Punks Kid Rock is the registered name of my American Quarter horse gelding, Rocky. This blog chronicles our adventures together,
as well as stories from my horse past and, occasionally, a tidbit from my non horse life.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Feels like -30

This week in weather, the northern part of the United States is freaking COLD.  There are wind chill advisories in red all over the place, saying not to go outside unless it's absolutely necessary.  Weather channels were all over predicting it was coming, so the day it was supposed to start dropping in the afternoon, I went up to the barn in the early afternoon- what can I say, I like to sleep in.  It also didn't seem too bad at my house.

At the barn, the wind howled, rattling the roof and snapping nearby tarps viciously.  Snow tornadoes lived and died in the arena, and I huddled in the warming room knowing that my plans of a quick trail ride were this side of crazy.  Instead, I took my boy in and switched blankets from his medium weight to his heavy weight.
Now he's in Hollyberry plaid to keep him warm! Silver put two round bales without hay nets in each pasture so the horses can eat to their heart's content- and to warm their bellies.  Still, I felt bad for Ella's dam, Liza, and for Ella.  I don't own a blanket that would fit Ella, but Rocky's extra would fit Liza fine. I tried to go up to the house to ask Silver if she thought Bryan would mind me putting a blanket on his mare, but she wasn't there.

I decided I would put it on anyway, especially because her coat wasn't as thick as it could have been.  Liza was skittish about being caught, edging away from me as soon as she saw me coming with a halter.  I scooted her off with my lead rope, but the second she considered not running away I backed off. Other horses nuzzled near to say hello, but she was a suspicious lady.
Exhibit A: Rocky is happy to see me :)
She finally allowed me to walk up to her and put the halter on.  Her eyes were wider than they should have been, but she accepted it.  My mom was nervous, and tried to convince me not to put the blanket on her.  She was convinced I was going to get kicked in the head; a possibility, I'll grant, but I kept a close eye on her and took my time making sure I wasn't scaring her.  When I walked her over to where my mom stood holding the blanket, she started to side step anxiously.

My mom started tugging on her, trying to get her to stop. I took the lead rope away from her, telling my mom to let go.  I allowed Liza to move her feet but kept my hand near her eye to keep her away from me.  As soon as I wasn't trying to force her to be still, she stopped and stood quietly.  I handed the rope back to my mom and told her to keep her hand up.

Liza was still a bit worried until I tossed the blanket over her back and starting rolling it out over her back.  As I worked, her eyes got soft and she obligingly moved so the wind would blow the straps closer to me, not away.  She seemed to realize that the blanket was keeping the worst of the wind from chilling her, and stood still to let me strap it on her.

I finished, praised her, and let her go.  She stood with us for a few seconds, accepting the neck rubs, then cantered back to the hay pile.  Within a minute she was chewing happily on hay.  That night I sent Bryan a message letting him know what I'd done.  He seemed okay with it (through type, anyway) but assured me that "she was used to -30 so she would have been fine."

I'm not sure how horses "get used to" -30, but I know she would have survived the few days of freezing temperatures without a blanket.  Wild horses do it every winter, without a constant supply of easy hay and water.  Except for the ones who die, but that's life in the wild.  Anyway, I felt bad that she didn't have a blanket on, I had an extra, and I used it.

I should have asked permission before doing it, and that is where I become overly helpful.  I see something I think is fixable, and I "fix" it often without thinking of the human element.  Liza is not my horse and I did not have permission to touch her, specifically, only Ella.  However, if someone had done me the same favor, I would have been grateful.  Thing is, I still have what I am going to coin as "helper's guilt."


Here's a fun maternity test for everyone.  This is Ella (the filly whose butt is facing the camera):

Which mare is her dam? 

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