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.