Seesaw Seasons

It’s pretty typical of this time of year where we live in southern Alberta, the seemingly manic changing of the seasons. September can feel like an extension of summer, like it did this year, or have us shivering in our fall coats and plowing through snowdrifts. And conditions can change in an instant and then back again just as quickly.

A beautiful fall evening on the farm.

Sadly, our hair coats don’t respond in the same way. We aren’t like humans who check their favourite weather app and have a look at the thermometer before dressing for the outdoors. Our coats grow and shed in response to the shortening or lengthening of daylight so if we get extended summer temperatures we sweat it out and an early arrival of winter conditions has us huddling together in our shelter.

Autumn coats on a summer day.

Don’t they make coats for horses you might be asking? Well, yes, they do. We call them blankets, rather than coats, maybe for the same reason the stuff covering our bodies is hair rather than fur, as I talked about in my last post. We horses just like to be different, or maybe it’s horse people that are different. They have to be, right? Out here looking after us in all kinds of weather and conditions—driving rain, blowing snow, Arctic wind chills, mosquito hordes. Perhaps “different” isn’t quite the right word.

Crazy, dedicated, or a bit of both? (December, 2013)

Good for us they are crazy … oops, different … because it means we don’t have to suffer through the worst that Ma Nature throws at us without our support team bringing food and clothing and providing shelter. T was once confronted by an animal rights activist when she was working at an equine trade show, the person accusing her and her kind of keeping horses as slaves. Ha! If you spent any time at a horse place and watched the goings-on, you’d know who the slaves are. But don’t tell them—they might revolt. But, I digress…

Who cuts, bales, and stacks whose feed for the winter? (July 2018)

So there we were this fall, our coats thickening for typical September and early October temperatures, but summer didn’t end. I got a little furrier every day, despite the warm weather, and had to make the long trek back and forth between our fall pasture and the waterer by the barn. And the flies! Man, they had a long run this year and seemed to intensify in the lingering summer temperatures.

Chico and Hank enjoying the shade of Rosa in late September.

And then, in the space of a week , we went from summer to fall to what felt like the depths of winter. From 20 degrees Celsius (68⁰F) on October 10th to 5 degrees (40⁰F) and a light snow on the 12th to temperatures that didn’t climb above freezing and dropped as low as -19C (-2⁰F) one night. We’re quite accustomed to blasts of northern wind and some snow at this time of year, but -19 plus a few degrees wind chill? No thank you. I’m pretty comfortable in any weather, as long as I’m dry, but even I found that cold.

Running instead of walking is one way to keep warm.

Nevada and Gidget got blankets because of their age and Rosa because she’s still living in a solo recovery pen (more about her in my next post) and has nobody to huddle with. Me, well, if you’ve read my posts you’ll know that I don’t like blankets, never have. I’ll put up with one through a storm that roars in out of season, especially if it’s going to be a cold and wet one, but otherwise, I’m happy to be left au naturel, thanks.

Rosa in her expanded, but still solitary, accommodations.

By Monday this week we were above freezing again and on Tuesday into the high single and low double digits, much more normal for the time of year. Now this I’m dressed for!

4 thoughts on “Seesaw Seasons

  1. Well, Storm, I learned something (what makes your winter coat grow) and enjoyed your sense of humour. Nice to see you’ve found your writing groove so quickly!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Wow! I speak of the picture from December 2013. I’m sure I saw it back then but holy crow, looks like what I imagine the Arctic to be. Hopefully there is none of that for winter 2020.
    I too found interesting what makes your coats grow. How clever. That’s a thing right? ..clever as a horse. 😉
    I don’t recall hearing about the activist story..hilarious. I’m curious to know how T. responded at the time.
    Well cheers to a lingering fall climate and perhaps a mild winter.
    Looking forward to some good news about Rosa’s continued recovery.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I share your hope for a winter free of mega-storms. We’ve had half a dozen or so since I’ve lived here, which means one every two or three years. The lingering fall is happening, now we just need the mild winter for a perfect pairing. And yes, clever as a horse is most definitely a thing.
      Storm 🐴

      Liked by 1 person

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