All y'all would have less to hate about winter if you'd just prepare for it a bit.
Draining hoses: The good Lord invented wet/dry shop vacs. You can buy a tiny 2 gallon one for $20-$30. Unhook hose, turn on vac, hold vac end up to end of hose and create seal with your gloved hand. Your choice to use either 'suck' or 'blow.' Both work.
bonus: wet/dry shop vac also very useful for sucking sweat out of winter horsie coats or removing dust, dirt or wet mud. And yes, your horse will learn to tolerate it very swiftly if you employ the Get Over It school of teaching. ;) Also can be used to tidy turnout blankets.
Riding in the dark: Install lights. Yeah, it's not cheap. It's also not "second mortgage" expensive and if it fixes the "can't ride for almost 6 months of the year" then it's well worth it.
Frozen toes: heat packs. Battery operated socks. Proper layering/footwear. Winter boots needs to be 1/2 to 1 size larger than usual so you can wear a layer of thinsulate socks with a layer of Smartwools. The tighter your boots are, the colder your feet will be. Winter boots also need to be waterproof. Buy a set of irons one size wider to accomodate wider winter boots safely.
Too Many Layers: Invest in the right ones. A pair of insulated coveralls; either an actual riding set with full seats or knee patches built in or buy a pair and have them added. Nike makes a thinsulate turtleneck that's da bomb. Add a microfleece layer. One or two sets of proper warm leggings. No layers tight or restricting. Oh, and keep moving. ;)
Bonus of coveralls: Hang them over a heat source to store and when going out for night check, hop into toasty all over warmth over your pajamas. Easy-peasy.
Frozen hydrant: Frost Free Hydrant. Mine stays unfrozen well below zero. Or add heat tape and insulation. Or invst $20 in a hand held pocket torch for thawing metal stuff like hydrants and clips and gate latches. (also handy for creme brulee)
Wheelbarrow through the snow: Wide sled and a muck bucket. Skims over the top of the snow slicker than shite. :yes: Wide plastic sled: $10 Muck bucket: you should already have one.
Extra hay costs/feeding/wastage: Chicks Saddlery has small hole hay nets for $8. Buy a buttload of them. Set two nails or two screw hooks into hay storage area wall about 18" apart. Hang net on both hooks/nails. Stuff full of hay. This takes all of 3 seconds. Fill up all of your nets for the day at one time...5 minutes. Take out the few you need for feeding and either hang on/around one of the fence posts over a rail or knot aroound the base of a post. Or even knot the top, loop string back through and toss out on non-muddy ground like a hay pillow. At each new feeding, grab empty nets and replace with pre-filled full ones. Wastage = about 1% of hay. Investment of time and money = ridiculously low.
Slick Footing: Yak Trax.
I'd loathe winter too if I didn't prepare for it. It comes every year folks! It's cold every year. It's dark every year. There's no surprises there. :winkgrin:
Hey, for those who are looking to buy them, there's also some foot chains from tirechains.com that I prefer to the yak trax... they stay on my boots much better and have superb grip :) http://tirechains.com/shoe_chains.htm the top ones for the win.
Originally Posted by MistyBlue
We're well prepared for winter, just don't much like moving feet of snow. The additional work involved adds to an already packed schedule.
Changing several hundred pounds of implements in the snow... not much fun either. Actually, it's downright dangerous if you aren't careful.
Ooo, thanks for the link Belg. I like those! I have the Yak Trax and good old fashioned ice cleats. Those look like a good in between.
I move snow with the tractors...I'm too broken to do it manually and have way too much driveway. I bought a JD not too long ago with the quick attach FEL and the iMatch on the rear. Makes implement changing so much easier for me...I'm small. And broken. Single person, no lifting. However I do have to get chains for this one...the chains for the NH are way too big. And yeah, snow removal does eat up time.
The dreaded tractor chains :) those turkeys are heavy! We've got a 26" blower self or usually wife propelled; a 7 foot blade for the ford (I wish I had a cab!) that gets most of it... The remoter feeding lines are manual as is remote water hoses.
Yeah I love my foot chains. They are transformative. They don't pack ice and fall off when mounting the tractor.;)
This is what I do too with the hooks! It makes filling hay nets SUPER easy! I hang, then grab the front part with one hand, pull net open, and stuff in hay complete as slices, no fluffing required, and you get more in the net if you dont' fluff. It's awesome! I'll never complain about filling nets again!
Originally Posted by MistyBlue