"And, when you want something, the entire Universe conspires in helping you to achieve it." -The Alchemist, by Paulo Coehlo



Saturday, February 21, 2015

16 degrees

The high yesterday was 16 degrees. It lasted a whole hour, and we were in the truck when it happened.

It's too cold to ride productively when it's this cold; this is much colder than this region's average, so I'm careful about strenuous exercise when it's colder than what my horses are acclimated to.

We finally made it to the Frederick feed store to pick up Lily's cherished 10-10 Pellets. (10% protein, 10% fat. I mix it 50/50 with her Triple Crown Senior. 3 lbs of each twice a day. It's not super low starch but it is high fat, it's balanced for MD hay and grass, and she really, really likes it, which is the most important thing with her being a picky eater. Adding the 10-10 Pellet saves me so much money right now. Prior to this I was going through a whole bag of TC Senior a week! That was almost $90/month just on one horse's feed.)

Anywho. After the feed store we stopped by the apartment to swap to the Beast for the barn. We were originally going to pull out Kathy's trailer to practice trailer loading with Gracie but the area around the trailer was both icy and snowy and the truck didn't have the best grip. Afraid of getting stuck with both our truck and Kathy's trailer right smack in the middle of the driveway, we decided to leave the practice for another less snowy day.

We helped with chores and fed the horses dinner. I wanted to hop on for a quick ride since we were expecting snow and then rain with some warmer temperatures over the weekend, and I figured the snow would be gone by the next time I made it out to the barn.

I slipped Gracie's bridle on when she was done with her grain and got on. I didn't bother removing her blankets because I had no intention of working her even remotely hard enough to break a sweat, even while blanketed.

Charles snagged some pics towards the end of the ride. I just rode in the paddock that doubles as an arena, mostly working in Gracie's big, swinging walk; doing some short bits of lateral work; and I even got brave enough to gait for short stretches. The blankets doubled as a bareback pad, basically. I had a blast and G-Mare was a very good girl.


Warm-up walk
Gaiting!
Slow gaiting




We rode for about 20 minutes, until I realized that Charles was shivering despite his 8 million layers. I dismounted and set Gracie free. Lily had the day completely off: it was too cold to be tacking up proper (for which I invariably always need to remove my gloves.)

We let Queenie and Deja out of their stalls and all four mares went straight for the round bale. Charles and I left before it got any colder! It was 10 degrees when we got back into the truck for the drive home.

And I'm NOT complaining about winter because I DO love snow and a few piddly inches is nothing compared to what some other folks are getting. Namely Canada. Go here to read about it.

Nope, that is not perspective. That house really is buried under all that snow. They had 16'.
SIXTEEN FEET.
So, now that you are feeling warmer wherever it is that you live ;), I leave you with an extra-warm scene from my homeland. This is the beach where my family has a beach house, taken by my uncle 2 weeks ago. Arroyo.

:)


21 comments:

  1. Dreaming of sand and sun, are we? Can't say that I blame you. Love the beach picture, absolutely beautiful.

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    1. Oh yes. This is the part of winter where I start listening to reggae and reggaeton all the time because it makes me feel warmer! Haha

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    2. Haha, that is awesome! Whatever helps!

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    1. Awww I didn't mean it that way! I actually love the winter wonderland outside the window right now but last year people loved all of the island posts and photos so much when we were having polar vortex after polar vortex; I was trying to resurrect that.

      On FB I've had Charles's family rubbing in the fact that it's 80 degrees in South FL. Some people will call me crazy but hell NO. 80 degrees in February?? I would have been tearing my hair out. Because it meant absolutely no respite from the year-round heat and humidity. NO thank you. I used to obsess over the weather in the "winter", waiting for that one night a year where it dropped into the low 40s so I could turn the AC off and crack the windows open! It SUCKED with the heat outside and the AC inside...most rental communities were very poorly insulated so being indoors was like being in an oven. If you wanted it to be cool, you had to have the AC set at least at 72 during the day. Which meant a $170 electric bill for an 800 sq foot 1-bedroom (that actually happened). So to save on electric we had the AC at 78 and sweated indoors during the day; 75 at night and we ran 2 fans in the bedroom. It was HELL. The other thing about 80 degrees in February is that if it doesn't cool down in "winter", we were in for a very busy hurricane season because the ocean temps stayed too hot. Seasons? YES. 12 degrees at noon and a foot of snow on the ground? YES please. Because it doesn't last forever. You can tolerate almost anything when you know it's temporary. When you know the heat is never going to end and it's just going to get worse? Not so much. With winter you can put on layers and warm up. In the heat you can run around naked and STILL be hot.

      I'm just sharing my own personal thoughts on the subject of heat all the time. :) As you can probably tell right now, I've been ready to burst thanks to the barrage of "Oh it's cold here today! It's 75 degrees!" online. It makes me want to smack people. Not because I envy them, but because of the intent. You can bet when they're on their 5th hurricane advisory, I'll be going, "Oh we're just expecting lots of sunny 80 degree weather! Hurricanes? What are those?" -_-

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    2. I was just ribbing you . . . I love the ocean and love the photos of the beach where (I assume) you spent so much of your childhood. And with the temps here hovering at 0, the idea of being able to ride on the beach, splash in the ocean and hang out in the hammocks takes on legendary proportions.

      And I'm sorry, but 80 in the winter would be too many and does not bode well for the summer.

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    1. OH YES!!!! The beach house has 2 bedrooms and 2 restrooms. We've crammed up to 7 people in there. There are 3 proper beds and some inflatable mattresses. :D It would be AWESOME!!!!

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    2. 2016? We could go for a couple of weeks. Meet your mom? See your island?

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    3. Biggest all-caps ever: YESSSS!!!!

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  4. Dude. I'm with Karen. So totally mean. Hey. Can Karen and j and t and I all go to PR with you for a joint vaca? I mean come on. How fun?!

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    1. YESYESYESYESYES!!!!! It would be a world of fun!!!

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  5. Eeek! 10 (or even 16) degrees is way too cold! We had one day this week when the high was 18....I was out for about 6 hrs at the barn and I swear I thought I was gonna die lol. I know it could be much worse, but I think we're all ready for spring!

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    1. I think anything below 30 degrees can officially be called Very Cold! 18 is Extra Very Cold for NC. Brrrrrrr

      I've reached the part of winter where spring is close, but I'm all "Eff spring, I just want to skip straight into summer." I LOVE spring as much as I do fall, but you still have to wear layers. So done with layers...lol

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  6. We also did a blanket bareback ride, so much fun! And how cold is too cold to ride/work safely- like lunging for example?? D:

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    1. I went back and edited this post. There is a debate that as long as the horse is acclimated to the temperatures, there is no limit to the cold they can tolerate. Your girl is most likely more used to these lower temps than mine are, for example, as NJ tends to stay in colder temperatures for longer than we do here.

      There are some studies that might show otherwise. I've read about the study Dr. Gray is referencing in this Q&A:
      http://www.horsechannel.com/horse-experts/horse-vet-advice/horse-exercise-in-winter.aspx
      Granted, like she says, these horses are cantered on a treadmill for 15 minutes at a time which is far more strenuous than the way we usually work them during the winter.

      This blogger makes a living as a veterinary writer and editor. I boarded at her farm and she is a wealth of equine knowledge. :) (The only reason we moved was because they didn't offer field board.) Here she references a few studies too:
      http://barnqueenadventures.com/working-horses-in-cold-weather/

      The problem with these studies is that they don't talk about the horses' previous acclimation to the temperatures they are being exposed to and they don't talk about long warm-ups. If no one could work a horse in below zero temps, the people with working ranches up in Montana would be screwed, for example. People in Canada and the Dakotas still ride in the winter because otherwise throughout the year they'd spend more time not riding than riding. Their temperatures are positively arctic, but their horses are also used to those temperatures.

      You don't do super strenuous work with Quest and have great common sense and horse sense, so I wouldn't be too worried. ;) I wouldn't work her *hard enough to get her respiratory rate up* (this will depend on the horse; some horses can do walk, trot and even some very short canter sets without getting their respiratory rate up; others need to stay at walk only) if the temperatures are unusually crazy low for your area, but when you're hitting averages and it's been in those temps for a few consecutive days, I wouldn't hesitate to do what you normally do with her. You're a great horse mom! :)

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    2. Thank you for the resources, I'll be doing some reading tonight (: I think Quest had at least 1-2 winters in NJ/colder weather so she is somewhat acclimated and she doesn't get winded from our lunging sessions either so I guess we are doing okay! And thank you for the encouragement <3 first-time horse ownership is fun but there is sooo much to learn!

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  7. this weather really has me bummed - but nice way to capitalize! and yea, i think we should have an equestrian blogger meet up in PR - that would be awesome haha

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  8. I just wanted to weigh in that when I lived in North Dakota, I routinely rode in temps below zero, and even rode in wind chills in the -60 to -80 range (this is yet another reason that I do not live there anymore). I didn't necessarily ride for hours - probably more like 30-45 minutes when it was below zero, but I did canter and my horse, who had COPD, never had a single issue (she only ever had problems breathing in warm, humid weather). In fact, keeping her in regular work seemed to be the best thing for her because it kept her weight in a good place and kept her fit. She was acclimated to the weather for the most part (although I'm not sure anything can really acclimate to those extreme wind chills). She lived outside 100% of the time with no blanket and no shelter and grew about 10 inches of hair. She never had any issues with cold until she got older and we moved "south" to Iowa, where winters were not really an improvement. I did start blanketing her and she lived in a stall part of the time, but I still rode her and my other horse in below zero temperatures without issue for the horses (I was constantly freezing and in danger of frostbite even when riding in face masks and multiple layers of gloves - the secret was to keep moving, I guess).

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    1. I had been hoping you'd add your 2 cents to this conversation Gail, since you have ridden in the most extreme wind chills of us all! Thank you for the input. I did so much walking my first winter here because my first BM insisted horses couldn't be worked in temps below freezing. It never made sense to me given situations like yours, where horses are worked successfully without issue in arctic temperatures. Thank you! (And I still don't know how you did it! I can't imagine)

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