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Muddy January Thaw and Horses

horse in snow

Snow is simply so much easier to deal with in the horse paddock than the mud it leaves behind. | Photo courtesy of Horse Journal

Ever wonder if all horse people go through what you go through to keep your horses healthy, safe and sound? Do you sometimes think it’s just you pinching pennies and skipping keeping up with fashion? But it’s worth it all, isn’t it? We hope you’ll enjoy Horse Journaleditor Cynthia Foley’s blog about spending Friday night playing in the mud at her barn:

I just returned from the barn after doing evening chores. I’m trying to decide if I prefer below freezing temperatures and snow or warmer weather with melting snow, rain and . . . yup . . . mud.

The back of the barn was a sea of melting waters, all of which seemed to want to pool right where the horses will go out in the morning. That would become an ice-skating rink overnight, and I certainly don’t want to risk a horse slipping and getting hurt (the heck with the two-legged inhabitants – they should know better than to try to walk over ice!).

So, after bringing the horses in, I got a heavy rake and moved the flow of the water, so it ran down the little incline behind the barn, off under the fence and into the woods.  I’m sure there will be some water still pooling there in the morning, but I had quite a good stream going, so most of it will be diverted.

And I had a ball doing it.

It’s Friday night, and the weekend’s here.  That means a couple of days off to be stress-free, have fun and avoid work (I never consider farm chores “work”!). Lots of people (especially the younger ones) head to the shopping mall.  How that’s entertainment, I’ll never understand. If they had horses, they wouldn’t be doing that.

For one thing, they wouldn’t want a bunch of new clothes because the clothing just gets worn into the barn sooner or later anyway  (I’m notorious about ruining “work” shoes in the barn!).  I buy clothes I really need, like tall rubber boots and waterproof gloves.  Maybe it’s because of the horses I don’t buy fancy outfits. All my spare funds to go feed, hay, bedding, the vet and the farrier.  But I don’t mind. Shopping malls bore me.

So, my Friday night’s just perfect, as I listen to the melodic sound of my horses munching their grain. Raking away the water-stream-blocking mud and debris, I hear my mare Sally nickering loudly at me. She watches me play in the mud between her bites of grain. She reminds me of a parent yelling at the kids in the backyard, “Get back in here before you catch a cold out there in the cold rain and mud.”  (She’s always telling me what to do.) But I’ve never caught a cold that way. I think it’s because all this enjoyable physical work keeps me healthy and strong and, of course, because I wash may hands frequently.

Now, warm and dry and back in the house, I realize once again how lucky we are to have horses – even in the middle of a January thaw.  There’s no better way to spend a Friday night.

Categories: Horse Journal Magazine.

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3 Responses

  1. Nice article .. couldn`t have said it better !

  2. How true! Who needs fancy cloths when you have horses. You said it all, Cynthia! :-)
    Nothing is better than to pack with your horses.

  3. Don’t you just love that sound of all the horses crunching on their grain…especially if it is raining or snowing outside? Your article expresses my sentiments exactly!!

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