The Jingle Butts

By Patty Wilber

 A few weeks ago I was whining about the weather. Then it turned very nice.  Why, just last Sunday was the Back Country Horsemen Training Ride.  Look people in shirt sleeves! 

People in shirt sleeves!

 Penny ponied Risa, who sported a pack saddle and toted a first aid kit. They worked together fairly well.

 T was on his first big group ride, and did have a few left over testosterone induced “Hey, those are MY girls.  Stay back, or else!” flashes. 

At lunch. After his initial "Where are you taking my girls? I must dig my way free!", T noticed the girls were very close indeed, and settled. He is acting more and more like a gelding!

All three had temporary amnesia regarding the water crossing.  “What?!  Water?  Mud?  We can’t do that. (Never mind that they had all done exactly that last year, a bunch of times.)

Penny remembered.  T remembered. Risa remembered (she doesn’t forget much) but she just didn’t want to.  T’s Dad was on Penny, ponying Risa and I rode T right up on her rear to push her into the water. 

 T  said, “Ooh!  Hmm!  This reminds me of something…FUN!” He gave a little rumble in his throat.  I backed him off and intead tapped her butt with my reins to urge her in.

Then came Monday.  Warm!  Nice!  (“The Storm is Coming”, said The Forecaster.) I hurried home to, quick!, move a bunch of hay,  fill the water tanks and plug in the  heaters, so I could ride before the onslaught.  

Too late.  It was THUNDERSNOW before I finished.  Very strange to see forked lightening streak out of a curtain of snow, followed by KA BOOM! The barn roof crackled.

 All night the temperature dropped.  32, 23, 8F and it snowed and snowed.

On Tuesday it warmed up…to 12F.  And it snowed.

Wednesday am. -4F.

On Wednesday 2/2/2011 it was -4F.

All this water was collected off the house roof and gravity fed to the barn. (The water collected off the barn water had been used up.). The white PVC holds an air tube coming off a fish tank bubbler and the darker cord is to a sinking tank heater. This tank is on the N side of the barn, and gets no sun, but the combination of the bubbler (thanks Old Otis!) moving the warm water up from heater has worked far better than the heater alone. Still costs an arm and an leg in electricty, though.

The horses were frosty, and they all had big ice balls in their hooves.  Makes it hard to walk. 

But they were dry, their hair was puffed up (insulation) and only Cometa was shivering, a little.  A breakfast of alfalfa flakes (well only one flake in his case)  to stoke the furnace and he was all good.

A flake is section of a hay bale that “flakes off” when you open the bale.  If the bales are baled too wet, the flakes are tightly packed and may mold.  If the hay is baled too dry, the flakes do not hold together well and they fall apart when you try to section the hay.  They need to be just right (as Goldilocks would say!)

Horses can withstand very cold temperatures so long as they are dry and have protection from the wind.  This storm, which many of you probably experienced since it’s reach was NM, N to the border and all the way E, has not been too windy here.

Good thing, because I want that snow to melt off the (NEW) barn roof into the water tanks, not blow away.

Risa helped with the photos.

Cometa with his icy eyebrow and frosted lashes. His blue eye is perfectly normal, in case you were wondering.

Both eyes! Didn't know he'd closed them!

 The horses with the longer hair, sported icicles and they clinked when they walked. Jingle Butts!

Diamond with his ice pedants. He had frosty lashes Wednesday morning, too, but that photo didn't do him justice!

Yes that is my shadow in the picture, but Buckshot and T really wanted to help...

Jingle butt!

Wednesday night it dropped to -15F (balmy compared to some of my friends–  -25 at Donati’s mom’s).  No cloud cover, so no more snow, but cold.  No loss of electricty here.  No frozen pipes in the house (bet the barn pipes froze again…haven’t checked).  Overall, we fared very well. 

By Thursday at noon it was 15 F ABOVE zero–a 30 degree temperature swing in 4 hours!  Friday should even be warmer!

Who knows, by Sunday,  things might even creep up into the 40’s, the snow should be melting and I can get back to what I like best, riding!

About BlogPatty

Here's the skinny: I have a thing for horses. They make sense to me. I have a small horse training business (it's a "boutique" training business, not because it's super fancy, but because the horses get a lot of personal attention). I also go by Dr. Wilber, and teach biology full-time at a Central New Mexico Community college.
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6 Responses to The Jingle Butts

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  2. Doranna says:

    Boy, do those jingle-butts look familiar. Except Duncan this year wasn’t up to dealing with the weather as he has in years past. But when my blankets weren’t enough, it was Penny’s old blanket to the rescue!

    Didn’t get a chance to email Thurs AM with the travel, but here for the world to see–Duncan improved tremendously overnight with the heavier blanket over my liner even in the vastly colder weather, and he is operating normally now. We both thank you!

  3. Patty says:

    Yeah Duncan! Rode by yesterday and he looked good. Blanket a little crooked on his butt, but stayed up on his withers nicely!

  4. Doranna says:

    Oh good! Yes, I saw it was sliding on his butt the first day–didn’t know if the liner was at fault, but yesterday he wasn’t wearing that layer. So glad to hear about the withers–my biggest worry, when push comes to shove. And a first for him! I’ll have to figure out exactly which of their blanket models that is.

  5. Laura Balanko says:

    Great photos of the ice creatures.

  6. Patty says:

    Thank-you Laura!

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