The big thaw

4Finally, the elements have swung the other way. It’s now pouring with rain and the temperature has risen to just above zero, so the snow is receding and there is evidence of life beneath!

However, this brings another set of challenges. If it freezes tonight, the ground will be utterly treacherous and once the snow is gone from the fields the sheer volume of water will probably make them unusable for some time. Plus there is damage to be repaired from the sheer weight of the snow on the barn rooves, such as some exterior woodwork which has collapsed and gutterings which are broken.

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Meantime, the horses are in the turnout arena munching away, just pleased to be outside and I am hoping that, today, Talisman won’t end up with six inch stilts which took all my strength to remove several times during the few hours they have been out the last couple of days. No type of grease works for more than 30 seconds and I was using Husky grease which I bought a few years ago in desperation! Pip was fine as she doesn’t have shoes, so no metal on her feet for the ice to weld itself to.

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When I haven’t been struggling outside on the yard, I have been in dialogue with fellow equestrians in Canada who endure far worse conditions for most of the winter months and the upshot is that I need to save my pennies to buy a snow blower (looks a bit like a lawnmower) which will eliminate a massive amount of digging and probably enable me to create a set of tram lines to get the car up the very long drive too, if the roads were useable and they are not salted around me. I also need to get winter tyres for the car in due course, which will be far better on snow and a bit better on slush and ice.

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Should we have increasingly prolonged periods of snow in future (and there is some suggestion we are heading for a mini ice age in the next 15 years, similar to when the River Thames froze over at the end of the last century, which will precede global warming), then I have also discovered from my Canadian friends that you can get snow pads to put in the horses’ shoes which pop the snow out and make it possible to ride on the white stuff. All good information and planning to ensure the next episode (which is certain) is easier on me and less stressful!

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Grhhh! Looking out of the window, the rain is now horizontal in an arctic gale. I can see the horses and even Pip has her back against the arena fence which, unfortunately, is on the most exposed part of my land. Better go and rescue them….

Pics: Sharing water and hay (finally!); Talisman enjoys the snow; thawing yard; sunset last night before the thaw.


4 thoughts on “The big thaw

  1. I was pleased to see them share a net and water too as it’s taken a while to get to this point. Talisman who has never been the boss before has been asserting himself (nicely) but determining when Pip eats and out of what net and ensuring he drinks first. So, yes, progress. Phew!

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  2. I second the snowblower recommendation! It’s a lifesaver here in the Upper Midwest as well. For the “stilts” (aka packed snow), have you tried non-stick cooking spray (like PAM, or whatever the brand is in the UK)? It works better if the snow isn’t too wet though but it’s quite helpful for the powdery stuff! For the wet stuff, vegetable shortening (such as Crisco) works quite well… Good luck!

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  3. Thanks. I will try. I have tried lots of other things and nothing seems to work for long. If periods of snow persist in future, I will look at padding. I understand a lot of people on your side of the Atlantic use bubble pads….?

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