It snowed a little while I was out of town, but has rained nonstop since my return on Wednesday — that’s 41 hours of steady rain so far, most of it pouring. Rock and Salsa are in their raincoats 24/7, and they have begun their winter routine of days in the individual feeding pens and nights in the big turnout in the front.
Salsa wasn’t too sure about the whole blanket thing when we tried it on before the rains began.
Our neighbor generously lets us use his land and that’s where Rocky mostly stays, but we learned last winter that the back 40 gets too muddy to be safe during the wet months. Rocky lost nine shoes to the sucking mud and we only found six, and his hooves got overly soft from never having relief from the mud. Erin and her team did a lot of maintenance on the property this fall to improve the drainage and prevent the erosion, so it’s looking a lot better than it did last year, but why take chances?
So now they get to be in individual pens during the day, and the front turnout at night. This is excellent especially for Rocky who could use some exposure. The back 40 is the biggest pen and I love that he gets to live there but at the same time it’s in the back of the ranch and he doesn’t get exposed to the road, the oat pellet delivery truck, the silo, people coming and going, etc. Where he is now, he can watch the comings and goings of the whole ranch.
Tomorrow I’m going to take both horses into the covered arena to spend a few hours naked in the sand, let them roll and roll and roll until the itchy of the blanket is erased. Rocky was making camel faces today when I scratched around all the edges so I know he needs it. Salsa is back to acting aloof and even disdaining me, as I have spent so little time with him in the past few weeks. Work and travel mostly, the weather partly.
Today I bought a warm head thingie for ears and forehead, a fleece-lined knit hat, and the thickest gloves I’ve had since my childhood snow mittens. The gloves have some grippy stuff on the fingers and palms so I can actually hold brushes and hoof pics. They’re all high-tech, so they will be good for the teen- and twenty-something temperatures when the only horsetime I get is evening. I figure with this new gear, my Toasties, and my merino wool base layer, I have no excuse for falling off the program just because it’s cold or wet or dark.
Meanwhile my Patterns maps just sit there on the wall without any new checks, and my horses lose respect the longer I appear planless… although isn’t undemanding time a big part of the plan, too? Recent Parelli article said it’s one of the most important and most underused arrows in our quivers. I believe it still counts if I bring them into the arena for UDT; it doesn’t have to be in the pasture or turnout. It’s just that when I decide to segue into demanding time, I need to get back on the patterns program again.
I should make a blog category called “fell off the patterns again” because I know I do this at least once a month.