Winter for me means keeping a set of 'morning' clothes - my snow jacket, thick trackie dacks, my favorite long red and black checkered socks and quite often a beanie or ear warmer and scarf. I get dressed twice in the morning in winter.
Winter is fluffy horses, cold pony-nose kisses, rugs, rugs and more rugs, and even more hay than rugs. Riding in the semi-darkness with the plug-in standing flood lights that are not much taller than me (i.e. either blinding when riding towards, or totally blind riding away!). Weekend rides where horses get WAY too sweaty. Not much riding at all really. Very little to no grass. Vests. Cold nose, ears and fingers while you try to ride and not get dribbly-nose drops on your horse.
Winter is the time of year when we pay for all the lovely warm daylight hours, fat horses, warm breezes and dry ground that we enjoy during the warmer times of the year. Winter isn't so bad here, you can still normally ride outside every day, there is absolutely no chance of snow where I live. It is normally crisp and sunny during the day. But when it rains it rains in the afternoon, after work, when you want to ride. Every time.
I don't mind winter, it's the daylight savings and the thongs I miss the most. (These type of thongs, not this type!)
Aussies feel the cold. We do. These pictures are from the coldest morning we had over the last winter - it froze all the water in the pipes and in the animal's water troughs. It was a freak of nature morning. It was -3 deg Celsius (26.6 Fahrenheit). I think I wore my winter morning uniform to bed. Under the doona and 3 blankets too. This year I'm getting an electric blanket dammit!
|Brick sitting on top of the dog's water.|
|Me, my winter morning uniform, ice sheet from the horse's water trough and my headless horse thermometer.|
|Ice! This is a big deal people!|
|Ponies didn't seam to mind. They were extra fluffy that morning though.|
|After a rug change.|
My neighbor told me that the water in the troughs at her place didn't melt until 3pm that day. I had to get a brick to smash mine, even with boiling water.
What I find really interesting is what winter means to others? I once got an email from a friend... I'll look for it...
"Whaddya reckon about this? I was reading on a forum today about what people feed their horses. Apparently in Wiltshire, UK where it goes to -6 degrees each night, they feed EACH horse an 18kg bale of hay plus 2kg of hard feed (she said grain)... EVERY MORNING... AND EVERY NIGHT. 2 bales of hay per horse per day! Wow! They were saying that in cold weather, you need to feed ad lib hay, these horses don't have any fat on them at all so they know they are not over-feeding them! Everyone on there was saying that that was fine. How bizarre is that? Can you imagine the feed bill? No wonder no-one can afford a horse in the UK!"
It blew my mind away, having to feed a horse that much! 40kg (88.20 lb) of feed every day. My horses get maybe 4-5 biscuits of hay a day max in winter. It's all they need, plus maybe one or two smallish hard feeds (no more than 1kg grain a day normally excluding chaff, but this year I have a big warmblood who will be in work so we shall see how much feed she needs!). Probably about 10-15kg feed all up.
So how do you manage your horses over winter? What does winter mean to you? I would like to know!