Saturday, December 12, 2009

Winter finally arrived.

It slipped in over night on tiny feet of freezing rain, pattering along the window sills, bouncing off the panes, rolling down from the peak of the roof to form tiny icicle teeth along the eaves. It may have arrived quietly under the cloak of darkness, but before long it abandoned it's charade and unleashed on us with a bone chilling delight. Rain slowly turned to sleet, then quickly turned to snow... and then the winds came with a vengeance.

The horses huddled inside the barn, peeking out now and then, calling to me from the relative shelter of their run in. Mary stood in the doorway with her hair all on end looking like nothing so much as an over stuffed toy. Sparrow didn't even approach the door. He kept his rump aimed toward the door and his head tucked down toward his chest. Before Brego came the little ones would stand outside beside the big barn, tails tucked tight against their backsides as they stood rump to the wind. Even if their feed was placed inside the barn they would eat then head back out into the weather no matter how bitter.

But Brego has shown them a better way. When the wind starts he heads into the barn and there he stays. Because they are his little minions they stay with him. And I, thankful for the knowledge that they will stay inside, can rest a little easier.

A few of the bales of hay I bought this time were full of a dry weed that the horses don't eat. They look fine from the outside but once opened it is clear that the horses won't want but maybe 10% of the bale. These I set aside to use as bedding. As the wind picked up and began to howl I bedded the entire run in down in hay and filled their hay bags with the good stuff. The barn smelled of the sugary sweet scent of the poor quality hay (it has a slight scent of maple syrup, as odd as that may sound).

On the second day there was not a single hoof print in the snow outside the barn. As I went out to feed Brego's nose poked out through the door and quickly and silently pulled back inside. You could see where they had spent the night curled up in the hay. They were all warm, and still had hay to eat.

On the third day they were restless. Brego came out of the barn looking annoyed, wiggling his lip until the little dirty snowballs in his mustache clinked together.


I chased them out of the barn to get them moving a bit, since their tempers were getting foul and they were starting to annoy each other. They pranced and snorted and kicked up their heels.


Mary even threw in a buck or two and tossed her head, fanning her mane out dancing through the snow.



For a moment Brego even lowered his head and with a snort ran full out, kicking up his heels and tossing his head.


And then as quickly as it started their burst of energy was over and they were ready to head back to the barn.



As night fell on the third day the wind slowed and by dawn the next day all was calm. The horses were back outside, sunning themselves. Their coats seemed to have thickened and grown in just the few days since it turned cold and windy, though they had never seemed cold or uncomfortable.

Winter arrived, with teeth bared, but today we had enough of a reprieve that i was able to refill the water tank without having a frozen hose.

Monday, December 7, 2009

There is just something about a horse laying down...

... that makes me want to go up and cuddle them. of course most horses jump their feet as soon as they see you coming toward them, and even if they don't getting within leg range when they might leap up suddenly can be dangerous if not deadly...

I've helped care for easily over two hundred horses in my life, if not more. In all that time I've known only a small handful of horses who would let you walk up tot them while they were lying down. Even then they might let you close but too close and up they would go. Even my pony, Jamie, who was the love of my life for many years, would only let me pet his nose and if I got closer *pop* up he went.

Now last year I had an amazing thing happen. I was standing in the barn door with the sun on my face, Mary and Sparrow were dozing (this was in the pre-Brego era) and the sun was shining in the barn door and Sparrow just flopped himself down in front of me and leaned himself back against my legs. I spent a good half hour rubbing his tummy while he dosed. I ended up sitting down and leaning against his back so I could rub his tummy more comfortably and he drifted off to a deep enough sleep to start snoring, lol.

I was really blown away, as I had never ever had a horse do something like that with me before.

Now right after Brego got here, like the very next day after he arrived, my father in law stopped by and brego was laying down for a nap. He let us both walk right up to him as long as we stayed by his face. He had never even seen my FIL before and he was like, "Meh, whatever." lol. That is his reaction to most things, to be honest. But twice now since then he has been laying down and has just let me come up and rub his tummy and lean on him and cuddle him and doesn't even try to stand up until i walk away, then he gets up to follow me. I just can't resist the urge to go give them hugs and cuddles when they are laying down.

Mary, on the other hand... if she notices anyone look in her direction she is up on her feet, lol.