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I think I'm done for the duration... of winter

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  • I think I'm done for the duration... of winter

    The last few weeks, well, six to eight, really, have been sporadic, but hopeful.

    But this 2nd Nor'easter dumped another 4-6" of fresh snow on top of the almost 2 feet we already had... and the kicker is there's a thick layer of ice on top. Horses legs are cut and irritated just in turnout.

    The road is a thick layer of ice. Absolutely not an option.

    I could get the trailer *out* but I'll not be able to get it back IN because of packed glaze ice in the low spot of the driveway where I have to pull forward enough to back it in. Somehow I feel like I'm being punished for snowblowing to keep up with the storm--the snowblowed placed just turned into solid ice. The other spots have literally taken me two days of working all day to clear... but there's no ice.

    I am so totally, incredibly bummed out right now. We have more snow on the way Thurs'dy. Forecast is "significant accumulation". So the road won't be clear for awhile, unless we get a day in at least the high 20's for the salt and sand to work to get down to bare pavement.

    Even then, it looks like the winter is over before it even began. I'll be relegated to riding on the paved road when it's not too icy.

    I made a lot of meaningful, if small, progress this fall. I learned a lot. We were getting there.

    I really, really just want to cry. I have worked through the iwinter in the past, but it is SO reliant upon Mother Nature. I was so inspired by Lendon Gray's post last winter. I'm not very far from where she grew up and worked through our Maine winters. I have the clothes, I have the dedication, I have the discipline. But I cannot control the footing. And I have NONE of that.

    I am really, really crushed. I'm drinking a wee bit of Irish Cream tonight. Tomorrow I will try to focus on working out for me... using the time to work on MY fitness and flexibility... coming back the rest of the way from my summer injury...

    For tonight, who'd like to join me in crying in my cup... ??
    InnisFailte Pinto Sporthorses & Coloured Cobs

    Bits are like cats, what's one more? (Petstorejunkie)

  • #2


    • #3
      I know! I feel bad for you! Here in PA it's just so horrible! My barn doors are frozen shut! God forbid for a fire........otherwise they will have to squeeze through the tack room doors! They haven't had turnout in 4-5 days because it's 4 inches of ice and I have a 7 month old can you imagine how NOT good this is for her?!

      Is spring HERE yet????!!!!!!
      Mountain View Farm
      Diva 5-7-07, Dolce 5-19-08, Devo 6-10-09

      When handling yourself....use your head. When handling your horse....use your heart!<3


      • #4
        Time to learn to teach piaffe in the stall!
        "Where knowledge ends violence begins." B. Ljundquist


        • Original Poster

          You know, not again, I was scheduled for a lesson yesterday, and MY agenda was to have my teacher show me the work in hand he does. I do some of it. But the stallion 'knows' piaffe with the teacher.

          Teacher is in hospital (shame on ME for feeling sorry for myself!) and I am too worried I'll ruin the horse.

          Dressage72-- I don't have full use of all my facility, but that's just scary. We had that during the Ice Storm of '98 . I resorted to using hot water to melt things. It made more of an icy mess in some places, but I got doors open and such. Many, many gallons of hot water...
          InnisFailte Pinto Sporthorses & Coloured Cobs

          Bits are like cats, what's one more? (Petstorejunkie)


          • #6
            Awww....Jaeme...I'm sorry! Here I felt put upon to have to ride in 35F and 20 mph winds yesterday...at least I can see the ground and it's not frozen. I will count my blessings. Go hug little Sky. It sounds like she may need a hug too as she was a southern girl until not too long ago. She's probably forgot what grass looks like. ;-) I hope you get a nice thaw soon and can get your riding back in gear soon.


            • #7
              We are south of you but still have a good 18-20 inches on the ground. This year we plowed a good part of the arena just to see how it goes. After 3 significant snowfalls and diligent plowing we have a really, really nice hockey arena!!!!

              Picture me walking into the barn with my son's old hockey sticks and saying to the ponies "so, who wants to play goalie????"

              Maybe, just maybe, if we keep plowing it will give us a jump on spring??? Nah, probably not.


              • #8
                just wanted to send you all some jingles and a good word. Sorry to hear it's so dreadful over where you are...just make the best of it- give your horse a good massage- clean him up beautifully and treat him with all the oils, rubs and creams you've got.
                Sometimes nature takes over and that's alright too...but still- hoping for a quick relief and some defrosting...
                "the man mite be the head but the woman is the neck and the neck can turn the head any way she wants..." -smart greek woman


                • #9
                  The outside footing is horrendous here too. Fortunately my horses are dealing with it fine in turnout. (no riding) Unfortunately I can't find my YakTrax and have taken up the new hobby of waxing the ice with my butt often.
                  For melting small areas though (latches, doorways, etc) hit a local hardware store and get a medium sized butane torch and a striker. I have a small and a medium one...they're invaluable in icy weather. I can melt things easily with those things.
                  You jump in the saddle,
                  Hold onto the bridle!
                  Jump in the line!


                  • #10
                    My sympathies and empathies. It's gonna warm up, maybe the crusts will go. Walkin in the snow , and trottting is great for staying legged up. If the crusts melt.

                    Snow is a four letter word!!!! , but betterthan ice!
                    Some riders change their horse, they change their saddle, they change their teacher; they never change themselves.

                    Remember the horse does all the work, we just sit there and look pretty.


                    • #11
                      Somewhere around here I have videos of Albert Ostermaier teaching paiffe. He starts in the stall in a halter and teaches the horse to lift each hind leg on cue. It grows from that. He was a wonderful trainer, and did the tape by himself in his barn in Florida, after his wife with ms was put to bed. The tapes are really something, and quite a testimony to the horseman and the man.
                      "Where knowledge ends violence begins." B. Ljundquist


                      • #12
                        I feel your pain, I had just started my boy on a good lunging regime (he's not started yet), when the WETNESS hit. We had a horrible drought all summer, and now we have so much preciptation the ground is a muddy mess and it can't soak it all up. My horse's paddock in the area he hangs out most is ankle deep in mud, and the higher spots that aren't muddy are so soft if I worked him there they'd turn to mud and are slippery.

                        We've had a few days of snow, but then all the water froze and we had ice, now it's in the 40's here again and it thawed back into mud and we're getting more RAIN later this week. I don't have a barn yet, but thankfully my neighbors are letting me use a stall in their barn just so my boy's feet can dry out once in a while!

                        I'm pretty much done until spring, too......


                        • #13
                          I think the only really guaranteed way to keep consistently working the horses in this sort of weather is to have an indoor arena. I know what that suggests - that a great many people are at a real disadvantage in competing and keeping their horses in work, because they can't afford to put one up. Most of the people I know who have built indoors had a relative in the construction business who gave them a break, or sacrificed a great deal financially to get it done.

                          This expense is even higher in snow areas because roof trusses have to be so close together, two-three times more trusses may be required and they can be the most costly part of such a building.

                          And in many cases, it needs to be an indoor arena attached to the barn somehow - several friends have gotten hurt this week just leading their horse to the indoor arena across icey driveways and paths.

                          Human injury in this weather is really a serious problem and especially for someone who's not so young and flexible, a fall on ice can be very bad.

                          In a lot of cases the indoor has to double as turnout when the paddocks are so bad. Most people I know who have indoor arenas, are reluctant to get their footing torn up by loose horses tearing around but at times there's not a lot of other options.


                          • #14
                            On my side, I just gave up trying to ride in my ring and I have been lucky to find an indoor nest to my place for 3 months.
                            Snow is incredible this year; I am not going to fight it !

                            My horse is having a break until january. That is it.

                            Fighting ovarian cancer ! 2013 huge turnaround as I am winning the battle !..


                            • #15
                              Yes, unfortunately that's the tradeoff I had to make to have my horse at home--no indoor and no hope of ever having one! Not only because of the expense, but we built on a property that has convenants that we can't have such a large building on it.

                              I think if I had a nice outdoor sand arena that drains well, I may be able to ride for a bit longer through the winter season. I'll be putting one in next year.

                              I'm also thinking once he's going well under saddle that I'll board him over the winter months, and maybe put him into full training while he's there. It will help move him along in his training at the same time as being able to keep him in work over the winter.


                              • #16
                                I really do feel for you folks dealing with the winter weather. It seems a bit early in the year for it to be this bad, but it's been a crazy year all around.

                                Take some small consolation from the fact that you were at a good place when this hit. Your horse will be soaking on that good place all winter, so you should be able to pick up where you left off, less the physical conditioning. I know that's not an insignificant factor, just trying to find a small thread of silver in the lining!

                                Stay warm!!
                                "One person's cowboy is another person's blooming idiot" -- katarine

                                Spay and neuter. Please.


                                • Original Poster

                                  Take some small consolation from the fact that you were at a good place when this hit. Your horse will be soaking on that good place all winter, so you should be able to pick up where you left off, less the physical conditioning. I know that's not an insignificant factor, just trying to find a small thread of silver in the lining!
                                  Thanks for saying that. I hope it is true.

                                  I LOVE snow. I really do. It is SUPER to ride in. I don't even usually have to feed joint supps in winter. It is GREAT for conditioning. I'm careful, because I don't want them to get short behind if they are worried about footing... but it is really good.

                                  And I also usually *plan* or "allow" for 6-8 weeks or so off, but that is usually from Christmas/New Year's through the end of February. By the end of Feb you usually have really nice days. It still gets cold, we still might have a frigid snap, but days are getting long and the sun is lovely. And it's generally perfect to start legging up.

                                  This borders on ridiculous. Last year it was 12.5" of rain in a time we average 2.5. The snow would be fine, as mentioned, except for the ice crust. Everyone is stocked up from only moving on their little paths in turnout (full, 24/7, and yet their still not moving much. ) We're already talking in FEET of snowpack, and the ice on top.

                                  I think the most disappointing part is not even being able to trailer out. The indoor is 45 miles away, and it pretty much is most of the day to do it... but sometime I teach a lesson or two to help defray the expense & time. Win/win. But I can't get the trailer back in the driveway if I take it out right now. THAT is pissing me off. I was SOOOOO careful to keep the trailer clear of snow. (which is important anyway, in case of vet emergency) but in my obsession, I made it worse. That just really seems unfair.

                                  I know, I know, life is not fair.

                                  My guy is a stallion, and short of my teacher's, there's not a place within hours I'd consider boarding him, even if I could afford it. He has NO vices, I don't want him to gain any. He loves being a horse, is turned out with his sons in my little spotty bachelor herd... I even thought of just trailering to the Indoor and leaving him for 2 nights so I could ride him 2 days there... the whole ice/trailer thing.

                                  Anyway, thanks for letting me rant. I really don't hate winter. It is BEAUTIFUL here. Sure, if we get an arctic snap that lasts more than a couple of days it's a pain, but otherwise, I really do like winter. I usually start my babies in the snow. (think about it was just getting steering and baby LY on the gelding, and the filly had worn tack and lunged ONCE.) It's why I live here. I just really had hope of staying in work and really moving forward come spring.

                                  Perhaps we will try that type of piaffe training. A few years ago we attempted to learn Spanish Walk He already has a tendency toward it. He's smart and will just about lay down and play dead for a lump of sugar. If nothing else, I can teach him the 'pedestal' stand to strengthen/stretch back & haunch.

                                  Thanks for the commisseration & pep talks.
                                  InnisFailte Pinto Sporthorses & Coloured Cobs

                                  Bits are like cats, what's one more? (Petstorejunkie)


                                  • #18
                                    I feel your pain. Here, the weather hovers so close to freezing that if we don't get ice in the first place, we get snow that melts, and then we have ice.

                                    This is why we have in hand.

                                    Tonight I'll long rein in the indoor. Maybe I'll hop on bareback after that.

                                    I am just so grateful we have an indoor, and I have a trainer who has been teaching me how to work on the ground.

                                    And ps - this is how we started piaffe, too. A great strengthener for the hind end.
                                    a 501(c)3 organization helping 501(c)3 equine rescues


                                    • #19
                                      Don't know which is worse ...

                                      Today it is a beautiful blue sky, moderate mid-60 temperature and calm breeze here in north Texas. Where am I? Staring at it through the window of my office!


                                      • Original Poster

                                        Gracie... I was *about* to hate you.

                                        I will say the time I love my shift the most is winter. I am outside in the brightest, warmest part of the day--even when that means snow and clouds... Go to work just about sunset these days. (1600)

                                        I don't know how people who work days do it. Especially this time of year up here. A little over 8 hours of daylight.

                                        BUT--come Friday, the days start getting longer again!! 8 weeks from now, another hour or two of daylight. YAY!
                                        InnisFailte Pinto Sporthorses & Coloured Cobs

                                        Bits are like cats, what's one more? (Petstorejunkie)