It’s that time of year again, when one day we’re sweating it out in the sun in our ever-expanding hair coats, and the next we’re hunkered down in the shelter avoiding an icy blast of wind and snow. Such is life lived outdoors. But we wouldn’t have it any other way. Even Nevada, who gets cold a little easier than he used to, prefers to be outside.
The weather has to be downright vicious before any of us vote for being put in the barn. It’s dry in there, and a little warmer than outdoors, but we’re each limited to a 10’x10′ square. I can’t move Rosa or Gidget off the hay net they’re working on if I decide I want it, I can’t roll if I get a little itchy, or go for a trot if I need to stretch my legs. Horses and confinement just don’t go together.
Lucky for us, T’s not inclined to stall us for most weather. We have a great three-sided shelter that’s deep enough to get out of the swirling snow, and she hangs hay nets inside when a storm is coming. It’s a great place to hide out from the weather. We’ve already had two shelter-net-worthy storms this fall and we weathered them both in comfort in our run-in shed.
We chuckle when T gets asked by a city-dwelling friend if she puts us all inside at night. Like that would happen. We’d hate it and she’d have an extra couple of hours of chores every day. On top of that, Nevada does this thing called “stocking up” when he’s kept confined and the old boy would have cankles on a daily basis!
The other thing about being indoors that’s a real drag … no grazing. Even in the worst of the storm a week ago, we headed out to the field for a little pasture time, knowing we had a cozy shed to return to if we got wet or cold. And grazing a snowy pasture is a little like enjoying an upside-down grass sundae. The human style of sundae has ice cream with the flavour on top, the equine style has the tasty stuff on the bottom with the frozen delight on top. We push some of the snow out of the way with a lip (or a hoof if it’s deep) and, voila, grass sundae. Our pasture is almost half a mile from our waterer and when there’s a little bit of moisture in every bite, a guy hardly ever has to make the trip.
This Fur-iday, the sun is shining and things are warming up. It feels great standing here soaking up some rays. I’m all for a long, warm, snow-free autumn season. Most humans are summer lovers but, for horses, the autumn that comes after a hard freeze is awesome. A warm day is like bug-free summer and it doesn’t get better than that.