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Snow Horses

Photo by Paul Atkinson

It’s been acting a lot like winter here in Kentucky. Huge flakes of snow have made their way to the ground and are clinging to everything.  The Sycamore trees are no longer trying to fool us with their white trimmed branches standing up against the dark cedars along the river’s edge. Everything is wearing a soft coat of white.

The waterers are frozen out in the east pasture. The big blue floats are freezing around the edges which are stopping the horses from pushing them down into the tank so they can get a drink. A big hammer and thick gloves are needed to bash the ice out and get the water flowing for the horses. Oh winter’s sharp edge.

After breaking the ice, we made a trip into Versailles to get provisions, ship a box and overnight an important letter. Roads were okay or we wouldn’t have risked the trip. We stopped at the feed store in town that supplies feed for the thoroughbred farms in the area.  I chose their formulations because they buy their grain from known suppliers, not on the open market.  That way we know where the grains come from in all their feed bags.

I have four horses on the farm whose needs are different; fat, old and needs to be rehabilitated.  I consulted with their PhD in feedstuffs (he has the job the fellow that built our houses had for many years).  He told me what I needed to know so I can maintain the weight of the Saddlebred mare, gain weight on the Hanoverian mare, and keep the two easy keepers with the proper nutrients.

Pretty soon the VW Passat was loaded with grain and dog food. Off we went back to the farm. Quietly snowing as we topped the hill before the east pasture, I called to the horses and they came trotting up to the feeding station. The two Quarter horses were at the same pace, but the Saddlebred, head up and sporting her Malawi type ears, was at the front of the pack looking for me. She’s so uniquely beautiful.

My neighbor brought over a fresh roll bale of grass hay for each pasture.  Eric installed the tank heater for the tank near the house to keep the water warm enough to keep the ice out.  Tomorrow we’ll be able to move the Saddlebred and Hanoverian to their new digs. If the waterers in the east pasture continue to be a problem, we’ll move everybody.

This is the second winter I’ve had horses out 24/7. I’m still not comfortable with it. I can’t quite get over the idea of them warmly tucked into a stall munching hay. We now know that’s not the most favorable place for a horse.

I’ll be enclosing two of the stalls on each end of the run in shed. Saw a shed on the way back from the store that used a better method of enclosure. It never occurred to me before. Face the stall door openings to the center two stalls. Put a window in the front.  That way there’s air circulation but not a drafty stall for the horse inside. I liked the solution.

Hope everyone stays warm tonight, brrrrrrr!!!!