Snowpocalypse 2015


I really spooked the horses when I showed up wearing snowshoes. There was lots of snorting and wild eyed stares!

While we didn’t get quite as much snow as predicted — forecasters were making noise about 2-3 feet. We sure got plenty! We woke up to about 18″ of snow this morning and got another 2-3″ throughout the day. I live about a mile from the barn by road and about half a mile if you go cross country on the trail system.

Hindering my progress to the barn this morning was the driving ban. No cars are allowed on the roads unless you have a sanctioned purpose. I waited for the highly anticipated noon press conference by the Governor, but no luck. Then I hoped that if I called the police station they would sanction the short drive, especially give we have a 4WD truck. But no, there was no leeway there. I explained I had to feed horses, that they were waiting for me. But there was no sympathy. I asked if they would send an emergency vehicle to rescue me if I walked over and became incapacitated. They said they would, so I headed out.

Normally the barn is about a fifteen minute walk from my house. It took me about 45 minutes to slog my way over. Luckily road up to the trailhead was plowed, so I had only the “short” stretch through the woods to get there. I’m not sure my snowshoes helped much: the snow was so fluffy and light that I sank all the way through. And that necessitated many stops along the way to catch my breath, unzip my jacket because I was overheating. Zip up my jacket because I was cold, etc. Good news? I had a helluva workout!

Freedom covered with ice and snow

Freedom was covered with ice and snow. It didn’t bother him at all!

When I got to the barn the horses were fine. Snow? Cold? Doesn’t bother them. Freedom was literally dripping with ice and snow, and was oblivious to it.

Of course, they were terrified of me because I was wearing snowshoes — apparently they turn me into a fire breathing dragon — but the promise of food got them over it. Since it was likely to be there only food-delivery visit today, I left them with plenty of hay and a few candy canes.

Path thru the woods

The path through the woods toward home. It’s usually a short walk, but it seemed very long today

The walk back was better. I’d packed the snow down pretty effectively and didn’t have to stop so much on the way back. The best part was when I got to the road. My husband had brought the snowblower to the end of the street and created a path through the huge snowbank left by the plow. I was so tired by then, and so not looking forward to climbing through/over it again. The last five minutes of the walk were a breeze!

Thank goodness the travel ban will be lifted at midnight tonight. Another day without being able to drive would really try my patience.

Bad luck comes in threes?

Freedom's laceration should have healed more . . . it's in a bad place. Hard to keep clean, hard to keep him still.

Freedom’s laceration should have healed more . . . it’s in a bad place. Hard to keep clean, hard to keep him still.

It was one of those weeks where I felt like I spoke to my vet more than my friends! I like my vet, but mostly I want to see her twice a year for shots. I’ve now seen her three times in the past month, so I’m hoping that my spell of bad luck is over.

Freedom’s heel bulb laceration isn’t healing well. It’s in a prime location to develop proud flesh and to promote healing, she needed to cut away the excessive granulation tissue. It was not fun. Even with his foot blocked, the only way to keep him still was with a lip chain. When it was done, it looked like a small animal had died in the aisle — there was a lot of blood.

To add insult to injury, he’s also developed scratches on that foot.

I guess the good news is that he’s sound on the foot and not particularly bothered by it. Still, it’s going to take a long time to heal. I am armed with saline wash, a treatment for the granulation tissue and enough sterile pads and bandages to treat an army.

That was Thursday. Fast forward to yesterday morning.

When I went to feed in the morning, he was clearly not himself. He refused to eat. He was lethargic. he was yawning excessively and rocking his lower jaw. He was colicky.

Thank goodness we keep Banamine on hand at the barn. I dosed him in the morning and at my vet’s advice, also syringed a cup of Milk of Magnesia down his throat. Two hours later he was looking brighter and moving around. He’d passed manure and was looking hungry — and mad that he was not allowed food until the evening. Banamine is really a wonderful drug.

By dinner time, he was back to his normal self and guarding his food from Willow. He got another dose of Banamine as a preventative, but if you hadn’t seen him in the morning, you wouldn’t know he’d been feeling so sick.

At 10 p.m. he was still chowing down on his hay (provided in a small hole net to make it last longer).

Of course this happened during our first real snowstorm of the year when the roads were nasty and most everything was closed. That’s a rule, isn’t it?


Warming from the inside

soaked cubes

Soaked cubes are part of my horses’ winter diet. I like feeding the extra forage and the more water.

Blankets are one way to keep your horse warm during the winter, but you can also help your horse generate his own heat by feeding him more forage.

We feed a lot of hay. Much more than my horses ever got at commercial boarding facilities. Long stem forage is good for a horse’s digestion and the digestive process also generates heat. So, the colder it becomes, the more forage you should offer your horse.

According to the North Dakota State University Agricultural Communication,

Cold temperatures also change the daily feeding requirement. The lower critical temperature for horses with a heavy winter coat during dry, calm weather is 30 F. For each 10-degree change below 30 degrees, horses require an additional intake of approximately 2 pounds of feed per day (assuming the feed has an energy density of 1 megacalorie per pound, which is typical for most hay).

A 10- to 15-mph wind will require horses to consume an additional 4 to 8 pounds of hay to meet their increased energy requirements. When a horse without shelter becomes wet and encounters wind, it must consume an additional 10 to 14 pounds of hay.

That’s a lot of hay! One of the ways that I feed hay in the winter is by using soaked hay cubes. I feed 50/50 Timothy Alfalfa cubes, adding 2-3 pounds soaked. Freedom gets his twice a day; Zelda just at dinner. This adds more forage to the diet (without as much volume), cuts down on waste,and also helps keep them hydrated.

Note: while it’s not absolutely essential to soak hay cubes, I always do to prevent the chance of choke.

Monkey See, Monkey Do

Gotta love herd dynamics. Herd dynamics took on a new twist this morning. As usual, Zelda was the first one out so that she could take possession of “her” hay.

Then she decided that she had to roll and started searching for the perfect spot. She rolled, got up and rolled again.

Andy watched with great interest. You could see the wheels turning.  After she had finished, he lowered himself to the ground with much sighing and groaning (he’s a big horse and older, I can relate to the difficulty).

He’s good at rolling — he went all the way over three times before rising to his feet and shaking.

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Then Curly got into the rolling action. She too had a good long roll.

Who says that horses don’t watch and learn?


Looking for a Special Horse

lazyponyGotta love this woman’s sense of humor!

I am looking for a very very quiet, dead broke small “boring” gelding for my daughter’s first horse. It can be ugly as hell or have a hiccup in it’s walk I don’t care just as long as it takes care of my daughter. Something that almost hates life if it has to do an extended trot.

I want something that sits on the couch in nothing but boxers for 3 days watching Seinfeld reruns covered in Cheetos crumbs and be the happiest thing alive doing it. Perhaps like your lazy ex husband? I want western pleasure useless can’t do anything athletic movement. My daughter is 4 years old and WILL encourage speed and naughty things and scare the you know what out of me!! She is very outgoing and has no problem getting after a lazy horse! She has some riding experience and is ready for something dead quiet to carry her around the arena on her own.

I DO NOT want a “show pony” I do not care about one upping Mrs. Jane Doe and her daughter’s imported Cob welsh section blah blah gypsy vanner, Friesian, dressage world class Westphalia.. Whatever… No. We want old scar face that killed a cougar once in his younger days and now has nothing to prove.

Must load into a trailer. No set price range, I already stated no show ponies so please don’t post any. Don’t post anything that “with a bit of training” No. I want something so lazy it doesn’t “need training” Lol

Found on Facebook!

Ring around the Hay Pile

Zelda hay

Zelda makes it very clear that this is HER hay

Every morning when I turn out Curly, Zelda and Andy they perform a complicated and highly ritualistic dance of power around the flakes of hay (and there are many flakes in many piles).

Freedom and Willow are easy. Freedom is in charge so he eats where he wants. Willow understands this. They are perfect pasture mates because there is no conflict. Ever.

Curly is very obliging. She will always defer, always move off and let another horse eat first.

Andy Hay

Andy tries to eat hay next to her.

Zelda and Andy are still figuring it out. Mostly Zelda. She loves her food and sincerely believes that is should all belong to her. She’s a horse that will stand over her food pan in her stall and stamp her feet if she thinks another horse is dreaming of eating her breakfast.

There’s no true aggression in their hay dance; it’s actually a very clear demonstration about how horses communicate through posturing.

Here’s how it goes:

Zelda and hay

Zelda gets all mad at Andy but ultimately moves off to another pile

Zelda assumes possession of the hay that she wants.

Andy love Zelda so he tries to eat at the hay pile nearest to her.

Zelda responds by pinning her ears, snaking her head and maybe lunging a few steps toward him. Then, she retreats to another pile of hay.

Andy follows her and starts eating next to her again.

Zelda kicks out at the air and gives him the evil eye. She might squeal.

Eating hay

They figure out there is plenty of hay for everyone and settle down to eat. Notice that Curly has kept well out of the fray.

Curly watches the antics from a distance, shakes her head and continues to eat from her own pile of hay.

After three minutes, they all eat quietly.