It’s been a warm winter so far. Not much snow to speak of, especially when you consider that two years ago there were about three feet of snow on the ground right about now.
When I left for the barn this morning to meet my farrier, there was no snow. The forecast was for snow in the afternoon. Imagine that, the forecast was wrong. Luckily the snow didn’t start right away as it gave me the chance to retrieve the two front shoes that Freedom had helpfully removed in anticipation of getting new ones.
However, in the three hours I was at the barn it snowed heavily. It was beautiful.
Tomorrow it’s going to be 56 degrees. Hard to imagine! Just one day of winter this week.
Zelda’s pasture is right next to an access road that leads into a popular trail system and at this time of year — with no leaves on the trees — the horses are very exposed. And, apparently, inviting. Please note that I have put signs up asking people not to feed or touch the horses and that they have to walk off the trail system to lean over the fence.
Judging by Zelda’s behavior, some of the walkers have been offering treats. How do I know? Because either Zelda is practicing for a new career as a Walmart greeter, or she expects that these walkers are the human equivalents of Pez dispensers.
It’s hard to resist Zelda when she’s in her endearing, feed me mode. But I wish that people would. In fact, watching the general public interact with the horses has given me new respect for private property . . . and the potential liability if people don’t keep on their side of the fence. And I’m not just worried about the horses. God only knows what people are feeding them, and I bet they won’t be around to ‘fess up to the damage if one of them chokes or gets sick.
A few recent examples:
Frequently, dogs come into the pasture. Sometimes, but not always, unaccompanied by humans. Mostly, they ignore the horses, but the potential for damage (of either dog or horse) is certainly a distinct possibility. One time I asked the walker to keep her dog on a leash if she couldn’t keep it out of the pasture. She told me she “didn’t need to leash her dog” until she got to the road. Wrong.
Then there’s the mother who dangled her baby over the electric fence so the child could see the horses. I guess that mother has no imagination because it would take just one swing of Zelda’s head to send them flying like bowling pins. Folks, this is not a petting zoo!
Even people who should know better . . . don’t. Last week I was fixing some fencing and I saw a man walk up to the fence line. “Please don’t touch the horses,” I asked. “I’m just trying to be friendly,” he answered. “I have horses.” Great, so go touch your own horses. No, I didn’t say that. Instead, I explained that every time people see someone patting and/or feeding the horses, they think it’s okay. And those people may not know how to behave. Unimpressed, he stalked off.
Finally, I came up with a solution. Not to the dogs, but I hope to the people. I’ve put up new fencing to keep the people out!
After a week of cooler weather, we are back to more typical August temperatures. These are beautiful summer days and I will treasure the memory of them all winter. But they are a bit hot for riding.
I love this video of a horse smart enough to create his own spa experience!
My horses, alas, have to depend upon the kindness of humans to hose them down and cool them off. Freedom, in particular, loves to get sprayed. Zelda? Not so much. She nipped me one of the last times I hosed her down, although I think she does appreciate the temporary relief.
Then, they like to roll so that they emerge covered with a thick crust of mud and dirt, which I imagine works better than most commercial sprays to deter the bugs.
My horses spend most of the days in their run-in shed, and then venture out in the cooler overnight hours.
How do your horses beat the summer heat?
We have goldfish in our water tank. Five of them.
Originally, we added the goldfish when we had the large, 200 gallon tank, because they do a tremendous job of eating mosquito larvae. Right now we have only the 70 gallon tank, but we’ve become attached to them.
The goldfish are pretty hardy. They generally winter well and live for a year or more (we heat the tank in the winter).
The funny thing is that they swim right up to the horses’ mouths when they drink. They must enjoy the small amounts of food that are dropped in on the horses’ whiskers.
Certainly, they don’t bother the horses one bit!
At my old barn, we had lots and lots of shelves. As with most things, the more space I had, the more I spread out.
At the new barn, storage space is not quite so spacious. And my things need to be contained. I’m probably the last equestrian on the face of the earth who didn’t own a tack trunk, but it was time.
So I looked at the Dover and SmartPak websites and realized that when you call a tool chest a tack trunk, it immediately triples
(or quadruples) in price. I need a place to store stuff in a barn, not buy furniture for my house!
In the spring my husband bought me a tool chest for my trailer that was perfect — large enough to hold assorted bridles, girths, saddle pads, extra boots, and more; waterproof, easy to close, mouse-proof (closes tightly), and it even has a small tray, and a pull out handle and wheels, so it’s easy to move.
Of course they didn’t have the same model at Home Depot this time, but this Husky Mobile Job Box really does the trick. For a mere $64, too!