Spring is Dirty
 By Winniefield Park   •   28th Mar 2018   •   799 views   •   0 comments

Spring seems to have arrived early where I live. Iím not fooled. Just because the snowdrops are poking their heads up and the robins have returned doesnít mean winter is over. The horse ownerís sure sign of spring is stroking your horse and ending up with a mitten covered in shed hair. That hasnít happened yet. Which tells me that horseís are keeping their coats on for a reason.

Spring is never the sunshiny, cherry blossom lined, baby chick, bunny hopping time the media often suggests it is. Spring is more likely to be about dirty snowbanks, melting manure piles, horse hair up your nose, and horses restless from too much idleness. Still, there is lots to look forward to.

The Blanket Off, Blanket On Game
How many blankets does your horse have? And could you use them all within the same 24 hours? Probably. Earlier this week, the late morning temperature was a lovely 60F (15C). Rain was predicted in the afternoon. By evening, the temperature dropped to 31F (-1C). Then there was freezing rain. By the next morning, the temperature plunged further and there was snow. Trying to keep up with the weather can keep you hopping.

A Stitch in Time
Blanket repairs seem inevitable this time of year. Is it because the horses are sick of wearing them? Iím not sure, but it seems they get rips in them just before you donít need them anymore. Itís nicer to repair a clean blanket. But if you clean your own blankets, thatís hard before the weather turns really warm. So, I end up dragging a dirty blanket through the house, and either sitting on the floor with a needle and thread to do the repair, or wrestling it through my old industrial sewing machine. Chances are, once repaired, they'll only be needed another week or so.

Mud Wonderful Mud!
Mud! Everywhere! On blankets, horseís legs and bodies, your boots, the dogís feet. It gets tracked into your vehicle. And, comes into the house on the dog. If Iím lucky, thereís a relatively clean mud puddle somewhere I can swish my boots off in. Iím not going to run the hose over them, because thatís only going to make more mud.

Look What I Found!
Like the layers of sediment accumulating over time, burying traces of past civilizations, winter snow hides secrets. And in the spring receding snowbanks reveal those secrets. There against the barn is the bucket that went missing, now cracked and partially filled with a lump of eroding ice. Lying out in the field is the grain bag that blew out of your hands during a blizzard. Here and there a lost shoe lies, rusty and twisted, waiting to bruise a horseís sole. Like ancient Roman roads, the manure path you built through the paddock during an early ice storm reappears. And, to remind you that you are never quite prepared for any season, there are the trotting poles, lying in the field, that you never got around to picking up last fall.

Hair It Is
Itís exciting to run a shedding comb over your horse and reveal the sleek coat beneath. That sure sign of spring-shedding hair! You brush and comb and curry, and then you do it again, day after day. And you inhale hair, eat it, wear it. One day in late fall you look at your horse, and it seems overnight they are a furry fluff ball, ready to face the coldest temperatures. But that fluff seems to take forever to come outóor maybe it just doesnít seem fast enough.

And Itís Winter
And then, the ground is white again as winter tightens its grip a last time.
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