Saturday 11 January 2020

Muddy Pony Party!

The west coast mid winter struggle is well and truly here. There has been so much rain for so long. Then it snowed and melted. The ground is completely saturated and there is standing water everywhere there isn't mud. The outdoor arena is in a forested area and actually covered with snow, so it's unusable too. It's against the rules to longe in the indoor, so this week I've been at a bit of a loss as far as letting Sophie have the good run and buck she's desperately wanting.

Bonus extra hairy llama impression

As for riding, that's also out because Sophie has some lovely skin funk between her front legs and up to her girth area, I think because she insists on laying in the muddiest corner of her paddock rather than her dry stall. Her blanket saves most of her, but her belly is perpetually filthy. I'm going to clip the worst of the yak hair off so I can put something on it. Wish me luck, she's so ticklish and fussy there it's going to be an adventure :) Note to self: Next year pony is getting clipped!

Currently failing every standard of proper pony turnout, ever. So much mud, so much hair.
How is it that my hairy Welsh Cob is substantially LESS hairy than my "fancy" Sophie pony?

If only we could send some of this moisture to those who need it. In light of what's going on in Australia, I'm pretty grateful mud and some related pony skin funk is my biggest weather worry.

In the spirit of being grateful and making the best of things,  I organized an impromptu pony party today. Sophie's sacrifice paddock was entirely ankle deep in mud and standing water today , but Bridget's is still holding up really well. Bridget also has access to a small grassy area in the trees that I've been saving for a day like this, so it hasn't been used since fall. I opened that gate, then brought Sophie over for to a day to play and dry out.

Spoiler alert: Sophie was excited.

It's a win/win because they both get exercise and Sophie gets some ettiquite reminders courtesy of Aunty Bridget. You might remember me mentioning a bored Sophie is a bad Sophie and one of her favorite things when bored is to kick the fence between her and Bridget and generally make nasty mare faces in her direction.

I was surprised that when put in with Bridget, she took that to the next level and immediately went on the offensive. They're obviously neighbours, are ridden together often, and have lived together before, so I thought they had things figured out. I guess they had enough time apart things needed sorting again, or maybe S had got a little too confident being a bully on her side of the fence. One of Bridget's many awesome attributes is that she's firm in her boundaries without being unfair, so S got a wake up call quite quickly and was put in her place quietly and effectively.

Trying to act tough

After that, it was game on, and they had a great time playing, napping, and grooming each other for a few hours this afternoon.  They absolutely trashed the small field and Bridget's paddock is looking a lot worse for wear too but they had so much fun running and playing and generally being silly. It was well worth it.

Part of me wishes it could be a regular thing, but the winter sacrifice paddocks don't have shelters big enough for two, plus Sophie gets stupidly herdbound and Bridget gets tired of it. Fingers crossed, maybe we'll get a week or two of drier weather soon and they can go back out into one of the bigger fields.

Maybe one day if I have a bigger space and room for three or more out together. I'd like them to have group turnout, but for now the best I can do in winter is to give them the odd pony party together :)


  1. I hear you with the mud. It’s awful here! We had a dry summer through September, then so much rain since October. It’s been pretty bad since November/December. Yesterday and today it warmed up to spring temps so I pulled blankets. But I have standing water and it’s gross. I need to fence off the woods sir spring to let everything else rest. I relented like you and let them out to destroy the remains of the grass yesterday and they can do that today—they just need to stretch their legs. But, really everything looks awful. I’m hoping I can get fencing up for April in the woods so I can rest and reseed...

    1. Where I board there are lots of small fenced paddock areas rather than one big pasture. They do what you're thinking of and it works well - last winter Bridget's winter paddock was literally ankle deep in mud throughout the whole thing. It got flattened and reseeded last spring and this winter it is only just starting to get a bit of mud and she's been living in there since October (it's where they are playing in the above pictures). The grass always comes back with minimal effort and time with the horses off it. They're going to get Sophie set up with the same system this spring. It just feels like spring is forever far away right now! :)

  2. Two days ago I had to strap on snowshoes to walk the dogs. Now the snow is gone and it’s pouring.

    1. Ughh, snow melt plus extra rain is the worst.

  3. Muddy as hell here as well as at Remus's barn he is at now. It is disgusting how much rain we got. The only thing is we haven't had it too cold which is good but damn I almost wouldnt mind a freeze about now!

    PS Sophie is stunning even dirty :)

    1. We're barely at freezing today, so I'm actually crossing fingers it will get a little colder and the mud will at least be frozen for a day or two.
      Poor Sophie really missed the owner jackpot with me...she should be in a fancy barn somewhere in Florida and here she is being a mud yak in rural BC. Next year I am clipping her (and getting another truck of gravel brought in) Just looking at the pictures and how much mud and dirt that coat is holding is making me twitchy :)

  4. Silly girls, haha!

    I am so jealous of your green grass (altho I think now you have snow??).

    1. It just started snowing and sticking here this morning! I thought we were going to get lucky since it's already snowed a lot all around us and was forecasted to slow down today but it seems our turn has come. Also, OMG with the cold up there! I hope you have lots of warm clothes!

  5. In this case I’m glad for the cold because at least there’s no mud. It is cold and snowy here which comes with its own problems though! I always love your pictures and these are gorgeous. Sophie’s got some moves :)

  6. omgosh those are SASSY PONIES!!! but yea ugh i feel ya on the mud..... it's EVERYWHERE, ugh...

  7. Some people pay top dollar for mud therapy!

  8. We need to have a muddy pony photo contest. Sophie does very well: ) We had the warmest December in recorded history in Germany, meaning simply endless RAIN. I don't mind rain, it reminds me of home, but this is ridiculous.

    Our pasture consists of two hills with a crevice in the middle. In wet times a natural spring feeds it with water. It is flowing strongly now. The thing is, the hillsides are so saturated (oversaturated?) that there are hoof-pocks of water despite being on a 30 degree incline. How is that possible? And something I never experienced in Seattle - when I walk around my pasture, I hear some sort of percolating going on around me. A few meters around me the earth has to readjust to my weight and the water gurgles around. It's a trip.

    My horse is just nasty, my husband even noticed. "Hi filthy horse." I answered, "Glad you noticed."

    I could use a freeze, just for hope, is my horse's mane ever going to be white again?

    Meanwhile, our car ice scraper is just sitting idly week after week. And my frost-free water bucket has no job to do.