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Horses at home - winter high fives to you, small barn keepers!

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  • Horses at home - winter high fives to you, small barn keepers!

    Winter is really starting to set in here, last week we had over 50mm of rain and it is cold, wet, blustery, bleck and even the barn cat is grumpy. Mornings are hard and night checks are soggy and bone chilling, but you, small barn keeper - you are doing it every day!

    How are you making the best of the winter this year if you keep your horses at home at your small barn (ie no indoor...sigh! With no borders / outside people to commiserate with you)? What's your secret to self care? So far mine is wine, so i'm happy to hear options before I can't fit into my breeches. Not that i have anywhere to ride right now as my ring is sectioned off in paddocks for turn out when we get snow next week...

    What are you doing this winter to stay sane and motivated, oh brave horses at home folks?

    With you in spirit from the watery depths of my wintery paddocks.

  • #2
    I moved South.
    Patience pays.


    • #3
      Ehhh I don't know if I'm staying sane, exactly, but I've not completely lost it yet.

      I mostly just try to do as much as I can in preparation for the next round of chores - if pony is outside, I fill the hay nets and water buckets and pick/fluff the bedding, replenish my tub of hay I feed out of from the huge squares on the other side of the barn... That way I have less to do in the dark (lights in the barn, obviously) and can just put him to bed when it's turn-in time and be done.

      I was nursing my no-riding-sorrows with wine, but I've taken a hiatus from alcohol for a few weeks (to save money as much as any other reason!). I groom, hand walk, lunge when the ground isn't unsafe and generally curse the mud, wind, and rain on a daily basis. At this point I'm just running on the fumes of daydreams, ones where I get to ride 7 days a week in the warm sunshine with a light breeze.


      • #4
        Ack, I have 3 horses at home but also 8 boarders to take care of, no employees—just me! I just try to think of it as the fact someone actually pays me to go to my “gym.” Barn fit! And wine.

        this year I built an indoor and I am SO enjoying being able to ride, at least.

        but I caught the flu this week, and have been installing fiber footing which is a LOT of work, so right now everything hurts and I should probably switch to gin. Lol


        • #5
          Originally posted by Melissa.Van Doren View Post
          I moved South.
          72F here today, grass is growing


          • #6
            I have 5 ponies (2 large, 1 medium, 2 small) here in Eastern Ontario where we've had such a terrible mixed bag of weather
            They mostly live outside but we had a nasty ice storm a couple of weeks ago so they were stuck inside for 2 days.
            Freezing cold - minus 20C yesterday - to rain and plus 3 today. We're now supposed to get a LOT of rain and high winds starting tonight so I'll bring them in. That will change to freezing rain late tomorrow....then snow by Sunday.
            No riding here either... my ring is frozen solid and will be that way until April.
            I'd love to find a place with an arena for a couple of months for the medium pony, but nobody has empty stalls.
            I take my granddaughter to her lessons every week. I also curl twice a week and walk the dogs and also do a lot of volunteer work with my Therapy Dogs which helps pass the days until spring.


            • #7
              I love it. Not much riding happens but I'm hoping the new trailer will solve that. I put up extra light in the barn so it's brighter and cheerier. Basically, it's my escape from the house and small children!


              • #8
                Northern Illinois here, and right now we're in weather Hell, with rain pouring that will turn into ice tonight, then a bunch of snow tomorrow. But I've got my barn set up pretty well with nice, enclosed overhangs that connect to the barn so my horses can munch on hay during the day and watch it snow, then at night they are bedded down in deep straw in their stalls. As much as winter sucks, there is nothing nicer than the sound of horses munching their hay while the weather rages outside.
                Graphic Design & Websites


                • #9
                  I have an indoor, but now it is hosting 5 loaded haywagons. Property of my hayguy who exchanges the use of the space for dirtcheap hay.
                  I could ride in there, but the foul weather is my reason/excuse for not.

                  What gets me through the Hell that is Winter is my Herd of 3.
                  Always greet me when they see me heading for the barn.
                  Always happy to get their hay, even happier for grain & thrilled to get the cookies that come with my last barncheck of the evening.

                  It's what gets me through the tedium of piling on various layers to brave the 250' trudge to the barn.
                  I am the Equine Mail Carrier:
                  Neither snow, nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays this courier...

                  And the Peace that comes with getting them fed, watered & bedded down, then sitting in the quiet barn, lulled by the sound of hay munched.

                  Amused at the pony making nastyface at the horse... From the safety of his stall with grille between them.
                  And marveling at the tolerance horse shows by permitting the mini to share his stall & hay, when he has his own stall & flake.
                  He does draw the line when mini eyes his feedpan
                  "You gonna finish that?" the little monster seems to ask.
                  But no reaction from Saint Horse besides flattened ears.

                  *friend of bar.ka*RIP all my lovely boys, gone too soon:
                  Steppin' Out 1988-2004
                  Hey Vern! 1982-2009, Cash's Bay Threat 1994-2009
                  Sam(Jaybee Altair) 1994-2015


                  • #10
                    I only have oldies at home. In general I love it. One isn’t doing too well and I fear I may have to make a tough choice here soon, so it certainly isn’t ever all lollipops and rainbows.
                    The cold gets old, but I try to focus on making it through January and February. Once March rolls around even when it’s cold and wet it feels like spring is coming. That is the key - take it one day at a time and enjoy the dark winter days for the feeling of solitude, quiet and restoration


                    • #11
                      I'll admit it.... I'm done. After 20 very happy years, my beloved little farm went on the market today. I won't be doing another self-care winter in the mountains.

                      I've been in a pretty deep funk about it. I thought I'd be leaving here in a casket, to be honest, and this has all happened rather suddenly, so now I have to get my gang of geriatric horses resituated one way or another in the depths of winter, which is not an easy prospect.

                      But I came home from town at lunchtime today to find my almost 80 year old trooper of a husband lying in the snow covered driveway changing a shear bolt on the tractor snow blower in the freezing cold with no gloves on, and my doubts evaporated.

                      Sadly, this is a place for younger, stronger people than us at this point.


                      • #12
                        I'm sorry, atr.


                        • #13
                          atr, I'll be in your shoes one day too --for now in Northern IN I take joy in each moment --yesterday I rode for over an hour in a bit of mist --neighbor lets me ride on his 3000 acres --still haven't seen it all. I can only ride between deer season (Jan 5 and when he plants April or so) so this is a special treat. Otherwise, after I do my few chores for my 4 horses --I do things inside (I'm retired). Having a big horsey ebay sell off right now ---and doing some writing about my previous horses to remind myself when I'm old about the joy they each gave me. And I paint. I'm not very good --but I love oil painting and I enjoy painting pictures of my horses and dogs ---I hang them in the basement that I call "My Museum of Me."


                          • #14
                            I keep mine turned out from late afternoon (before it gets dark) until morning. It's the same routine all year, and the weather really does not change anything other than the fact that I can't ride when the ring is frozen or under water. Which actually frees up some time. Round bales, trough heater, no problems. And since I don't have to apply fly spray and muzzles, maybe it's even easier. Horses really don't mind the cold. Night check for me is counting dark blobs in the paddock, if the moon sheds enough light that I can see them out the window.


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by 2DogsFarm View Post
                              I have an indoor, but now it is hosting 5 loaded haywagons. Property of my hayguy who exchanges the use of the space for dirtcheap hay.
                              I could ride in there, but the foul weather is my reason/excuse for not.
                              I ride around the hay wagons, which adds interest, although my hay wagons are both emptied and gone outside now so I have almost all of the (small) indoor left to ride in. I have a wall of round bales at the other end and a couple at the near end that I'm feeding from, but we ride around them, too. Friends have been coming down to ride (read: help motivate me to ride) and it's a good group and we're having fun.


                              • #16
                                Originally posted by Foxglove View Post
                                And I paint. I'm not very good --but I love oil painting and I enjoy painting pictures of my horses and dogs ---I hang them in the basement that I call "My Museum of Me."
                                Same, but acrylic because it's easier, and mostly just blobs of color because that's easier than painting horses and dogs. I've run out of wall space in the house so now hang them on the walls in the barns. I paint on the walls in the indoor too, because if I decide I don't like my creations it's easy enough to just to get the roller out and paint a new white "canvas" and start over.

                                Sorry to hear about the move atr, but it may end up being a relief once everyone is settled in.


                                • #17
                                  I currently have five and am holding my breath because this Kentucky winter has been not hard or cold and I am grateful for every day like that closer to Spring.
                                  Atr, I am sorry. Your description of your husband hit home because my (inside, computer) guy has come so far in farm/horse life and I could see that being me one day when he's almost 80. It's already
                                  One of the horses I'm actually riding but our tractor has been out of commission for MONTHS (long story) and I can't drag my little ring. So I haul to an indoor when possible. But I'm ready for Spring and a tractor.
                                  We're spending our money on horses and bourbon. The rest we're just wasting.


                                  • Original Poster

                                    Originally posted by Pehsness View Post
                                    Basically, it's my escape from the house and small children!
                                    I am NOT making more small children so that I can enjoy the winter more - but i love that you're making it work for you :P


                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by DLee View Post
                                      One of the horses I'm actually riding but our tractor has been out of commission for MONTHS (long story) and I can't drag my little ring. So I haul to an indoor when possible. But I'm ready for Spring and a tractor.
                                      I don't drag my ring, anymore. In fact, I was no longer doing any fast work or jumping and my horses are all barefoot most of the time, so I removed most of the loose footing to keep the dust down. It's been wonderful. I used to spend so much time watering and dragging, and now I don't need to do anything because the thin layer of loose sand on top draws enough moisture from the ground to stay moist enough.


                                      • #20
                                        Originally posted by clanter View Post

                                        72F here today, grass is growing
                                        and snowing this morning
                                        but back into the mid 60s tomorrow, then 70s for Monday