Thursday, January 30, 2014

Same As It Ever Was

Cold, cold, cold. Irene prefers inside work.

2014 Year of the Horse!

Monday, January 27, 2014

A Cold Wind Blows

Sunday was almost balmy with a high of 27, and Monday's 'high' at 6:00 a.m. was 40. Rapidly sinking temps, we are heading into single digits overnight, with high wind warnings. O boy.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Fourth Friday in January (Cold Version)

When I went out to feed the barn gang it was 1, warmed up to 4 when on the way to work.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Snow Day!

Snow started falling in earnest around 8AM - continued all day, heavy at times, until around 9:PM. The wind picked up mid-morning, and the drifting began. Early afternoon the temperature began its downward slide. By the time the snow wrapped up it was in the teens. O boy.

The roads were not horrible if you had all-wheel or 4-wheel drive. The snow was already drifting back into the roadways. He used the snowblower for well over an hour. We haven't used that snowblower since 2010, been in the barn with a thick layer of dust. He used it all over the parking lot, drive way, and dry paddock, and around the run-in shed.

I had already prepped the stalls for the boys, they were ready to come in. I used the metal curry comb to brush the ice/snow off of their coats and the minis, too. The metal comb scrapping the ice/snow against their waterproof coats made a horrific sound. Lil Fred spooked at the noise. Icicles in their manes were hanging like beads.

We have areas of bare gravel, and 15-inch snow drifts on our hilltop.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Holiday Weekend

We had a busy weekend planned. The vet was coming out on Monday at 11 to administer vaccines to each horse. The weather was actually pretty nice, too, for January. We'll take it!

On Saturday the weather wasn't exactly great, but it was fine for running errands and doing things around the house. The next interior project is repairing and painting the upstairs stairwell. After long discussions, we've decided to keep the 'rough' look of the walls upstairs and paint with appropriate 'matte' finish to not accentuate the pock-marked surfaces. I like the old farmhouse look and don't want to refine it.

He found time to 'drag' the pasture around the run-in shed, flattening the perma-frost divets, and spread manure.

The weather will deteriorate into the week, so the meal plan I chose is comfort foods that don't require outdoor cooking. On Saturday I could not keep the grill lit, the wind was whipping around, in every direction, and relit the grill over and over.

On Sunday we rode!! This is the first time since November 24 (I keep meticulous records of these important events) and we got a late start because that is how we roll.

Wasn't as cold as it has been, the rivers were not frozen, the mud was to a minimum. Some areas were a little slick, but we kept our wits about us and didn't act like yahoos out there. After some time, and hesitation, KC decided he would try to break the skim of ice on the puddles. After nearly 10 miles, he got pretty bold with this, finally enjoying the sound of cracking ice.

Up close we saw a Red-tailed Hawk, numerous deer, a bright fox, and flocking Blue Birds.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Cold Nights - Big Moon

The boys have opted to spend the night inside every single night this week. They walk in like soldiers, going to their assigned posts. On frosty nights like these, they want to be in.

We also had some incredible fog, starting out in the pasture, expanding until the Moon was shrouded in a bright rainbow ring.

Monday, January 13, 2014


We have spoiled horses. I am not bragging, but at least two of them were brought up like royalty; luxury accommodations, and loved. Along the way one of them had a rough patch, unfortunately lasting for too long. However, he never lost sight of the fact that he is awesome, if he thinks you forgot he will remind you.

They both have been staying in overnight more often because they want to. They are asking for their beds, and feel they have the right to gain access. I let them. We have a great barn, so why fight city hall?

The manure spreader is getting a frequent workout, which has been kind of 'iffy' because of the weather (freezing rain, snow, soft ground) but we're maintaining. The question being - do you want to spread manure in 17 degree weather or freezing rain?

The sawdust that we use for bedding is easier to 'pick' through, and Skip in particular is practically house-broken. He keeps his 'piles' to one corner, leaving the rest of the sawdust in pristine condition.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Horse Sale Terminology Deciphered!

Horse Terminology is another language. If you don't know the meanings you could get a pig in a poke. What's a poke? It is not enough to read between the lines, especially if the lines make no sense. And the chronic refrain is, 'I've never seen him do that!' Yea, sure. I've tried to decode them the best I can:

Event Prospect = Big Fast Horse, no brakes
Dressage Prospect = Big Slow Horse
Hack Prospect = Pretty Color
Sporting Prospect = Short Fast Horse
Camp Prospect = Fast Horse which can turn
Reining Propspect = can't ride him outside of the arena
Jumper Prospect = Can't keep him in the pasture
Endurance Prospect = Fast Horse that will go until dinner time
Halter Prospect = likes to be groomed, can't be ridden
Lots of Chrome = Blaze and White Socks
Flashy = White Socks
Attractive = Bay
Half-Halt = try to get the horse under control by pulling on the reins, over and over and over
Foxy Ears = pinned ears
15.2hh = 14.3hh
16.2hh = 15.3hh
To Loving Home = Only Expensive
To Show Home Only = Very Expensive
Needs Intermediate Rider = bucks like a PRCA saddle bronc champion
Needs Experienced Rider = Potentially Lethal
Elegant = Thin
Easy Keeper = a week away from Foundering
In Good Condition = Foundered
Great Broodmare = Couldn't do anything with her, bred her instead
Big Trot = can't canter within a two mile straight-away, wear a good bra
Nicely Started = longes, but we don't have enough insurance to ride him yet
Top Show Horse = won a reserve champion 5 years ago at a show with unusually low entries due to tornado warnings
Home Bred = accidental breeding because we didn't think this would happen
Well Bred: mother and father are also brother and sister!
Big Boned = good thing he has a mane and tail, or he would be mistaken for a cow
No Vices = especially when he wears his muzzle and gets ACE'd regularly
Bold = runaway
Good Mover = runaway
Athletic = runaway
Free Moving = Bolts
Quiet = Lame in Both Front Legs
Dead Quiet = Lame in All Four Legs
Good in Traffic (Bombproof) = Lame all Round, Deaf and Blind
Stud Colt = Needs to be gelded yesterday
Loves Children = Kicks and Bites
Friendly = Nips
In Your Pocket = aggressively searches for treats, should work for TSA
Excellent Disposition = If you keep feeding him treats he won't bite you
Color Is Black = brown and/or dirty
Pony Type = Small and Hairy
Arab Type = Looks startled, has a bashed in face
Very Typey - looks like a cartoon version of a horse
TB Type = Skinny, Looks Terrified
Quarter Horse Type = Fat
Warmblood Type = Big and Hairy
Draught Type = Big and Exceedingly Hairy
Easy to Catch = Very Old
Spirited = psychotic
Handy With His Feet = kicks
Free to good home = can't get him loaded on the trailer to take to auction
Must Sell = Wife has left home and taking kids
For Sale Due To Lack Of Time = rider cannot afford to spend anymore time in the hospital
All Offers Considered = I am in Traction for 6 months
Well Mannered = hasn't stepped on, run over, bit, or kicked anyone for a week
Professionally Trained = hasn't stepped on, run over, bit, or kicked the trainer in 30 days
Recently Vetted = someone else found something really wrong with this horse
Any Vet Check Welcome = Please pay for us to find out what is wrong with him!

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Still Cold

Bright, beautiful morning, too bad it is only 15 degrees!

Tuesday, January 7, 2014


I'm sure everyone knows it is cold. It's all over the news. We are not spared here, it was ZERO in Damascus at daybreak. Maybe it would be better if the wind would die down.

Most all of the snow is gone, except where it drifted the deepest. It dried out fairly well yesterday when it was 'warm' and the quick freeze evaporated everything to a crackly crunch. The wind howled all evening and well into the night.

Manure is frozen, like rocks. The field is hard, like asphalt.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Horse-Keeping in Winter

‘I am thankful for a cozy barn.’ ~ Me

I am so thankful for a cozy barn, and could go on and on about how awesome this Monitor Barn is for keeping horses safe, dry, and happy, and copious hay storage.

I hear arguments and announcements from horsemen proclaiming that GOD made horses. I am good with that, what is not addressed is the verifiable fact that humans have diddled with horses for millenniums, at least 12,000 years, give or take a millennium or four.

Humans have been busy making them taller, thinner, faster, shorter, hairier, stronger, wider, fatter, calmer, patterned, etc., that we have to step in and help them with their shortcomings that we bred for.

Another argument is their feet. When humans invented fencing, all bets were off with their hoof maintenance. Horses no longer range twenty-five miles a day in search of secure grazing areas. Herds of horses aren’t chased over rocky terrain outrunning panthers.

Humans have messed with them so much we owe it to them to provide a safe, dry environment with ample food and water. There is no law that says you have to have a horse, but lots of regulations on how to care for them.*

Getting out of the wind is the most important, followed closely by dry footing. No one likes to stand in ankle-deep mud, right? A horse blanket can be a wonderful addition in combating horse health issues, like rain rot or respiratory ailments.
A good wind-break can be anything that blocks the prevailing wind. Unfortunately where we are the wind can and does come from every direction, just wait long enough. The run-in shed is a good start in protection, but it needs to be shared, and ONE can decide not to share. This caused a problem with KC’s feet, standing in the mud while looking into a dry run-in shed. He corrected that drawback with ‘cattle carpet,’ Geo-textile fabric with stone dust on top, and a gutter/downspout system.

The barn has five stalls, each are 12 x 12, and individually wired with a light and electrical outlet for fans or electric water buckets, a must-have in the winter around here. Just last night I emptied the water buckets of the solid block ice.

Three stalls have a ‘Dutch Door’ and an aisle sliding door. Two stalls have a sliding aisle door only. With the doors closed, not even a Mountain Lion could gain access to the horses. A while ago we accidently trapped a Red-Tailed Hawk in the barn.

The barn was placed fairly close to the house; if you have a choice make sure yours is close, too. Getting back and forth in bad weather makes it a chore and a hazard. We put Cattle Carpet under the barn, most of the ‘dry paddock,’ and all of the gates to keep the mud and erosion to a minimum. Highly recommend this application to alleviate getting yourself or equipment stuck in the mud.

Another brilliant idea is keeping grain in a chest freezer. We have a freezer, it does actually work, but hadn’t used it in years. It was drafted into granary storage service. This keeps mice and other vermin to a minimum and feed free of contaminants. We’ve shared this idea with others, and keep passing it along. Sometimes you can find a Craigslist ad for a non-working freezer for FREE. Gaskets are easily replaced from Sears or the internet.

*Regulations vary state-to-state.

Saturday, January 4, 2014


Today is our anniversary - twenty-six years!

People make plans, it is what they do. It is what sets them apart from the other mammals. We make goals, get interrupted, change our minds, unpredictable things happen, go in different directions, chart our own course. We sometimes can make our own luck.

When two people are unified, have love and trust between them, and have the same dream, dreams become a reality.

Friday, January 3, 2014

First Friday - The Snow Version

The snow started falling yesterday afternoon, and overnight the temperatures plummeted. From 30s to 16 with a wind chill of single digits within hours. The wind was howling through the night. The snow had drifted into the barn aisle from both sides. I turned on the electric buckets, the other buckets in the barn were frozen over by morning.

Bright, sunny day, and with the wind blowing the snow, visability is horrible. Snow blind.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Wednesday, January 1, 2014