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

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  • #61
    Joining in the winter commiseration. In comparison to last year temps have been average, besides a couple of brutal nights in December and then some super warm days last weekend. Much less precipitation than last year, too, I do not have standing water this year! The wind seems to be stronger than usual. I feel like we've had more wind advisories than usual.

    Still don't have a riding ring in yet, so I'm stuck trailering out 3-4 times a week to teach the 4 1/2 year old that indoors are not scary. Making some progress with that but came to the decision that doing the indoor show series this winter would not be of much benefit, besides maybe going to have her hang out in a stall and watch. I'm very fortunate that she is becoming quite the reliable loader/shipper and I have 2 facilities to go to within 10-15 minutes' drive but it is depressing to be doing that in the dark on week nights.

    Gave up on keeping my older TB going even though I was going to try to hack him through the winter. Work + darkness + the other horse are enough on my plate. He'll come back fine in the spring.

    This is my first winter with the new barn and it's great. I have gravel at both doorways and the path to the dry lot. My dry lot is a bit small so only 2 horses at a time can go in it and the 2 geldings refuse to be out if the mares are in so I'm stalling them a little bit more than I'd like when it's wet. When the ground is frozen or dry everyone gets to go out. Considering adding a second small dry lot in the coming years.

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    • #62
      Originally posted by Pehsness View Post
      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!
      This is me! I just got a new trailer, so I am ready to rock and roll. I have all grass to ride on, and some nice hills. We walk a lot. I love my husband and baby, but my barn is my special time.

      My drylot is my savior. I love it. I talk about it all the time. GET ONE; it's worth it. I also have Drinking Posts that are centrally located to all stalls, the lot, and the pasture.

      The boys get wild when I leave them up, but I keep them in with the wetness so that they don't tear my grass up.

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      • #63
        Originally posted by sparkygrace View Post

        Heinz 57, I'm south of you and am hearing the same rumors about a hay shortage. I am also running short of local hay. My regular supplier had a really poor yield and I wasn't able to get much. I have some Central Oregon hay and will have to soak it to reduce the sugar. It's from last year, but it only loses vitamins and the sugar content stays pretty much the same. Spring can't come soon enough for me.
        Yeah, it is a tad concerning and I don't know what I'll do in March when I run out of the (really ugly) local hay I've got. My pony doesn't NEED central Oregon hay, but if that's all there is to be had, that's what he'll get I guess. Several of the brokers seem to have a plentiful supply of it but they are 45 miles from me. The broker in town here is charging $34 a bale for 3-string eastern Timothy, might as well just feed dollar bills if I'm going to buy from him.

        I'm just crossing my fingers and waiting for hay season. And dry ground so I can RIDE, darn it! It's been so swampy here, I can't handle it. Just walking across my 'arena' with the wheel barrow is challenging!

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        • #64
          Originally posted by eclipse View Post
          One of our local shopping malls, even opened their doors until this Friday, to allow people to bring their dogs (on leash) so they could stretch their legs!
          That’s really cool!
          "We need a pinned ears icon." -MysticOakRanch

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          • #65
            Originally posted by Heinz 57 View Post
            The broker in town here is charging $34 a bale for 3-string eastern Timothy, might as well just feed dollar bills if I'm going to buy from him.
            COTH's official mini-donk enabler

            "I am all for reaching out, but in some situations it needs to be done with a rolled up news paper." Alagirl

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            • #66
              Originally posted by TheJenners View Post

              Right? He's always had a huge markup on everything he trucks over, even compared to other brokers in the area. But they use semis with doubles and I think he's just got duallys and flatbeds, so maybe his costs are higher.

              Sucks cuz it's literally like 1/4 mile down the road and would be super convenient!

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              • #67
                A sheet of ice on everything this morning.

                Little old dog could not find a spot to do her business, would not listen to suggestions and kept trying to get four legs going the same way, looking drunk.

                Wish I had my phone with me to make a video of that.

                Horses look fine under the barn overhang, dry and happy there.
                May have to try to drive those 140' across that ice to the barn to feed later.
                Any walking is going to be trying on that ice.

                Get ready East, that ice is going your way!

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                • #68
                  pretty sure here in the UK i have nothing compared to the temps you guys endure but my god its been WET.

                  i havent quite succumbed to trench foot yet but its been close.

                  ponies are out 7.30am-12 on crappy days and 7.30-3 on sunny days.

                  the arena at least stands up to any amount of rain so work as usual for my boy. the roads are atrocious, full of flooded pot holes and grit and filth so i riding out has been limited but i have been boxing up to some nice (not too wet) tracks with various friends.

                  my lawn has been flooded most days since Oct and my fields are sodden, still have grass cover but you need waders never mind wellies to poo pick and most days the boys come in caked from the armpits down.

                  i have noticed the weeds are now growing so the grass must be too and i hope that spring is thinking about showing its self!!!

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                  • #69
                    In a word: Muddy! In GA, just South of Atlanta and it's been raining buckets the last few weeks. Fortunately not terribly cold and my property is on rolling hills so it drains well but erosion can be a bit a problem which is why I now spread my manure on the bare spots. Also why I put out winter rye - to better anchor the soil.

                    I am less stressed this year than probably the past 7 as I gave up riding for competition in any form. I thought I would miss it, but I can't say that I miss the grind of schooling, the weekly back and forth to lessons, the endless circles or the stress of showing. It was fun until it was just stressful. Now I ride when I can and don't stress about it when I can't. I do have a property next door I can venture out on which helps when it's too muddy to trailer out to somewhere else equally muddy.

                    I was trying out a new saddle last weekend and when I pointed the two horses I tried the saddle on, at my dressage/riding arena, both balked. They weren't ugly about it but it was definitely no, no, no, not THAT again! They both capitulated. One was actually fabulous and the other less so. Whereas they are generally happy to hit the trail. Just, interesting that they more or less mirrored how I felt about it too.

                    Which is what I've been doing since I gave up lessons, schooling and showing: Trail riding. With friends when I can, but more often alone, just me and my horse; or if I'm riding on the property next door, me, my horse and 4 or 5 dogs, which is fun. I've never particularly minded riding alone and am happy in my own company. Friends/companions are fun if they're the right ones and if not, then not so much. Hoping to do more going and riding/exploring in different places this year.

                    I've got 5 horses; 3 draft crosses, one of which is retired with DSLD; a coming 4 yr old Arabian and a coming 3 yr old Fjord. The Arabian will get started under saddle in summer I think and we'll see what he's like. He's beautiful but very chill for an Arabian so I think will be fun. I also have 3 miniature horses and 2 pet Shetland sheep. I sold the mini donks who were cute as stink, but hard on the pastures. When the grass goes, they will paw down to the roots then eat them, leaving big bare spots - this despite free choice hay. That and you never knew if you would be handling a compliant donkey or well, an ass: at farrier time, shot time or worming time or just leading time. Just got tired of the unpredictability. Same thing with my two llamas. At times they were great and interestingly unique and others, slinging me into walls at worming, shot or just haltering time and, just no. So they went too. Last year was a time of re-evaluating and simplification.

                    My horses are out 24/7 unless the weather absolutely sucks and then I have a older, quaintly rustic, well-lighted barn with space for everyone. But mostly they are out. The big horses each have a round bale in a hay hut and the minis get all of one flake twice a day, maybe. They come in twice a day, get grained and go back out. It's really pretty easy and I enjoy my barn time and having them at home.

                    Sitting on my deck at the back of the house overlooking the barn and pastures with the chimenea fired up, a cat in my lap and an adult beverage to hand, is pret-ty wonderful. Still, I'm just biding my time until daylight savings time returns so I can ride after work again. Cheers!
                    Fat Cat Farm Sporthorses on Facebook
                    Fat Cat Farm Sporthorses Website and Blog

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                    • #70
                      I've gotten so used to being grumpy and depressed in the winter that I just ignore myself and get to it.... My set up is almost perfect (unless something breaks, of course) and I don't even try to ride in the winter as it's no fun and I have no goals anyway.

                      My biggest issue is mud and over the years, I've done various mud control solutions. My next project is getting those grids for certain high traffic areas but they are pricey. My pastures are not pristine as the horses are turned out all winter until it's time for the grass to start growing in the spring. The way I see it, it's better they keep moving than having beautiful fields. I'm lucky in that I have lots of acres and I throw hay flakes all over and so far, I haven't had to reseed in the spring.

                      As another poster said, one less day now to spring!

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                      • #71
                        just came in from the barn, had to tell Wonder Boy that he should enjoy the 60F weather here, forget about the the three inches of rain that is keeping you up in the stall for a day or two ... I told him his former home its under another blizzard warning (third or forth this season) with temps headed into the minus 15F range...all he said was more hay please...and you missed some of my poop over in the corner

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                        • #72
                          So today I stopped wishing for a barn full of hay and actually did something about it! Earlier this week it was too muddy to drive hay to the barn, so I called my hay guy today since the ground was frozen. Having my college helper home for a few more days, we decided to get not just one truck load of 35 bales, but FIVE for a total of 175 bales! It took us over two hours to load & unload 5 trucks full, but now I should have enough hay to last me until late May, when the new hay should start getting baled. While everyone else was at the grocery store before tomorrow's snow, I was with the hay guy.

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                          • #73
                            This winter hasn't been too bad so far, and I've kept riding both mares most nights. My luxuries are a space heater in my tack room and the new solarium/heated wash stall. But I'm also going to Wellington for a visit next week (without my horse).

                            I blogged about surviving the winter with horses at home last weekend - when it was 70* outside.Schedule
                            Here Be Dragons: My blog about venturing beyond the lower levels as a dressage amateur.

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                            • #74
                              Ok, I'm going to whine now about winter! Despite 16 years of mud abatement work around my place, the weather decided this month to give us all our fall rain and early winter rain at once, along with west wind which is not normal for my location. UGH... there's a steady stream flowing (ok...so not a real stream but...) flowing through the sacrifice paddock, my sand pile is now a sandy beach, and my once dry overhang is now mud and wet mats. Sigh... and the boys are locked off the pasture as each step they take sinks in about 6 inches. My hens are pissed because mud! snow! wind! and no 'pasture turnout'. I'm sick of being soaked every time I outside.

                              And now...snow! We got 4" of wet white stuff that is slowly melting so now it's a sea of brown and white patches. I love playing "where's the poop pile!?" early in the morning as I peer around with my headlamp. Headlamps! The greatest invention ever!! (mine is rechargeable and I love it!!).

                              Anyway, my trainer's barn also moved this week, so now I have to go set up all my mare's stuff and see how she's taking to the new facility. I am excited to use the 90x200 covered arena, not going to lie. And for her to be able to be turned out daily, rain or shine, which is new for her. Hang in there everyone, the days are getting longer and spring is coming. Ok, that means more mud for most of us, but at least it won't be cold and dark while we're looking for the boot that just got sucked off in the mire!
                              Proud member of the "Don't rush to kill wildlife" clique!

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                              • #75
                                Originally posted by Calvincrowe View Post
                                Ok, I'm going to whine now about winter! Despite 16 years of mud abatement work around my place, the weather decided this month to give us all our fall rain and early winter rain at once, along with west wind which is not normal for my location. UGH... there's a steady stream flowing (ok...so not a real stream but...) flowing through the sacrifice paddock, my sand pile is now a sandy beach, and my once dry overhang is now mud and wet mats. Sigh... and the boys are locked off the pasture as each step they take sinks in about 6 inches.
                                Sucky PNW weather high fives. The low end of my pasture is under water, my "sacrifice" area is officially useless because it has accumulated ponds and rivers intermingled with sloppy mud... I am quickly growing tired of the extra stall cleaning duties involved with limited turnout, but trying to mitigate damage to the turf or else I'll be overrun with weeds. Fat lot of work I'm doing for the privilege of what? Chief poop shoveler?

                                I'm super jealous you get to board one and ride in the fancy arena!

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                                • #76
                                  I am finally at that point in my work life where I can comfortably afford to board/train one. It's a weird feeling, Heinz! But I love having a small farm I can retire my old ones or rehab one if needed. However, when you see the forecast and realize that the pasture "ponds" are going to be recharged daily by the daily rain storms arriving off the Pacific, it sure makes horsekeeping in the PNW a real drudgery. With my two retirees cooped up in a 60x80 "dry" lot (ha!) I scoop a lot of poop. I am so glad I made the investment years ago to create the gravel area though. Best money we've spent on the place!
                                  Proud member of the "Don't rush to kill wildlife" clique!

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                                  • #77
                                    Originally posted by Calvincrowe View Post
                                    I am finally at that point in my work life where I can comfortably afford to board/train one. It's a weird feeling, Heinz! But I love having a small farm I can retire my old ones or rehab one if needed. However, when you see the forecast and realize that the pasture "ponds" are going to be recharged daily by the daily rain storms arriving off the Pacific, it sure makes horsekeeping in the PNW a real drudgery. With my two retirees cooped up in a 60x80 "dry" lot (ha!) I scoop a lot of poop. I am so glad I made the investment years ago to create the gravel area though. Best money we've spent on the place!
                                    Yes, that board & training bill is definitely an investment! But probably well worth it. As is the mud abatement system... It's on 'the list' for me but as I'm not sure we plan to stay here more than a few more years, it may get tabled since it's not going to add any actual value to the property.

                                    Yesterday I did a thorough chicken coop clean out, so double poop scooping duty. At least chickens lay eggs, and my ladies have started up again already... As for the pony, I've reached the time of year when I look outside and ponder getting out of horses altogether. All the work and no riding makes me a grumpy Gus.

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                                    • #78
                                      Well cold weather actually dared to visit us today in Tennessee. Overcast and dreary, and in the low 20's all day. I've got three horses at home, and they enjoyed extra hay and a dribble of grain at lunchtime. If they're in the barn eating they won't be outside making mud.
                                      It's 2020. Do you know where your old horse is?

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                                      • #79
                                        pony4me- if only mine would stay inside or undercover when it's raining, windy and generally awful outside. But no, they mosey outside and stand side by side, divided by a sturdy pipe panel fence because Big Bay Horse is a pushy turd and Fat Chestnut is a chicken who runs. The rain pours down and there they stand, blankets dripping (but still waterproof--go Horseware!), heads soaked, poop blending into my gravel. I'd lock them in, but BBH dislikes that arrangement and lets us know (bam! bam! hind feet fly!) so free choice of stall or pond...er...paddock it is! FC is an easy going fella who's happy inside as long as the rain isn't making noise on the metal roof. If it is, I get the "blender" as he churns his stall into a strip job. Ah, horses! No rhyme or reason.
                                        Proud member of the "Don't rush to kill wildlife" clique!

                                        Comment


                                        • #80
                                          I have a confession to make...I'm doing something bad and lazy this year.

                                          Instead of locking my horses in the stonedust dry lot every night and also on days when the ground is extra wet, I've been leaving the gate open so they can come and go 24/7. The gate area is trashed and muddy (actually frozen lumps of mud now, which I hate) and the field is more manure than grass, but guess what--I didn't have to shovel any of that manure! (Don't worry, they still leave lots in the dry lot for me, because the hay is there. They wouldn't want me getting out of practice.)

                                          I have a history of getting overwhelmed and depressed by winter horsekeeping, and that hasn't happened yet this year so maybe one trashed acre is a reasonable price to pay.
                                          Building and Managing the Small Horse Farm: http://thesmallhorsefarm.blogspot.com

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