Monday 15 January 2024

“Winter” Break

 I’m an absolute wimp, because I haven’t ridden at all this past week or so. First we were dealing with incredible amounts of rain and standing water everywhere, plus multiple intense wind storms, then it froze and we have had record setting cold, and likely snow (gasp!) coming mid week. The indoor arena I used to go to on a drop in schedule has expanded their own program and doesn't have a lot of free time available that fits my schedule, so it's been a bit of a no go this year as well. Maybe if I win the lottery I'll build my own, until then I remain at the mercy of the weather.

 The “record setting” cold stretch here is just a few degrees below zero, which is an embarrassing benchmark for shutting down my world compared to basically everyone else in North America right now. I’m so ill equipped for actual winter it’s comical. It feels like a lifetime since I spent a winter on the prairies, like who was that person with a proper winter coat out riding in the snow? Also, whatever happened to that coat? What I wouldn’t give for that coat this week. 

pony winter coat statuses = above average

he's going to be such a handsome guy

Currently needs a bit more imagination to see the handsome grown up pony inside, but I believe in you, Reggie! :)

Every year, we get a few days below freezing here and I have the realization that I could really use hot water at the barn, warmer clothes, heated buckets, (heck, even winter rated windshield washer fluid rather than the summer bug “instant ice creating fluid” I annually spray before regretting the errors of my ways). Those would all be really good things. Where are my gloves? Mittens even, I’d wear those, I should order some. Days are spent making extra trips to break ice in the water troughs and shivering and running back to my truck because I’m weak in the face of actual cold weather. 

riding not helped by some in office days lately, meaning I'm on a ferry at dawn, and home after dark. No free time in the daylight for me!

Then the rain returns, things feel normal again, and I quickly forget all about it. That Amazon order of winter essentials gets put on hold. 

The horses, of course thrive in the dry cold. I’ve elected not to blanket anyone this year and so far that’s working out for me. They’re not as sleek and shiny as they would be if they were consistently blanketed, and they spend far too much time standing out in the weather for my feelings, but they’re all happy. Fingers crossed, no one has lost weight or gained any skin funk so my experiment is a tentative success. 

Neither sleek nor shiny

I’m not anti blanketing, in fact I’m usually pro rainsheet at least. The convenience factor is high and I don’t need to worry about rain scald or the other fun things they pick up here by standing in the rain all day instead of under shelter. Everyone here much prefers being at one with nature, I'm blaming the Welsh breeding for that.

I went back and forth over blanketing the babies this winter - Reggie especially since he looked a bit rough we he got here. So I caved and got a little rainsheet for Reggie to wear when the weather is truly awful. I would still like to see him pick up a little more weight and wearing a blanket feels like horse skills 101, something he should be comfortable with.

Buck was scared of it so of course Reggie took full advantage and chased him

He's already outgrowing it in the two months he's been here

While I'm chatting winter management, the other big change I made this year is that everyone has 24/7 local hay hanging in nets in their stalls. That was previously a recipe for disaster with Bridget so to keep the peace I had to get creative and it felt like a lot of work. Now, with B living her best life on lease, Sophie can have access to all the hay 24/7 without me needing to shuffle everyone around multiple times a day. Jury's out on this working long term for little guys, but so far so good. Longer term, I can see Buck being more of a Bridget type and needing a bit of monitoring so he doesn't get overweight, but Reggie seems like Sophie where he eats what he needs.


The really nice thing for me is that while I still give them the 'nice' hay and their grain and supplements 2x a day, mealtimes are a non event and nobody's upset if I'm a bit random about when I'm actually bringing breakfast or dinner. It's created a way more relaxed feeling around the place and honestly, at least with this crew, they aren't eating any more than I would have expected so it doesn't cost anything extra (this is sadly quite important when the best price for 'cheap' local bales are $20 each and alfalfa is $40 (50lb bales)).

If only I had more grazing

See you next time - who knows, maybe I'll have ridden my horse by then!



  1. It’s the time of year to hunker down. Riding is more of a novelty than business as usual.

    1. I'm definitely the hibernating type right now :)

  2. ugh i'm so tired of the winter precipitation too.... we've had inches upon inches of rain, and now temps are nosediving and it's snowing... bleh! definitely quiet conditions around here too

    1. Yeah, we had one day of snow, but now it's melting and even wetter and muddier than ever here too. Bring us some sunshine!

  3. I'm struggling while dealing with the Winter weather in my area too. January has been a bit of a gut punch so far. No fun at all. Your horses look like they are living their best lives though. Surely Spring will arrive soon?

    1. Hopefully spring is on it's way soon! My ponies have all started shedding a bit, so let's hope!