Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Winter Has Arrived

And it's way too early. 

November in NJ is usually crisp and cool, but not terribly cold. Not this year. Monday was 50 and raining, then the rain cleared out and the temperature plummeted to 25. Brrrr. 

I spent most of Monday winterizing the farm: mulching the garden, bedding stalls and installing the heater for the stock tank. 

This is the first year I've had a stock tank. I used to use muck tubs as my water tanks because they're easier to dump and clean. I even had heated muck tubs for the winter. They were nice, the heating unit is built into the tub, so all you have to do is plunk it down and plug it in. So convenient. Unfortunately, Jack likes to go "swimming" in any water he can find, and the little tubs can't withstand 17.2h worth of 4 year old exuberance. I had to get a big stock tank to keep Jack from breaking any more tubs. 

The stock tanks have a drain in the bottom to install the heater (sold separately, of course). You have to drain the tub, flip it over, pull out the plug assembly, install the heater into the plug hole with all the gaskets in the right places, then flip the tub back over and fill it back up. After filling it, I hunted down an extension cord and got ready to plug it all in.....

had flipped it over right on top of the €£%}<€£*~?€! plug! And, with the heater installed, there's no longer a drain plug. I had to heave the whole stupid thing over, clean the mud off the plug and refill it. 

Once that was done, it was time to break out the winter blankets for the horses. This was when I discovered that Spots has apparently never worn a blanket before. 

Honestly, it never even occurred to me that this might be a problem. He has tolerated every single thing I've done to him so far, and I've lived in NJ and been a DQ long enough that I just automatically assume that all horses know about wearing blankets. 

As soon as I approached Spots with the blanket, his eyes started to roll and he got all snorty. No big deal, it was a new blanket and sometimes they act goofy on the first blanketing of the season. I showed him the blanket, scratched his wither and got him settled down, then started to put the blanket on. That's when all hell broke loose.

It became very clear very quickly that Spots was having none of this "blanket" business and it was already after dark. Since I was not prepared to introduce Blanketing 101 to him in the dark, it wasn't raining anymore and he has a thick winter coat and shelter, I decided to just let him be and revisit it in the morning. 

This morning I found him bright and chipper and not at all cold, although he did side eye the hell out of me to make sure I didn't have any of those horse-eating blankets with me. He also figured out very quickly that the two blanketed Thoroughbreds were cold and didn't want to leave their stalls, which meant he could use his cold-hardiness to execute raids on the hay piles in their stalls without being chased. 

I am going to work with him on the blanketing, because it's something he needs to know and I just bought him a brand new, non-returnable blanket. I didn't work on it today, though, because we're having 30 mph winds and I decided that was not the ideal condition in which to teach a horse that blankets aren't scary. 


  1. Winter's here too. Wind chills below zero most of the day. Yuck. Hope we don't have a winter like the last one.

  2. lol I have seen that blanket face before. Appies are hardy at least!

  3. The weather yesterday was insane. My stock tanks are all super full so I just broke ice and removed it. I will have to battle with the plugs today though...

  4. hah omg!! Love that water play pic

  5. so i would probably cry if i filled a water tub right on top of the plug like that... how frustrating! and silly Spot... at least he's cool with the cold!

  6. That picture of poneh splashing in water is perfection! Haha

  7. LOL Jack and Spot both crack me up. Such characters. You gotta love them. :)

    That sucks about the cord, but at least nothing was broken so it was easily fixed. Try to stay warm! This early winter thing is awful. I was so not ready for it at all!

  8. If he has thrived this long without one, why blanket him?

    I can hardly believe how cold it was a few days last week. Not cold for my horse, but definitely cold for me!


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