Today was a full face mask, long-underwear kind of day - the windchill was 6F (or -14C), although the sun was shining brightly. I was working at the barn this morning, so after giving hay I went from stall to stall and put on winter blankets. I like the new Brookside medium weight turnout blankets that Dawn and Pie have - they fit well and are durable - with one exception: the manufacturer seems to think that rear leg straps sized for a pony, even when in the farthest out position, will work on a full-size horse. I've never had this problem with their blankets or sheets before - perhaps it was an assembly error. Luckily I have lots of rear leg straps on other blankets to swap in, since no horse should have to endure a wedgie all day long, not to mention that the straps would rub and pull the blanket too far back. Then there was wrestling with a frozen hose - I forgot to put it in the shower in the heated bathroom overnight when I fed last evening.
After turning out the horses, it was time for cleaning Dawn's and Pie's stalls, which I do every day. We use pelleted wood bedding, which makes the job not too bad, and I enjoy the daily exercise. Dawn is a slob - there are wet spots and manure strewn everywhere - but I keep her bedding pretty thin - she's happy with that - so the job isn't too bad, at least when she hasn't warmed her hind end on her heated bucket and left a deposit in her water (which she didn't do this morning). Pie is very neat - he carefully deposits all his manure in one area against the wall of the stall. There is the problem of the wet spot in the middle because he's a gelding, and since I bed his stall pretty deeply because of his hock sore (not that I'm really sure that's helping) there's some turning over of the bedding to do as the wet goes to the bottom. But one of the nice things when it's very cold is that the poo balls freeze, making them easy to pick out and pick up - they sound like rocks hitting the manure bucket. I suppose it's amazing what things horse people find to be interesting or nice things!
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I once did a post on how each horse has a personal drinking style. Pie is a delicate drinker - he sticks his head out and gently dips his chin and then quietly drinks. Last night while I was in his stall, he did something new - he drank from his bucket and then left a bit of his tongue sticking out of his mouth and proceeded to suck on it for a moment, looking pensive and happy. Just the gentlest sucking noise - I wonder if it is comforting for a horse to do that? I've never met but one other horse that was a tongue-sucker, and that horse did it a lot and not just when drinking. I'll have to watch Pie and see if he does it again when drinking or at any other time.