The threat of it hangs over us like a cloud. So far we have had some very near misses in terms of really bad weather. My hometown, just two hours southeast (believe it or not but at a much higher elevation) has gotten slammed pretty good at least twice. Here, we all keep holding our breath, trying to play hit and miss with rain and mud and temps. Just because it hasn't snowed significantly doesn't mean it hasn't been miserable, wet and sloppy.
Everything is more complicated in the winter and keeping a horse is no exception. It is next to impossible to keep them clean, anything in terms of supplies that could freeze need taken home unless you have a heated tack room (which we don't), there are the frozen water buckets, the ice in general and the question of to blanket or not to blanket. Thankfully, Takoda has never been blanketed and he gets a nice, fuzzy beast coat in the winter so that question for us is mostly not an issue.
Then there is the training/exercise question. I am NOT a fan of winter riding. Well, unless it is above 45 degrees LOL. The day that I went to visit Koda last winter it was a very odd day that climbed into the low 50s and there had been a storm the week before so still some snow in the fields. What fun it was to tromp through the snow on a sunny day! But, alas, winter gives you few days like that one in reality....
Still, we have been plugging along, doing some groundwork when the weather will cooperate, riding when the stars are aligned.
See, the other bugger during our winters at my barn is that the turn-out schedule changes over to where all horses come in at night and go out into the field during the day. The barn schedule follows the light (or lack thereof) and the footing. So, in the spring/summer/fall the horses are in the field a good 15 to 18 hours a day. They only come to their stalls in the mornings to get fed and then generally by Noon or so go back out to sweet freedom! In the winter they go out in the mornings after breakfast and come back in before dusk, which right now is around 4:30. It sucks for riders because your horse is out when it is daylight and although you could ask they he stay in, you really hate to because then he misses what little "horse" time he has per day. Takoda HATES being inside. He was never stalled before I got him and last winter we just caught the tail-end of the winter schedule. So, he does all the naughty things that horses do when they get bored. I have toys for him in his stall. A hanging ball to knock around, a beach ball to paw at, a salt lick to play with.... But, he is pretty much a hot mess right now in terms of his brain. This horse NEEDS stimulation! His wheels are always spinning and when you aren't pointing them in the right direction he just gets like a little pinball.
The all mighty almanac tells us that in mid to late January we will be blessed with the winter we all dread. I only hope my horse still has a working brain come spring!
In Loving Memory
...of the first horse to hold my heart