Note: This is day six in my 30-day blogging challenge. What the heck is a 30-day blogging challenge? Read about it here.
Snoopy had to endure ridicule from the other horses every time I gave him his winter reverse mohawk. Sorry, buddy.
Complaining about the cold in winter is sort of ridiculous. We know it’s coming every year. We have ample opportunity to stock up on long underwear and hand warmers. If we’re cold, we have no one to blame but ourselves.
On the other hand, complaining is sort of how we modern humans bond with one another. We unite against a common enemy, like long-running road construction projects or the lack of decent Thai food in our neighborhood, and we go to battle against it by kvetching. And the weather is so universal, complaining about it is almost a surefire way to forge a friendship with anyone standing nearby. Unless that person is a die-hard skier or something, and then you’re out of luck.
Still, I’m not going to complain about the cold (out loud, at this moment.) But I do have some things to say about some other effects of winter weather that are starting to get on my nerves every time I’m out at the barn.
- Static. The dry air is doing funny things with my horse’s hair. If I make the mistake of trying to comb through some of the many dirt-filled tangles in Snoopy’s tail, that tail will then follow me wherever I go. It’s worse when he’s blanketed and that nice synthetic inner lining is rubbing against his fur every time he moves. Fortunately, he doesn’t react to the static snapping that thunders down his back as I remove his blanket the way I think I would. Maybe the fuzzy coat insulates him from the shocks. Speaking of that fuzzy coat, I know the worst of the static effect is yet to come. When he starts shedding that coat in a month or so, those hairs will attach themselves to my clothing and any exposed skin—including my face—and refuse to let go.
- Frozen manure. Yes, massive amounts of poop are part of horsekeeping, but in the winter, they become serious hazards. How many manure fork tines have been lost to a pile that looked scoopable, but was actually frozen solid to the ground? How many toes have been stubbed on these icy obstacles by horse owners trying to find their horses in the field after an early winter sunset? They’re a serious problem.
- Grooming conundrums. This one is especially for my friends in the Morgan and Arabian communities, and anyone else whose breed or discipline favors an absurdly long bridle path. How stupid do those bridle paths look when clipped out of the middle of 2” long winter fur? Even though I now keep Snoopy’s bridle path at a more sensible distance—just wide enough for a headstall, as the name would imply—keeping it clipped during the fuzzy season is still an imperfect art. You can tell which side of him I was standing on by how much fur has been removed along one side of the bridle path. Sure, I could just let the whole thing grow out, but then I have mane hair getting tangled up in his halter and bridle and the more I have to mess with it, the more aggravated I get (see #1).
Now don’t you feel like we’ve bonded? Tell me about your winter annoyances in the comments below. Let’s be friends.
Back to The Near Side
Leslie Potter is Sr. Associate Web Editor of @LeslieInLex.. Follow her on Twitter: