Sunday, December 22, 2013

White knuckling in the winter woods

Harley had not been worked in about a week. Our farrier was due to come Sunday, so I pleaded with John that we get in a ride between or before the rain showers. All the horses are feeling good, and downright sassy! Note Harley leading the charge down into the field.

A wet, fuzzy guy
Saturday dawned cloudy with threatening skies, but the rain held off enough for us to get chores done as well as some last-minute grocery shopping before Christmas. By the time we arrived back at the barn, dusk was closing in on us. Mind you, this was on the Solstice, so those precious daylight minutes were fast disappearing.

Logging work has begun at the end of Thurrell Rd. where a new house lot is being cleared. We could hear chainsaws and chippers not too far away. This had Harley prancing down the street, just looking for something to invoke a spook. But I was ready--sitting up, feet out front, ready for a whirl. Without Rolex leading, we probably would have spun for home. Our next obstacle was the snowbank by the road, but both negotiated it with ease, better than last year. My fuzzy friend was a handful and I asked John to please keep our trots under control as I could feel Harley pulling on my hands. John said, "Bridge your reins!"

The fast girl--Ruffy!
We rode a loop out through the woods behind Skinner's, and across the brook towards Jepson. The fast-fading daylight had me a little concerned since we had some road riding at the end of the ride. Rolex made the decision to take a short cut (almost the right way) that would take us back to the old quarry and behind Hank and Lili's property. Riding up between the granite cut, we saw signs of porcupines where they'd scuttled out from their rock den. Something spooked the horses in the woods, quite possibly deer. Back on the trail behind Skinner's, Harley jogged along, nice and sweaty along his neck and shoulders. Good thing I had the cooler ready and waiting.

The days will be getting longer now--each minute promising a bit more daylight as we inch along through winter. A snowy winter promises clean horses as they take their snow baths each morning, starting the day with a nice roll. They all seem happy and healthy so I won't complain, except when we get freezing rain and the icy footing.

Today began with steady rain--I could hear it pattering in the gutter. So I wasn't in a tremendous rush to turn the horses out. But I knew Rolex would be anxious to get going, so I didn't dally too long. The rain seemed to come and go and a cold breeze blew across the fields. I decided to put on the rain sheets while I cleaned stalls and waited for our farrier, St. Butch. Rolex had a hissy fit, kicking and shaking her head while I blanketed Ruffy, as if to say, "Would you hurry up! I want to get out, and I mean now!" She wasn't happy to be turned out second. Then Butch called to cancel. He had freezing rain up his way. So I decided to take my time and draw out my hours as long as possible, keeping an eye on the weather and the horses. Rolex has decided to make a toy of our shelter and torn a big hole in one side--she wanted a window. I witnessed her sticking her nose in said hole yesterday! Everyone was happy to eat hay, although Vance got pushy and began to swing his hind end around to hog the hay for himself. We tried to provide enough options for everyone, but it's always a game of musical horses as they move from one source to another, driven by whoever is vying for king of the herd position.

After I got the stalls done and the lunchtime mash made up, I decided to treat myself to a hot chocolate down at Dunkin' Donuts and to check out the logging operation down the road.

By the time I returned to the barn, the rain had picked up with an added bit of icy patter and the wind had moved into the northwest. The gang seemed happy to come up when I whistled, ready to come in out of the elements. With only about and hour and a half of daylight remaining, I figured they could come in for the night and I wouldn't need to take a slippery ride back in the dark on icy roads.

With the horses snug inside with steaming mush and lots of hay, I headed for home, the wood stove, and a cup of tea.

1 comment:

  1. An early night sounds like the right idea!


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