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Winter Weigh In: Kim Stone

Published: 2/18/2015
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Editor's Note: We asked several horse owners to share their pros and cons of this record-breaking winter - one that’s brought more snow and cold temperatures than most can remember. It’s one that brings the horse community together as we celebrate our blessings and commiserate over our challenges.

Many thanks to Robin, Kim, Nina, and Julie! We're sending you gals Darn Tough socks and Stabilicers to help you get through the season!

By Kim Stone

Check out Kim Stone's upcoming clinic on our Events page. Visit her photography website here.

             Bummers & Blessings of the Maine's record-breaking winter:

Bummers:

•    Broken wooden fence boards from the heavy snow.

•    Electric fences that don’t work from too much snow.

•    Turnout in the big pastures can be a challenge since they can step over the top of the fences ~ you guessed it, from too much snow.

•    Belly aches from shivering  (related to not enough movement during the strongest part of the storms).

•    The relentless wind that has accompanied the frigid temps sure makes for long nights of concern when natural horse keeping (not locked in, just run-in sheds available).

•    Shoveling to get to the barn.

•    Shoveling to get the gates open. Shoveling to get to the hay storage. Shoveling to be able to remove manure from the run-in sheds. Shoveling to the manure pile. Shoveling the barn/shed roof off  ~ Did I mentioned shoveling?

•    Constant maintenance of adequate warm water, even in the 100-gallon heated buckets

•    Hay consumption has doubled.

•    With all the added shoveling, relentless wind and frigid temps there is little time for enjoying a good romp in the snow or riding on the beach.

Blessings:

•    It doesn’t take much for the horses to get exercise with this amount of snow.

•    The quietness of the early mornings. Late nights with the full moon on the snow is peaceful and welcomed in between this crazy weather pattern.

•    I enjoy watching them playing in the snow.

•    Herd dynamics are one of my favorite things to watch, observe and study, during this particular Winter it has been interesting to watch how they position themselves to eat, to keep warm, to stick together.

•    My colt doesn’t know any different, since he has never experienced winter before. His coat is thick, full and shiny.  He plays outside most of the time, I have never seen him shiver.

•    From a photographer's point of view, winter is a great time to capture the incredible strength the horses plowing through 3+ feet of snow as if it was nothing.

•    The snow pack on the horses acts as an insulation. It always amazes me to see a couple of inches of snow on their backs, no melting and they are fine with it.

•    No gym needed!  Great exercise.

•    Beautiful fur coats that shine and remind me of a polar bear in different colors.

•     Deep appreciation for the ability of the horse to maintain themselves even in with the icicled vibrissae, eyelashes, and manes.


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