Saturday, January 04, 2014

cold day, huge equine work-out

Yesterday the high was around 32 degrees here, and with winds gusting up to 35 mph it felt colder. I pulled out my trusty 18-year old Lands End knee-length squall parka and wore it over my pajamas to do morning chores. I was warm as toast.

I only need this level of warmth a few times a year if at all, but when needed, it is perfect. A couple of years ago the zipper broke and I contacted Lands End, who offered me either a new parka or paid shipping for the existing one so they could send it out to be repaired. I opted to send in my old trusty coat. A couple of weeks later it came back nicely repaired with November Hill hay remnants still in the pockets. 

Before I went out yesterday morning, I glimpsed flashes of color through the kitchen window. A closer look revealed Keil Bay and Cody in the arena, walking, trotting, and cantering, then galloping around. In emerald green and purple plaid. The Little Man was in the open gate watching, and the donkeys were right behind him.

Cody tends to go a bit wild in his arena work-outs, but Keil Bay, trained in dressage his entire life, offers circles of the usual size, shoulder-in, flying changes, and generally seems to be doing a shuffle of all the dressage tests he's ever learned. Cody arches his neck and tosses his head and Keil is perfectly "on the bit" - just in front of the vertical.

I had already determined it was going to be a day I did not ride, but this cemented that decision. They took care of their stretching and opening all by themselves!

Last night the predicted temp was 13 degrees. My barn thermometer said 0 just before sunrise this morning. Husband put out 3x the usual amount of hay and they had cleaned it up. They had also broken through the ice on the water trough and drank enough that the water level was visibly lower this morning. Every year when ice forms (usually less times than the fingers on both my hands during winter season) I consider whether to get water heaters for the troughs. And every year they keep drinking the cold water and I figure it's probably best to keep things as they are. They get salt in their feed tubs both morning and night, and if we have several of these extremely low temp nights in a row I warm up the troughs with hot water. 

Today we're entering a warm-up that will last until Monday, when the night's temp is predicted to be 11 degrees. We're on that crazy weather rollercoaster again.

Writing-wise: I continued working on exploring the minds of two characters, did some research on an old hotel in Paris - which reminds me - has anyone stayed in one you'd recommend? I am looking for something old and expensive, but most of all distinctive. I'll be traveling there via the internet only, so cost is no object. :)

I also returned to my chapter by chapter editing of Never Not Broken. The chapter I'm on right now is getting almost a total rewrite, so I'll be working on it again today.


Grey Horse Matters said...

So nice that they exercised themselves in the cold so you didn't have to. Leaves more time for writing and editing.

I'm surprised it's so cold by you. On top a a fairly huge snowstorm we had -11 last night. I think it's up to about 4 degrees right now. Hope this cold front moves through quickly and it warms up soon.

Stay warm in your toasty coat!

billie said...

I really did want to ride, but not if I have to bundle up from head to toe and brave the wind on top of that - so I was happy they took matters into their own hooves. :)

We have a few really cold nights a year here - some years more than others - but I am fairly sure we have never seen 0 on that barn thermometer before!

Calm, Forward, Straight said...

Love the self exercising equine - especially lately. Also enjoying the more frequent posting... :D

We're not getting nearly as cold as you in-state, but Monday the temps are predicted to go from 60 to 25.

I've upped the salt for the last few weeks. I dump and refill the water every feeding, mostly because since it's well water, it's a consistent temp - in the 50's.

Makes me feel proactive I guess - cause the weather sure appears to be out of control. ;D

billie said...

Same here with well water - I was just out refilling all buckets with well water. I've found that if we fill the big troughs to the brims they don't freeze as quickly or as thickly.

I don't know what's up with our extreme low last night - except that we are near the lake and sometimes do get odd extremes that can go in either direction.

I'm glad tonight won't be quite that bad!!