Baby it's Getting Cold Outside!

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Winter?s barely here ? we haven't even had measureable snow yet, setting a new record for the latest date for that to happen in my area ? but I'm already grumbling about the cold temperatures.? The dumb part about the complaining is that once I actually get moving about outside, it's not so bad. ?I prefer working in the colder temperatures over sweating.

And, with the mild winter so far, we're saving on hay, not feeding as much as we usually do.? that's going to change shortly, though, as the temperature?s going to dip sharply at the end of the week.

The horses are drinking their water well, probably due to the weather, too, so I haven't increased the salt in their grain yet. ?They get added salt all year round, but I increase it a bit in the colder weather to encourage more drinking. You might think I'm crazy about this water thing. (I know one woman who had a horse I was interested looked like I was from Ork when I asked if the horse I drank his water well.)

But if you?ve lost a horse due to impaction colic, you understand. I remember thinking later, "Gee, he never really drank as much water as the others." ? I'm also good about giving all the horses Ration Plus each night, as it helps keep the old digestive tract efficient and healthy. ?There isn?t enough I can do to keep my horses healthy, even if it means shivering in the cold, doing barn chores.

Of course, we're watching for scratches/dew poisoning on fetlocks and rain rot developing under those warm winter coats. (Remember: cold+wet+wind = a very miserable horse!) ?When my horse's coat is dry, I do a good currying, using an old-fashioned oval rubber curry comb that you can put some elbow grease into, and follow that up with the vacuum. It's so much easier than brushing through those coats, and that vacuum still sucks the dirt out of the hair like it was still new . . . as long as I remember to change the bag inside!

Tonight the girls (our three mares: Sally, Paz and Kelsey) were very well behaved, all entering the barn like ladies and heading for their own stall. They just love to play Musical Stalls on me some nights, running into one another?s stalls to grab the waiting treat in their stable mate?s bucket before returning to their own stall and getting that treat, too.? The treats were a great idea for training each horse to go to their own stall. The only wrinkle in the plan was when Kelsey discovered there was a treat in EVERY stall. (Darn that Kelsey! SHe's too smart for us!)

In fact, they were so good tonight that, with Christmas on my mind, I momentarily thought they might be worried about Santa Claus bringing coal instead of carrots. But we all know that's not going to happen . . . Santa carries carrots by the gross to leave in horse barns everywhere on Christmas Eve, doesn't he'