How do you winter?

So winter hit this weekend, and it was a little cold. I know, I know, you’re going to tell me that in New York you never got out of negative temperature’s with your wind chill, and North Carolina had so much snow that people couldn’t fly home. But you guys. Winter sucks when nothing is actually equipped for cold weather.

It started on Wednesday morning when my alarm went off at 7 so I could ride before work. But then when I checked the weather, the feels like was 29 and I just wasn’t feeling it. Back to bed it was. I got in a nice little ride Thursday that was only 30 minutes or so, and focused primarily on loosening up since I’m sure the cold weather had Val feeling a little creaky.

Good thing my Texas-bred mountain goat horse grows more than enough coat for an arctic blast.

But then Friday morning, suddenly the actual temperature was 27 and the feels like was in the teens. Not cool. And then it dropped some more. So much, that when we woke up Saturday morning, what we thought was rain was actually a busted pipe behind our apartment, because a bunch of the pipes for our building run right next to our bedroom. Just like they asked us to, we reported it to the office staff, and 48 hours later it’s still spewing water. Lucky for us, it’s not actually one of our pipes. As pretty as the bush icicles were this morning though, I’d like to not have a broken pipe causing water damage to our walls and the A/C units right in front of the spewing pipe.

Super sorry for the neighbor who has had no water pressure this weekend and a huge water bill coming soon.

And then when I got to the barn, there was a wash rack refusing to drain, and pipes that kept breaking all. weekend. long. Including the pipe to Val’s water trough. Which was also full of ice my poor trainer had to break, along with all of the other many troughs and buckets that had to be broken throughout the weekend.

I hate winter. I ride through 100+ degree days for months on end so that I don’t have to deal with this nonsense

I hate snow. Like a whole lot. And I’m certainly not jealous of those of you dealing with that stupid white stuff. But man, it sure would be nice if everything wouldn’t break at once with the first really cold weather of the season. Lucky for us, after dipping down into the teens this weekend, we’ll be back up in the upper 70s by Wednesday or so. Since somebody was puffing this weekend even in the 30 degrees temps, we’re definitely working in a body clip this week.

Even with all the nasty weather, we still managed to get some really fantastic rides in this weekend, and there’s more to come on that shortly!

In the mean time, how did you manage to survive (more or less) the cold front the blew through a good portion of the US?

24 thoughts on “How do you winter?

  1. Girl, I feel your pain. I have always ridden through the winter, but this year the weather has bounced around so much that I told myself to just take the time off. My horses don’t want to ride in 2 degree weather and it’s not even good for them. So, I guess you could say, we just hunker down and wait the winter out.

  2. Tank heaters. We have a large 70 ish gallon water trough and we fill it to the brim just before we turn the water off to the barn. It stays reasonably warm with a tank heater so all the horses, goats and chickens have access to water. We also fill a 70 gallon tank inside the barn to fill water buckets from. It got down to “feels like 9” here and the tank inside the barn never froze. Yay! The barn is super insulated, but not heated. The small buckets usually freeze so I put them in my heated tack room to thaw out/warm up during the day while the horses are turned out. I keep my horses under lights all winter so 3 of the 4 HAVE to have blankets when it gets below 50. Number 4 was with trainer for a few months during the fall and he grew a winter coat so he only gets a blanket when it is super duper cold out. As for riding it just depends. If it is weathering (rain, snow etc) in addition to being cold I only ride to fox hunt. Otherwise we just bundle up and toodle around, but don’t do anything particularly strenuous.

    1. That probably would have been a good idea. We have the automatic waterers in the barns so no way to warm them in the heated lounge. But we were talking yesterday about putting in solar powered tank heaters!

  3. If you’re me, you get through it with a million layers and a hefty dose of complaining to anyone who will listen about how I DID NOT SIGN UP FOR THIS WEATHER. Please, weather gods, get warmer. I’ll even accept low 30s at this point!

  4. jenj

    Man, we turned off all our water (we segregated the barn from the rest of the place), put heat tape on everything that we couldn’t shut off, and turned on the tank heater. No broken pipes and horses have warm degree water, which they drink a LOT more of than if it was icy cold. These temp swings are THE WORST.

  5. I have no idea how people with real, long winters do it. Feeding early so they can warm up and breaking ice all the time. We had one broken pipe to a water trough. It has never been a problem in many years past. Oh well. I am just glad it changes quickly and I could better ride Sunday!

  6. Oh man, my neighbor was out of town on vacation last week, so I was feeding the 24 horses boarded at her barn (and Moe and Gina). I thought I would freeze to death on Thursday morning! I was breaking ice on water buckets in stalls (thankfully, the outdoor tanks have heaters), blanketing horses, and hauling hot water from my bathtub to make mashes (because the pipes in my barn are still leaking). I still rode, though- no rest for the wicked at my place, haha!

  7. Do you remember the year we were helping farm sit and had to break ice out of something like 150 buckets? And it was so cold that by the time we finished we had to start again. Miserable! At least here, we are better equipped for it. My barn stays surprisingly warm with 4 horses in it and the buckets rarely freeze overnight. We still need to find a way to keep troughs fluid without running electricity all the way out there.

  8. I’ve always been spoiled with a covered arena, so its surprising when people don’t ride in the winter because of rain (frost and snow is something else entirely) but dems the brakes here (well kinda, my barn has a covered so lessons go on.)

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