|Ruffy begging for carrots|
John and I drove out to the barn early on Monday. The mercury hovered in the single digits. At my last look, the thermometer read 2 F. Yowza--that's cold! And of course I wheedled John about putting blankets on the ponies. He reassured me, yet again, that they would be fine with hay to eat. I'm trying to break myself of the blanket habit, except when truly necessary.
When we got Harley, he was underweight and needed blanketing since he didn't have the fat reserves. The same held true when we acquired the mares. You can see how it's hard for me to say "no blanket" when the snow squeaks with cold, the icy night sky shimmers with stars, and the horses' breath steams over their warm buckets of mash. I constantly run my hands over Harley's plush sides, making sure he's holding his weight. John has come up with the perfect recipe for happy horses: beet pulp, rice bran, flax seed and corn oil, all stirred together with hot water into a thick porridge. The horses enjoy their mash more than their grain. And we top the meal off with bulging hay bags.
|Harley waiting for breakfast|
This time of year, many posts on blogs talk about the need (or not) to blanket horses. I guess if I look at the bright side; no blankets means less laundry, less chance of an accident with the straps, and definitely a happier Ruffy! She hates the static electricity, poor girl. I just have to remind myself that Dale Simanton's Gate to Great OTTB's are running around in South Dakota without blankets and it's certainly much colder in his neck of the woods!
As we approach the winter solstice, I'm looking forward to the lengthening days. Getting up in the dark, coming home in the dark, and no riding in between makes for grim days. I get in my morning sled ride down the hill, delivering hay, but aside from shoveling, that's about all the snow play I've had thus far.
Here's a silly picture of me after my sled ride and mucking stalls. It was so cold my face felt like it was about to crack! You can see all the frosty condensation around my hood. Brrrrr!