Thursday, December 24, 2009

No More Dread and Merry Christmas!

I'm one of those people who's pretty good in an emergency - I tend to stay calm, focussed and in the moment, and don't stop thinking and don't waste a lot of time worrying. It's when I have time to anticipate things that I worry - I'm a master of worst-case scenario thinking, particularly about things over which I have no control. If there's something that could go wrong, I anticipate it and worry about it. Now this does have its advantages - where prior planning can prevent a problem or allow me to be prepared, I'm there. But there's a big disadvantage - all that worrying can be tiring and stressful (to me and those around me) and more often than not, the thing I'm worried about doesn't even happen, or is less bad than I anticipated it would be. But then again, sometimes it's even worse, which reinforces my tendency to worry.

I particularly worry about the weather - I have to stay on top of it because I'm the one who does blanketing and turnout, and I also have to worry if severe weather is threatening. But I especially worry about ice. Our barn and its surrounding terrain are laid out in such a way that we have significant issues with ice at some point almost every winter. One winter two years ago we had 20" of snow, followed the next day by over 2" of rain and a severe cold spell with temperatures well below freezing - the result was an uninterrupted expanse of ice in all the dry-lots, aisles, paddocks and everywhere around the barn. It was barely possible for people to even get in or out of the barn without falling down, and the horses were trapped in their stalls - we have no indoor for winter riding or turnout - for almost two weeks. All we could do was hand-walk in our very short barn aisle, and endlessly top up water and hay and pick stalls. At the very end of that hellish time, the sun melted a small area of ice directly in front of the south barn door, and it was possible to walk the horses in a small circle out there - their first outside breath of air in a long time. All the horses survived - not a single colic, even from the horses subject to impactions.

This year, I'm trying to stay focussed on one day at a time, and not fret too much about what hasn't happened yet. I can deal with it when it arrives, and dealing with it mentally before it happens is just a waste of time - this is what I tell myself, but sometimes it's less than successful, but I'll keep working on it. Dreading what's coming next is a great way not to be fully present right now.

But then there's the weather forecast I'm keeping my eye on - we've got several inches of snow on the ground, and everything's iced over right now, then it's going to rain heavily and be in the mid-30s this afternoon and tonight, then get quite cold and snow some more . . . Repeat after me: no dread! That's one of my resolutions for 2010 - no more dread! I'm off to the barn to hand-walk horses - no turnout today!

And a very merry holiday season to all of you and your family, friends and beasts of all types!


  1. Hello Kate, vey merry christmas to you and your gang! Hope the ice stayes away but if it doesn't here's what we used to do in Poland (similar problem with snow followed by rain = deadly ice): the stables owner would get tree cutters to drop a grand pile of woodchip behind one of the barns and we had a big pile of sand/grit ready too. It was super hard work to spread it in a shape of little paths but we were able to get horses in and out and not break any legs in the process.
    Good luck and Have the best of New Years :)

  2. Merry Christmas Kate from another worrier!! x

  3. From one worrywart to another, Merry Christmas!


    I try and justify my worrying as planning ahead and being prepared, but it often goes beyond that...

    Hope the weather isn't as nasty as forecast!

  4. Merry Christmas and a Happy Healthy New Year!

    There's not sense worrying about what will or will not happen. I know it's not easy as I do the same thing, but if we can't stop it then we'll just have to deal with it when it finally does happen right?

  5. I'm not much of a worrier. I subscribe to the biblical principle that worrying never added a moment to anyone's life, nor did it ever solve any problem.

    Although it is currently raining, it's supposed to turn to snow, so Dallasites will be treated to the rare white Christmas.

    A very merry Christmas to you and yours!

  6. Merry Christmas! I can not relate to the ice but I can relate to the worrying. I will be worrying about my horses all break long as I am flying to Ohio to visit family this year!

  7. Merry Christmas Kate and crew!! Heres to an amazing 2010!

  8. Worrying is a good thing, in moderation. I also worry ahead...including worrying that I worry too much :)

    Have a great holiday.

  9. Wiola's plan sounds practicable. Add a little salt to the mix. We have on occasion, in different lands, put down straw and set fire to it to clear the ice beneath.

  10. Have a great Christmas Kate :) And please be careful in this icy weather.

  11. Have a happy Christmas and with that weather be very careful

  12. I think the words 'worry' and 'horses' simply belong in the same sentence, they just go together! I worry a lot as well, it is hard not to when you are responsbile for such fragile creatures who often seem determined to play out our worst case scenarios. Sometimes I am amazed that horses are not extinct. I have learned to worry less over the years simply because I now know that I have successfully handled a wide variety of situations on the farm. I guess I have finally realized that we will get through it although it might be pretty painful. I don't know how many times a day I say to myself "everything happens for a reason."

  13. May the Holiday be free of worry for you and may the wind blow fair. In the end, all you can really do is prepare as best you can and accept what happens with a positive spirit.

    I think it was last year we too had at least a week of ice and my Boys stayed in. What a relief when the temps rose enough to melt the stuff!

    All will be well. Have a Merry Christmas full of love, hope, joy and peace.

  14. Merry Christmas Kate to you and your gang x

  15. Hope all is well with the weather and your worries are unnecessary. It is so difficult to stop the mind from rambling on with a new worst-case scenario, I find. Especially with horses! If you figure out how to stop the worry, please, let me know!!!
    Happy Christmas!!!

  16. I guess I'm probably a worrier too, particularly about the weather and ice this time of year.

    Here's wishing you and yours a great holiday.

  17. Merry Christmas to you and yours. Hope the weather is not so dreadful as last year.

    I was in the same situation as you last year here in Cincinnati, except our sliding doors were ICED shut! We don't have an indoor either but we can take the dividers out of our stalls to make them very large. We opened every stall door and just turned horses loose in the barn - what else could we do - they had to move about

  18. I am quite the worrier too. I have read so many books about how worrying is so destructive and a waste of time, and I have gotten better, but I think I am hardwired to fret. The weather though, gives us good reason to worry a little. Some worry makes us safer! I know the ice is TERRIBLE! And it is no better to have horses or people slipping on it! Luckily, the horses all have 4 legs that must make things a lot more stable.
    I bet you are so uber responsible that everything this year at your barn will be just right.
    Merry Christmas, fellow and wonderful blogger!

  19. Now.. THIS is a real gift... we are cut from the same cloth as it were... worrying is just sop... we need to give it up a bit more

    merry merry

  20. Merry Christmas, Kate! Hope it was a good one :)

  21. Kate...we are having some pretty strange weather in these parts. Right now it is raining, all the snow is gone...the outdoor arena is still an ice skating rink and the temperature is supposed to drop this afternoon. This morning I got soaked picking the pastures, but it was a perfect opportunity to get them all cleaned up. I opened up the indoor and all six horses went in for a roll. Now their wet blankets are covered with a clay/sand mix. Lovely! Hope the weather conditions are improving where you are! and that Noble continues to improve. Happy New Year and thanks for all your comments.

  22. My sister mentioned that she lives in a state of dread of what could happen. I would never have guessed it, but I'm the reckless younger sister with an obnoxious optimism.

    Here's to a fabulous year ahead, filled with growth, ideas, and horses!


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