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She's Not a Baby Anymore!

Early spring saw some immediate changes in how Ellie carried herself and our dressage work started to truly improve.  There had been times last year where flat work felt like a fight and I wondered to myself if she was ever going to just relax and listen to me haha.

Thankfully, as the title suggests, Ellie has suddenly grown up in front of my eyes.  We have had some really stellar lessons lately, where I feel like I am suddenly able to make things click.  We also had an incredibly frustrating dressage lesson a few weeks ago where Ellie was in rip-roaring peeing heat (not normal for her) and we worked through 45 minutes of her refusing to bend right.  So, ya know, as much as she is improving, she is still an opinionated redheaded mare!  ;-)

But, I have to give her credit because she is really working her little butt off for me!  Sadly, I had not been able to schedule in a jump lesson before our first three-phase, which led to me riding her ridiculously backward at a slow trot the entire …

Ummmm.....when did I move to the Arctic??

Not much to report.  Not much going on.  Yesterday morning at 6:30 AM when I fed the mares it was -19 degrees.  Yup, -19!  HOLY CRAP that is cold.  And at evening chores it was a blistering 3 degrees above zero!  Whooo! 

This morning was a little better, with the temps just hovering above zero.  I believe it was officially 1.5 degrees.  That is way too darn cold.  But I admit that I was momentarily really HAPPY to see the arrow above zero.  LOL!

The mares are doing fine in the cold.  I keep a steady supply of third crop hay in front of them and refill water frozen water buckets as much as possible.  They all had icicles on their noses the past few mornings and yesterday Dreamy had frost in her eyelashes.  It is pretty weird to see a black horse with pure white eyelashes!  LOL!

I am very pleased with their winter coats and have not yet blanketed anyone.  No one is clipped, of course.  Reva did not grow much of a winter coat last year, so I did blanket her, but this year she is a true Mainer.  :)  He coat is long and furry and gorgeous, just like Sparky and Dreamy.  I especially like how the lack of blankets make their coats so much cleaner.  Granted, they get tons of shavings in their manes, tails, and sides from sleeping in their stalls, but there is none of that scurfy dander that accumulates under horse blankets.  Blech!

It was funny to me to see so many people on Facebook worrying about blanketing their horses, etc.  in the cold.  Granted, they need hay, hay, and more hay to generate heat and need fresh water, but seriously horses do better in colder temps anyway.  And if the horse has a good winter coat (which all of mine do) then NOTHING I can put on them is going to be better than that.  There is no way that a blanket/sheet/whatever is going to ever be warmer than my horse's own natural protection.  Plus, I hate hearing how owners put a blanket for one night over a poofed out winter coat, when the horse has been fine naked all year...it only serves to make the horse colder as the blanket makes the hair coat lie flat.  Without the "poofiness" the horse cannot maintain the pocket of warm air near its coat.  In stalls at night, out of the wind, with lots of hay and water, mine are clearly not suffering from the cold temps.

Obviously, some horses and situations warrant the use of blankets.  :)  I am not dissing blanket use!  :)  I just hate the one night random blanket on a horse that has been totally fine and happy with its winter coat. 

Anyway, not much going on besides cleaning and feeding the mares.  They are happy, fat, sassy and furry.  I just hope it warms up a little bit.....I like double digits a whole lot more than the single and negative numbers!  :)

Comments

  1. We blanket in the winter because our weather is soggy-wet and cold, and because our barn isn't finished yet. There is no place for the horses to get all the way out of the rain although they do have a thick stand of trees to shelter them from wind and some of the rain.

    The blankets provide some shelter from cold and from rain rot (common in our area), and also keep the saddle area from being covered in 2 feet of cold mud, which is handy when I want to ride without hosing off my horse first (no hot water available near the pasture yet, either).

    Finally, I blanket because my mare is a hard keeper, requiring copious quantities of food to keep her in good flesh during cold weather. The blanket allows her to keep warm without burning all her calories to do it.

    Next year (when the barn is finished), we plan to blanket only when the wind and rain are especially cold, because the horses will have a shelter to escape the worst parts of the weather. But for now, it's blankets for us.

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  2. On Sunday when I rode it was -10. Brrrr! Today, it was up to 28! Talk about temperature fluctuation! That said, I'll take the 28 any day; It was nice to ride without gloves.

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  3. Man, and I thought it was cold HERE!

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  4. Oh Aarene, that makes sense, since the poofiness is null and void when the coats are wet! LOL! Every horse is different. It just cracks me up when someone blankets for no other reason than they think their horse needs it because it is under 30 degrees outside. :D

    LOL Kate...it is funny when low temps above 0 make us happy! :)

    Oh Dom, you have no idea! This morning it was zero. Yeah, it is cold and I am DONE WITH WINTER!

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  5. We, too, have wet winters which makes blanketing a sensible move. Worse still, in a typical winter, we'll be pushing the 60s one day, and in the teens the next with rain and snow marking the changeover. (This winter has been atypical in that we haven't gotten the unusually warm days, though we're getting lots of snow and constant thawing-refreezing.)

    Because we're constantly criss-crossing the freezing point, the ground seldom freezes hard and we get lots of mud, which my horses love to apply generously all over themselves! Mud, of course, does not have very good insulating properties when caked into a horse's haircoat.

    So to stay dry and mud free, mine wear rain sheets when it's less cold and blankets when the temperatures drop since the rain sheets inhibit some of the loft and growth of a full winter coat

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  6. L, that definitely makes sense for you. :) I wonder if I rather have mud than the frigid temps. LOL! Though I do wish we would have a random 60 degree day right about now!!!

    I just hate when people have horses who have been naked (and FINE) all winter but they suddenly decide on a cold night to put a blanket on them. No point. :D

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