I left instructions to change his clothing as needed and pointing out where I left his heavy weight just in case and was on my way. It turns out they left him in the medium all day, and I was glad because he was just comfortable when I got to the barn (not hot or cold, just normal). Is it crazy to go to the barn twice after work? Probably, but I was really glad that I did it. I think I might have to leave his blankets at the barn from now on no matter what. Does anyone else who doesn’t blanket have a hard time when there horse is cold? What do you do? Do you have spare blankets lying around just in case?
So after the unusually mild weekend the winter finally came on Monday. Temperatures started to drop and by yesterday the projected highs were only going to be in the 20s. I wasn’t too worried about it. Gen went blanket free all year last year and there were plenty of single digit days so I figured he would be fine.
Imagine my surprise when I went to the barn and Gen came running up to me and put his muzzle on my face…and it was cold. I was shocked. I am normally greeted by a nice toasty pony nose, not a chilly one. I quickly took stock feeling his ears, flank, etc and sure enough…Gen was cold. It was a little breezy out, but not that bad. Especially not when two sides of his field are pretty good at blocking the wind. I quickly walked him inside where he promptly tried to hide in my pocket. If only he would fit 😛
Since I wasn’t planning on blanketing him at all this year I only had his sheet at the barn. That is just for the really cold days where it is raining slush. I couldn’t decide if I should put it on him or not. I think it was one of my readers that told me that a horse with a sheet on doesn’t keep heat as well as one that is naked. After a thorough 45 minute groom and cuddle session I decided to just put the sheet on to make myself feel better if nothing else. By that time the rest of the horses were in and I knew what I had to do to make myself feel better…
I decided to go home and get his blankets. I knew it was not going to be fun to drive 25 minutes home, grab the blanket and drive 25 minutes back, but it was also the only way I was going to be able to sleep at night. So I tucked Gen away in his stall, where he promptly got to work on a pile of hay, and hoped he would warm up now that he was inside. I am sure my neighbors thought I was crazy because I literally walked in the door, went to the basement and got the blanket container and went right back in the car to drive back up. The whole time I worried about my poor fuzzy pony trying to figure out why he was cold in such mild conditions. The ideas I came up with on my drive back are…
1) He is getting older. He is 20 now after all and everyone knows it is hard to keep an older horse warm compared to a younger one.
2) The temperature changed very quickly. It went from nearly 60 to a night time low of 6 in under 48 hours.
3) His coat isn’t as fuzzy as it was last year. Maybe Gen didn’t grow a big coat because it is going to be a mild winter?
I don’t know if any of those are real, or if I am missing a big idea, but those were what I came up with in my 45 minute drive back to the barn (thank you traffic). I had assumed that Gen would warm up in the hour+ that I was gone so imagine my disappointment when he was still chilly. He wasn’t like ice at least this time though so I tried not to worry. I gave him some more cookies to make up for the bath (he was still holding a grudge, but also wanted his Mommy so he was very torn yesterday) and put his medium weight on him instead.