Tuesday, December 24, 2019

Inclement Weather Nights

As winter unfolds, so does my routine with the horses at home. I'm learning all about ice poop picking, how to best manage the dry lot in wet and frozen conditions, and how to minimize the amount of work for myself in the process.

I've quickly learned that I would much rather muck a stall than the dry lot when conditions are below freezing. As much as I want the horses to have the greatest amount of turnout possible, when conditions fluctuate between rain-freezing rain-snow, I'd simply rather stuff them in their stalls and let them ride it out inside. It doesn't only save me work, it also saves them from being pelted with intense winds and freezing/rain snow that are so typical of our high elevation home.

My biggest lesson in minimizing work for myself so far, is to make certain to muck the hell out of the dry lot right before temperatures are forecasted to plummet below freezing. Letting the dry lot freeze over when it is clean of manure makes everything so much easier.

After days of rain and a bit of wet snow here and there, the dry lot was a pig sty. This was despite my mucking twice daily!
As soon as things thawed out - amidst a drenching above-freezing rain, I raked and mucked the hell out of the dry lot.
It is tedious AF to rake all those little piles, but the end result is SO PLEASING.
And I finished just in the nick of time before the rain turned to snow (again) and proceeded to deliver us 7" of snow prior to switching back to rain (2") and the back to snow again (1").

This minimizes the amount of ice poop picking I have to do (and the number of muck rake tines I destroy...), while also keeping the horses from having to endure the bitter combination of freezing precipitation and wind.

Frozen, wind blown tail hairs. Yikes!
A fashion statement maybe?
Then again, maybe not...
Those frosted ears though...
The horses were none too pleased about so much inside time at first, but with repetitive nights inside (and the occasional day here and there when the weather is downright nasty), they all seem much happier with their accommodations. As it stands now, any time we've got variable precipitation changes expected overnight or have winds forecasted to be greater than 15mph with temps (prior to windchill) in the 30s°F, I bring the horses inside.

As a result of more time inside, Grif and Q are both starting to keep neater stall than they first did (Stan has always been immaculate and I love him for it). Additionally, each of the horses politely exit their stalls - sometimes even refuse to leave! lol - when the time comes for turnout and rarely do they all bounce in the dry lot and squeal with contained energy following an extended stall stay.

Everyone happily munching hay
Happy horses!

I think it is safe to say that we're all pretty happy with the new routine and accommodations! But who wouldn't be happy about getting to escape windy, wet, and cold conditions?


  1. There's something so satisfying about getting that routine right so everyone is happy and work is streamlined 🤗 glad you are getting it set and that the horses are so happy!

  2. I love when the horses are tucked in their stalls munching on hay and it is horrid weather outside.

    Glad you are getting a system down! Still LOVE YOUR bARN (and dry lot natch)! :)

    1. Horses in the barn munching hay is my version of the Yule log channel lol. Probably the same for you! <3

  3. Your routine is similar to mine. Carmen is quite happy to ride out a storm inside. Irish gets cranky about it. I too try to pick poop when the temps allow. But now I’m likely not going to be able to until spring. I hate that part.

  4. Pig used to plant his feet in the barn by the river when it was raining. He hated being in a field with no rain shelter. I'm sure yours are adjusting to the new normal weather as much as you are!

  5. This reminds me of the barn where I boarded Gambler at first. I loved having a stall for cold winter nights. The horses eventually learned their stalls. I would open the stall door and they would walk right into the correct stall.

  6. Your barn is just so darn pretty! (I mis-located your blog when you were still building, so missed a lot... working my way backwards) Glad they are getting more used to their lovely, spacious stalls. What are you using for the swing-away blanket racks? Actual horse ones, or something hacked? I get aggravated jamming blankets onto the usual mounted bar.

    1. It's a horse-specific blanket rack from State Line Tack. Not the greatest for drying wet blankets as they're not quite that large, but they definitely do the trick for storing everyone's blankets!