Tuesday, January 22, 2013

It's COLD!

Having been felled by the flu for the past week, I am finally beginning to feel human again. I should have realized that I was being cocky when I bragged last Monday that I had not caught the flu from Isaiah, who came home from school Friday January 11 with a fever. For the next couple of days I had a feverish 6 year old glued to me. Typically I would have been sick by Sunday night....that is how the timing usually works for me, so I figured I was safe. Isaiah was off to school on Monday recovered excpet for a lingering cough. I was relieved to have been spared. Tuesday morning I had a scratchy throat, by Tuesday night I had a fever, chills, aches.... uggh! Fortunately Deb and Toby were taking care of the girls Wednesday, but they ended up filling in for me on Thursday and Friday as well. Saturday I made a brief visit, still exhausted from the flu.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Still feeling the after effects (and deep chest cough) from the flu I went out to the girls late in the afternoon. The warmth of the day was turning into an evening chill, and temperatures were expected to continue to plummet. The sun felt warm and I tilted my face to the sky when I got out of my car by the barn savoring what was sure to be the last of the warmth for awhile. As I turned to look for the girls at the top of their pastures I heard Suki nicker as she trotted toward the gate. The trot turned into a gallop and Nikki followed immediately after in her field. If anything was going to make me feel better it is the sight of my beautiful girls so clearly demonstrating their joy in my arrival.

Suki was, of course, muddy from head to toe. Nikki is usually not as ambitious with her rolling so was not quite as bad. It felt good to be with them, even though the grooming process was completely draining! Preparing for the drop in temperatures I bundled them up a little warmer. Suki had dropped a little weight a month or so ago, and although her grain has been increased, and she gets a large quantity of hay, I am not seeing that much of an improvement. The girls are wormed regularly so I don't think that has anything to do with it. I am thinking that maybe the addition of some Equine Senior may help. They both get Fast Track supplement and although I stopped the flax seed supplement I give them flax cookies instead. I am not a fan of beet pulp so I will have to investigate feeds and supplements to determine my next step. One of my concerns is that she is no longer getting the same feed that I had her on when we moved there, although it is the same protein content. Saturday I will talk to the folks at Oley Valley Feed and see what they suggest.

Once again with the extreme cold I am concerned about the tips of Suki's ears and the danger of frost bite. The edges where the original tips came off do not have hair. My veterinarians have assured me that this is not a problem. It never has been, but I just like to worry about it!

Monday, January 21, 2013
As predicted the temperatures have dipped with colder weather and strong winds headed our way tonight and tomorrow. The girls seemed warm in their clothing so I dindn't change anything, but I will re-evaluate Tuesday. The water buckets are not heated so hopefully the buckets will not freeze over night. Suki and Nikki both drain their two buckets daily and it is crucial for horses to remain well hydrated in the winter. I think sometimes that people forget that.

Days like this always make me say "Now I know why people take their horses to Florida in the winter". Maybe some day I will be joining them. I like to think I will be able to do this after my book is published and then Suki and I can do some "meet and greet" and book signings While I have Nikki down there competing. Of course it doesn't help that every day on Dressage Daily are reports about the fabulous show season where the who's who of the equestrian gather to prepare for the regular season and make their mark. Granted, there are primarily "regular" people competing as well. But the winter in Wellington/West Palm really does offer the opportunity to watch riders at the top of the sport.

But I honestly do love winter. It is making me a little blue this year because the lack of indoor will prevent me from riding until spring, and at this rate I may not be able to even lunge the girls for awhile. And my goal of finding dressage clinics to audit has not been very successful either. Maybe in February....Watching others have lessons might not seem like much but it does sharpen the eye and learn what to do and not to do! Something I always find entertaining is when the clinic is with a celebrity rider that often end with a Q & A session. I find that while some have genuine questions based on what they have observed that day others take the opportunity to brag about themslves and their horses. In fact, at the end of their monologue it is often difficult to dissect the question that is allegedley hidden in the carefully planned speech! Such fun! Maybe I should just go spend the day with Heather and watch her teach all day.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013
Because of the extreme cold and wind I decided to do abbreviated grooming and spa for the girls tonight. I brushed everything not covered by a blanket, picked feet and conditioned tails. The only areas I moisturized on Suki were her face and neck, just what is exposed to the elements. Adding another layer to each of them they were good for the night. My fingers were frozen but the girls are cozy and warm. A thin layer of ice had formed on their water buckets which had been filled in the morning so I swirled the water around to get rid of any chunks. Bundled with a scarf around my head I ran to my car! I have a really great scarf from when I lived in upstate New York that fits over my head, under a riding helmet then ties like a scarf. It's awesome! The cold is here to stay for awhile so I guess we'd better get used to it!

Suki soaking up the sun

Nikki sucking up for a treat

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