Why do they call it a cold snap? It’s very misleading. Firstly, a snap sounds quick, like it’ll be over in a split second, not days or weeks. It should be called a cold long and onerous. Secondly, a snap implies inconsequential, no biggee, not weather that can freeze your parts or even kill you. Dramatic maybe, but true. When it’s -30 and the wind comes up, shit be freezing. It’s why we horses who live in this climate need to have shelter from the wind. We’re very resilient when it comes to weather but, left exposed in extreme conditions, horses have lost ears (and ended up looking like the two cranky mares in the photo below 😂).
It got cold last weekend. We felt the change coming, and had it confirmed when T put Nevada’s blanket on him while he was getting his afternoon feed. I was hoping she’d stop there, because it would mean it was going to be cold but not holy-crap cold. At twenty-nine, he’s not as muscled or fleshy as he used to be and he chills more easily than the rest of us. Judy came for a visit and Gidget’s blanket went on. But she’s in her twenties too, so, still no need to panic.
Then it was Rosa’s turn. Oh-oh. There was going to be wind chill. But I hadn’t lost hope. Although Rosa’s pretty tough for a girl, she doesn’t grow a lot of hair for a Canadian-born horse, and she appreciates the extra insulation when the wind comes up.
When I saw my blanket come out of the barn, I knew we were in for a doozy. Thing is, at this time of year, when I have my full winter hair coat, I really don’t need clothing for any weather. As long as I can get out of the wind, I’m good. If it snows on me, I just have more insulation that I can remove with a roll if I choose. I have rolled so many times this week but this stupid blanket will just not come off.
The rolling itself hasn’t removed the blanket but I think my rolling around like I’m on fire has convinced T that I don’t need extra clothing in the depths of winter. At least I hope it has. If only I could talk! No, thank you, I appreciate the thought, but I really hate wearing those things. If it comes down to it, I’d rather be cold. And I won’t be. I’m part Yeti.
She never used to put blankets on any of us unless there was a spring or fall storm, when we’d already shed some of our winter hair or not grown it yet. That out-of-season weather is the toughest, and when even I appreciate a little extra protection. Last year I got a new blanket and when winter weather arrived in October, before I had my full winter coat, I was happy to wear it. Itchy but happy. Things changed when Nevada got old and T started to blanket him more often. I think she felt bad leaving Rosa and I undressed in cold weather while our blankets hung in the barn.
I guess I’m just a natural kind of guy, a bit like Chico who also hates man-made clothing. He took a branch to the face yesterday while vigorously attempting to remove his coat in a lilac shrub, a branch that drew blood. Gotta give the guy credit for clear communication. I’m guessing he’ll be coat-free (and probably shivering) this afternoon when I see him.
Even if my please-don’t-blanket-me message has gotten through to T, she won’t remove it until things warm up a little. The blanket has flattened my coat to a point that it won’t keep me warm until it has some time to refluff. Our winter coats work a little like a down jacket, the insulation is in the warm air that gets trapped inside. So, I’ll suck it up for a few more days, try to appreciate the thought behind it, and pray for warm, coat-removing weather soon. And she did pull it off and give me a full body scratch yesterday that helped.
On the glass-half-full side, the best way for us to stay warm in this weather is to be given unlimited access to forage, and we’ve been scarfing down a round bale since last Saturday afternoon. I’m ashamed to say it but we’re a messy bunch of eaters. If you went to a restaurant and there was a guy sitting in the middle of the buffet table with his shoes on, stuffing food in his mouth and tossing to the floor all but the best, he’d be expressing his inner horse. T comes every afternoon and tidies up, trying to preserve some of the hay we toss aside that we’ll settle for when the bale is gone.
The forecast says blanket-free weather by Sunday or Monday. Hooves crossed.