I rode Pie at nine o'clock this morning in a blizzard and we had a ball! He was clearly enjoying himself and did not want to go back to the barn when it was time to quit. This is a photo of our tracks. The depth around the path is probably about eleven inches, but this track is compact and easier to walk in for Pie.
We had ten inches on Thursday and another five are expected this morning. The deepness is getting crazy silly, but an amazing thing has happened - my horses can finally move around safely, freely. This enormous batch of snow was actually a welcome to our pastures because it covered up the dangerous ice tundra that was keeping them inside for too many hours a day or completely immobile when they were outside. Now, they are able to frolic and run and play and move!
This morning I was able to ride Pie in a track over to my mom's driveway and back again to the barn driveway, above. We circled many times in each driveway, but he kept wanting to go through the woods and fields. I just didn't think that was such a great idea. He would "dive" off the track into the deep parts and plow through like a snowplow. It felt like my feet were touching the snow! He would have been drenched if I had allowed him to go where he wanted through the fields and around the farm so I made him get back on the shallow (relatively speaking - not actually too shallow) tracks and driveway. But, the best part was how much he wanted to GO! I love when my horse is just as eager as me for a ride. The snow was coming fast and furious and yet I was able to ride him on the buckle. It was sooooo beautiful and I truly felt like I was in a movie (Jeremiah Johnson actually was playing in my mind the whole time - see photo below).
Here is the good boy after our ride munching some hay. And the brothers are below. Last night was the first night in a long time I could leave them outside without fear of them slipping on ice. They were so happy to be out and I was so happy for them! I brought them inside this morning to groom and check them over and I realized I could safely ride! Wow - riding - now that's a novel idea! I was going to ride Foggy, but Pie was so fussy and nervous - lip-flipping and head bobbing with such fury I knew he needed it more than Foggy.
After our ride all three were glad I put them back out - even though the snow was still coming down quickly and it is a windy, vicious white out. But they are tired of being in the barn! I checked their sheds and they are warm and clean and cozy and I always scrub their outside heated water troughs daily so they are steamy and perfect. The only problem is the falling snow covers the hay, but I've seen them dig and nudge and find the fresh so I think outside is where they should be.
As I made my way home through the empty streets I was giddy with the afterglow of riding a sweet horse through a deep snowstorm. I was grinning from ear to ear like a lunatic. I started thinking how annoying I must be to you, my intrepid blog readers if any of you are left. Everyone is (rightly) annoyed with this winter, this weather, and yet I am usually posting about how happy I am and how much fun I am having.
I suppose some clarification is in order. I've mentioned before that I philosophically believe in Pollyanna's Glad Game on many levels, but this is especially true where horses are concerned. I do not ride and take care of horses for money. They are not my livelihood. They are my recreation. I do this for fun and relaxation. Therefore, it seems ridiculous to me to grumble about anything to do with the barn and the horses. They make me feel optimistic, grateful, and glad.
In my regular life, I can bitch and piss and moan with the best of them. Just ask my family. But, the barn, the horses, they are my sanctuary. There, all things are good. Truly. Yes, even this winter.
I am so amazingly fortunate to have three horses at all. Our barn is old and rickety and in need of some TLC but it still is safe enough to give the boys shelter overnight when the ice is too dangerous. The sheds are wonderful and we have good hay and heated water buckets outside that have only stopped working once.
We do not have a skid loader or any farm equipment at all. We have a snow blower but for some reason it doesn't want to shoot the snow. I see the auger turning and it isn't jammed but nothing shoots out. I turn it on and drag it around the farm until my clothes are wet straight through from sweating and my body aches and I realize that was a huge waste time.
I shovel what I can and then drag the wheelbarrows through knee deep snow and ice to get the hay out to the horses. Sometimes the sweat on my hat freezes and there are icicles hanging down all over my head.
And, honestly almost every single day, through the icicles and sweat I start cracking up laughing thinking what I must look like. Seriously, if someone were watching me from the road, from the auto auction, from the sky, from heaven they would say - Who in the world would do all that? The answer is: Someone who is crazy in love with horses and who is incredibly grateful to have the opportunity to do all this, that's who. I am someone who appreciates days like this morning. I am luckier than most people. I ride almost every day of the year.
I remember a hot June day in 2009 unloading 200 bales of hay upstairs in our barn. My dad appeared in the doorway and shook his head with a confused look as he said, "You must really love horses." He is gone, but I think of that all the time now. I do. I. Really. Love. Horses.
We all love something. I love horses and to spend time with them means to be subjected to less than ideal conditions sometimes. I love horses in winter when it is horrid and in summer with the bugs and in lovely spring and in perfect fall. I love the work. I love that we don't have a skid loader, not because I am a masochist but if I wasn't dragging the wheelbarrows through the deep snow my ass would be so big and wide from sitting around inside eating that I would be a poor rider and have to join a gym.
I feel the pain of this winter. It sucks. It really sucks. But, the horses find a way to enjoy it all and through them, I do too. And, most importantly, sometimes I take their joy, their bliss, that Pollyanna-all-is-right-with-the-world-feeling home with me and let it bleed over into my everyday life.
Juliette I love this post because it is such a great insight into the wonderful person you are. ;-) it drives me crazy when people complain about having to care for their horses or pets in foul weather! animal care is a year round sport, people! i cared for my horses in the snow (wearing metal /rubber track grippers on my boots) up until I was 8 months pregnant with Junior. I love doing it- it is satisfying and I love getting my eyes on my horses at least twice a day to assess how they are. I am very jealous of your riding I have not ridden in the snow since I was a child! I do not have a good answer for this other than it is often icy here too so I think safety and hyper horses are my concern, LOL! I do love it when the hay gets a little snowy though- I always see it as it wets the hay a bit giving the horses addditional water which they need in the winter time!ReplyDelete
Thanks Ranch Girl! You are so right about getting your eyes on your horses twice a day - good for them, good for the soul - and good for that sweet Junior when he was in your belly - kept you and he fit!Delete
Don't fret about the riding. It will come in its time. You are a mommy now first. And ice and snow are nothing to mess around with. I was able to find a place that wasn't slippery and was relatively shallow. Most of our farm is too deep now.
Great post and a fun ride. It's nice that you are able to enjoy your horses everyday. I'd like to take a ride in the snow but it's so deep here now it would be too hard on them. The only thing plowed are the driveways and they tend to get icy. I love reading about how you take such Joy in your horses and their care.ReplyDelete
Just a thought: instead of trying to push the wheelbarrow through the snow how about one of those plastic sleds with flat bottoms for the hay. It's still exercise so you don't have to worry about a fat butt.
Thanks GHM - Brian and I thought of a sled the other night. I think lmel up in Maine uses a sled all the time for hay delivery to the pastures. I guess we normally don't get these deep snows so I didn't think about it before. Thanks!Delete
I'm talking about lmel from Travels With Harley blog - poor Harley - I forgot to mention him - another ottb and he has two ottb "sisters" too! They lmel and husband John and horses weather this winter better than any of us!Delete
Pollyanna-ism is where it's at lady!!ReplyDelete
I was just thinking this morning - while getting drenched by a (relatively) warm and sudden rain shower, how lucky I am.
I don't have to wonder that Val will get his meals on time, that his water tub is scrubbed and filled daily. When the temperatures suddenly drop (this afternoon), someone (me!) will make sure he's got a clean blanket on, (early shedding this year), and warm mash is delivered at bed check. :D
Having horses is a privilege, and the free workout doesn't hurt either!
You are so right C, a privilege. We are so lucky! You especially with the bed check ability. Someday I will live in a house in the middle of the pastures, but I worry that little Foggy will worm his way into my house. How do you ever keep Val out of the Shimmy Shack?!?Delete
He simply wouldn't fit, but if he could, I'm sure I'd have let him in for a visit lol. :DDelete
Great post! I'm ridiculously happy with our horse life, but not above complaining from time to time (even though I think it draws bad energy - I'm weak).ReplyDelete
Your ride in the blizzard sounds divine!
Çit - Tel Örgü - Panel ÇitDelete
Panel Çit ve Tel Çit, Tel Örgü citbu.com'da
Panel çitler ilk etapta tel örgü sistemi içerisinde düşünülerek güvenlik amacıyla tercih edilmektedir. Özellikle de büyük şehirlerde bahçeye sahip olan kişilerin bahçe etraflarını Çit ile kaplatarak dışarıdan yabancı kişilere girişi engellemesi gerekmektedir. Sadece yabancı kişilere karşı değil kedi, köpek gibi hayvanların girişini de kapatarak bu alanı koruması gereken kişiler böylelikle daha rahat edecek olup kendilerini de koruma altına alacaklardır.
Tel örgüler daha çok güvenliğin sağlanması adına kullanılmaktadır. İç tarafı dış etkenlerden korumak amacıyla tercih edilen tel örgüler bu sayede daha çok alana yayılmakta ve çok fazla alanda tercih edilmektedir. Sizler de tel örgüleri kendinize ait olan tarla, bahçe, garaj, park gibi alanların çevrelerine inşa ederek rahatlıkla kullanabilir, uzun ömürlü olarak kullanma imkanına sahip olup yapılarınızı en iyi şekilde dış etkenlere karşı dirençli tutabilirsiniz.
Çoğu zaman çeşitli yapıların çevresine güvenlik önlemlerinin artırılması için belirli sistemler yerleştirilir. Daha güvenli yapıların olması, dışarıdan içeriye yabancı kişilerin ve hayvanların girmesini engellemek amacıyla tel örgü sistemleri içerisinde yer alan jiletli tel tercih edilebilr. Jiletli tel en çok talep edilen yüksek güvenlik önlemleri arasında yer almaktadır. Dikenli tellerin çok yeterli olmadını ya da daha tehlikeli bölgelere daha güvenli tellerin çevrilmesi amacıyla jiletli tellere her zaman için ihtiyaç duyulmaktadır. citbu.com
Your blizzard ride sounds wonderful.
Thanks Carol - I so thought of you the whole time when I wrote this post because I know what you endure is WAY worse than Pennsylvania!!!! You are not weak in the least - I'm thinking Canada, Chicago suburbs, Maine - everyone probably has it worse than here!ReplyDelete
And the ride was wonderful and divine! The best ever and makes all the work so worth it!
I just stumbled upon your Found In The Fog essay. Once I started reading, I could not stop. You gave me so much to think about and delivered affirmation at the same time.ReplyDelete
I really enjoy how your love of horses is in the forefront of your writing. I love them, too, or more specifically, I love my horse so much that it hurts sometimes. I cannot be with him as much as I would like right now because I had a baby in May and my schedule has changed greatly. I love my baby, of course, but there is no substitute for horse love.
I see from the comments that I am in good company here. :)
Hi Val - Thanks for the super nice comment! Yes, you are in good company here - we all know what it is like to love our horses so much it hurts!Delete
Babies do change our schedules - that is for sure! But, in time you will find more horse time - I did and I do think my time with Maizie (my baby who isn't a baby anymore) helped me be a better horse person ultimately. So hang in there - it all balances out beautifully!
Well said! We love our horses and everything we do for them, no matter what the weather. And maybe because they truly are my "sanctuary", I can't complain, except for ice--we all hate ice--but the rest is pure heaven.ReplyDelete
Right lmel! And I second the thumbs down on ice, but the rest is perfect!Delete
I could never tire of your blog Ms. Juliette... It's such vicarious reading on my part since I miss being able to ride regularly...ReplyDelete
Especially loving the last few entries wherein each horses' distinct personalities are so entertainingly brought to light by your riding adventures.
Thanks! They are all unique individual characters that is for sure!Delete
I agree, while I am ready for a different season, I'm enjoying what we have now the best I can and having a fuzzy pony to play with in the snow makes it FUN. I love your positive voice in your blog...I never tire or roll my eyes at it. It's genuine and inspiring.ReplyDelete
Thanks Kristen - I know you, like all of us here, are horse nutty and choose horses over the luxuries of easier paths.Delete