Its been a busy and event filled week for our boys.
As with most of the country our weather went from sunny and warm to unseasonably bitterly cold. Lise and I approach winters a bit differently. Our boys grew up in the mountains of Montana, cold isn’t new to them and prior to coming to us, they weren’t blanketed and lived outside year round with a herd of 70+ horses.
In Oregon we have to deal with constant rain. The cold here is nothing like they knew, but here the rain starts and stops frequently. It starts raining in November and stops again around March. Does it every year so its easy to plan for. Soaking wet and standing in the wind isn’t the way either of us want them to spend their winter.
So this year we were waiting till the weather really set in, wasn’t the wet, it was the bitter cold. Guenlzer , my boy, has his best wooly coat on. I tend to be one of the last to blanket, I need him to build up and maintain a good coat, otherwise he shivers non stop. His coat grew in nicely, the rain started along with 20 degree temp and high winds to top things off. Blankets went on the day before it all set in.
Lise went to clipping her horse this year. She finds that he dries instantly after her arena rides. Then she is able to blanket right away. I like to let my boy cool down in his stall, enjoy a snack of oats, then blanket him up when he’s dried and let down. The lighter blankets we have used in the past posed a challenge for Cowboy, being clipped, he needed a heavy blanket. Lucky, we had a spare that has always been too much in the past. This year just right. Clearly lots of ways to deal with winter, but that’s part of the horse deal, there isn’t a single right way.
The rains let up, sun came out, and the cold stayed around. So the trails off the barn were calling my name. Yesterday we headed out to explore how much wind damage there was. I forget how just missing a couple of days riding effects a horse. He’s still awesome, but being on the trail by ourselves, he started out unsure. Its great that he gets strength from me out there. Sometimes I fail to appreciate that he leans on me. So that’s what the ride started out as. Lets get together and own the forest! This is part of why I’m a horse addict. We need that connection to make everything work and that relationship is what we build on every day. That puts a smile on my face.
Lots of trees down, which means off trail to work around the major trees, and lots of dismounting to clear large down branches. He and I both enjoy a job, so that made a great Saturday ride. But the end of the ride, the wind in the trees, branches, all those distracting things were nothing for him. I’d check it off as a great ride and we built another brick in our foundation together.
Later went up with a friend a chainsaw to clear the major trees. Seems that one large tree tends to take all its friends with it when its time. At least the trails Guenzler and I were able to work are open and I see others heading up today.
We shoe all summer, but like to have them barefoot through the winter. Allows the hoof to strengthen. I know there are folks that like to run barefoot year round. We opt for just the winter when we are either softer trails or working in the arena. So much crushed rock here that it tears those hoofs up in a heartbeat.
Feet are a bit tender on the frozen ground, so they get one of the last sunny days of the year hanging with their friends in the pasture. Blanketed up as the cold is going to really set in this week.