle, I decided to try something that LJB at the Horsey Therapist suggested. She told me to change the pattern and do something different.

I forgot to empty the water bucket in the corral before it froze solid, so I decided the other day to put Siete’s lunch in a small bucket inside the bigger bucket. When I led her into the corral, instead of heading towards her stall, we went over to the bucket. Each day, I keep mixing it up, so she doesn’t know where the food will be when I bring her in from the pasture. She’s being very polite and well behaved now.

Meanwhile, Silk stands at the gate, ground-tied with a lead rope, and watches us. She’s usually totally calm about waiting, but today, it was incredibly cold and she just wanted me to stop messing around with Siete. She started digging a hole to China in the snow with her front hoof. I apologized for the delay, and after I offered her an extra carrot, she forgave me because she’s the perfect horse.


the7msn said...

Good grief...will this weather ever give you a break?! Now repeat after me...I will not bring my horses into the house...I will not bring my horses into the house.

billie said...

Stay warm!

It would be wonderful if my small mesh hay bags got here before the end of the week so I could pack them up for the night-time munching and thus ensure they have hay through the night!

As it is, though, since I discovered that by midnight or so the geldings have hoovered through their mangers full, I am putting piles up and down the paddock (when it's dry) to keep them moving and munching. I'm a night owl in a house full of night owls, too, so if needed, we can take turns going out to put more hay in. :)

How appropriate - word verif is glisse! LOL.

Victoria Cummings said...

Linda - I confess that is my dream, to have a barn attached to my house. No one else here has that dream. Some people think the whole place would smell like horses. And what's wrong with that, I ask.

Billie - I do the small piles too to keep the girls moving. I'm interested to know how your new hay bags work. If you like them, I'll get some. With this cold, my horses gobble everything up as soon as I put it in the stalls.

billie said...

Victoria, I'll let you know. They were quite inexpensive - about $10. each with shipping - and based on what I've read, they are good for easy keepers, bored horses, and IR horses who need to munch/salivate but can't take the free choice access.

I've also read recently about folks buying used (or even new) tennis nets and turning them into slow feeders.

I'm with you on house connected to barn. :)

Grey Horse Matters said...

I'm getting a little tired of this weather myself. It seems all the horses are bored at our place too and can't keep themselves from getting into mischief.
The Spring can't come too quickly for me, enough is enough.
Hang in there and bundle up.

Lori Skoog said...

Hey Victoria ( I mean Virginia )....This morning it was
-2 here. No break until Saturday. The horses are bundled up and I am feeding more hay too. Look at it this way, at least they have us and shelter...In the long haul they are worth the extra effort.

Laughing Orca Ranch said...

Brrr! You guys are really getting hit by the cold freeze this year, eh?

Last year we had it, and the temps remained below zero for more than a week, causing the water pipes going up to the barn to freeze then burst. What a mess.

Silk is the perfect horse. And she's also adorably cute :)
Good for you in thinking up ways to keep Siete on her toes, too.

Stay warm and safe, Victoria!


detroit dog said...

Silk is perfect.

It's 8 degrees here now, and I'm supposed to be out the door already on my way somewhere. What was I thinking. I'm freezing just sitting here at the computer. I am sending warm "vibes" to your horses, and to you.

At least we don't live in Fargo, ND. They are experiencing -45. ugh.

Pony Girl said...

Wow, it is COLD there! Even when we had it cold, it wasn't THAT cold. I have never really been in temps like you are experiencing. I can't imagine! I always associate your blog with winter, because when I first started reading it, it was wintertime and you were sharing pictures and stories of the cold! I think I was lucky to get to do any snow posts at all this year, LOL!
Your mares look cozy in their blankets! And I love the idea of changing a horse's pattern, that is what it is all about! I have been using that approach with My Boy's catching/haltering issue.

John and Regina Zdravich said...

Here in Northwest Indiana we are getting the same weather. My horses do pretty good in this extreme cold, but I worry about the goats. They are prone to pnumonia, so the vet tells me. It does take more diligence this time of year.....

deejbrown said...

Bring the horses into the house. Attaching the barn then, would seem the eager alternative!

Esther Garvi said...

You poor things! I wish I could send some Nigerien heat over to you! Wouldn't it be great if we could take from warm season and just deliver at your place right now and smooth things out???
Warm hugs to Silk & Siete!
Silk really is the perfect horse. Arwen would do the same thing. Dig a tunnel to China while waiting for her turn, then forgive when offered a few sugar cubes...
Warm greetings from Africa!

Callie said...

Our weather is supposed to be at it's worst tonight and then it begins to warm up to 20's by saturday and then the 30's throughout the rest of the week. The extra straw has helped in a huge way. I cought Miss Kola napping in it twice today. They sun helps too. We just really have to get through tonight, even by tomorrow afternoon, we'll out of the negs. Good luck!

meadowforkprimitives said...

I am sitting by my woodburner freezing. My poor mare...she's boarded at a stable and I stopped by there today quickly just to see how she's doing. She seemed fine and warm enough, but was looking longingly out her stall window when I arrived. That got closed quickly before I left.

Our temps are supposed to bottom out at around 12 below zero tonight. Tomorrow we will have a heat wave of 27 degrees. Can't believe that I'm looking forward to that!!

Come on spring!!!

Breathe said...

Is it any stranger to have your garage attached to your house? I mean it's a similar concept.

I send you mental warmth from Texas...