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It has been particularly wintery here recently. Today is the first day the sun has broken through the fog in what must be at least 4 days. We have had frosty temperatures with highs of about 2 degrees. Safe to say winter is well and truly here and winter horse ownership is beginning to take it’s toll. I’ve also made a few changes this year, and while they are the right choices to be making, they have made things a bit harder.
Lunchtime “bed” time
Usually the person I share a field with is able to start work early and finish work early. Meaning I can turn the horses out in daylight and she can be back to bring in during daylight. Unfortunately this isn’t the case this year and with one of them, not saying any names (Jo Jo,) being particularly silly coming in and out of the field at the moment, we have decided not to do this in the dark and have instead come up with a schedule where we take turns to bring in over our lunch breaks.
This means that Scottie is spending a lot more time in his stable. Which means more, hay and more bedding! While I managed to come up with a great system of only giving Scottie half a bed when he comes in to save a bit of bedding, the amount of hay he has been consuming caused a few problems…
Firstly the hay was costing a small fortune, but also he suddenly ballooned out, developing nice big fat pockets behind his shoulders… Needless to say I have cut back on his hay a bit and have started double netting it to make it last longer. This leads me onto my second point.
Mean rug choices
Scottie has always been a fairly warm horse and has grown a very fluffy coat. Being out of work he hasn’t been clipped so I am trying to be a bit meaner with my rug choices, to help stop him piling on the pounds from the extra time he is spending in the stable without him getting cold. Despite the cold temperatures we have had recently, he has so far coped nicely in a 50g turnout. But his 100g is at the ready for wetter days or if he starts to lose any condition.
I feel like most of the time horse owners are really proactive. We put things in place to prevent issues later on. But winter often gets one over on us.
Since Scottie is currently wearing his EquStreamz bands (review coming soon) 24/7, he has been wearing turnout boots over the top while he is out to stop them getting ruined in the thick mud. This week has been particularly challenging. The mud has been particularly bad, making them wet. It’s so cold that they don’t dry over night and over the past few nights they have even started to freeze rigid, making them harder to put on and meaning they don’t stay done up as well and get mud in the velcro. So I am now facing the prospect of taking them and the bands off for a few days to let them dry off.
Scottie also managed to completely snap one of the clips on his rug, his new rug I might add. He has never done anything like this and I can’t work out how he has done it. My first thought was he clipped himself onto the fence, panicked and snapped it… But the fencing is all still perfect. The rest of the rug is also in perfect condition. I would have thought that anything strong enough to snap the metal would also damage the rug around the fastening. But not even the stitching has moved. I’m left wondering if the cold somehow made the metal weaker… It’s not that cold surely? Luckily a spare clip and some bailing twine and it’s good as new.
How has everyone else been coping with the recent chilly weather?