Yesterday the herd experienced another first (well not for Paisano, but for the rest of us). A major snow storm blew in early morning yesterday and raged all day long. Wind, snow, ice and some of the coldest temperatures we’ve had in a while. I got home from work to find all three ponies wet, miserable and shivering cold. I had one blanket for Paisano, but nothing for the girls. So off to the husband I went, asking him if he would brave the storm, start up the Dodge and go find some blankets. Luckily, we don’t live very far from Cal Ranch and IFA stores. My first concern was finding some small enough for the girls and second, getting them on as they’ve never had blankets on before. We bought the smallest ones we could find, which were 70” in length, and headed home. Then the real fun began
By this time it was dark and even colder, no change in the weather, still blowing and snowing. The ponies were on edge and not wanting to be caught. We (Cody and I) ended up coaxing them into the small penned area in front of the hay shed to get them haltered and blanketed. Miss was the first to take the bait. I gave her a big pile of hay to kind of distract her and Cody held the lead rope while I started to get the blanket on her. My game plan was to fold it up to the size of a saddle blanket, as they are familiar with those, and slowing unfold it and fasten it on. She was pretty nervous but kept her cool, standing fairly still while I worked it on. After the blanket was all the way on, I didn’t have any problems getting all the buckles and straps fastened. We let her sit there for a minute and relax before turning her loose. After she relaxed and starting eating some hay, I took off her halter and let her loose. Not the smartest decision. She took off running like a bat outta hell. I immediately started kicking myself for not walking her around on the lead so she got used to the feel and sound of the blanket on her. Not to mention Mr. and Mrs. Paisano being even more nervous and really freaking out now.
It finally took Cody going out and coaxing them with alfalfa cubes to get them to calm down and come back to the hay shed. I tried, but they were pretty wise about that and didn’t give me the time of day. Anyway, so in Rosie went and we went through the same routine. She was a little more fidgety than Miss, but she did fine. This time, I took Rosie out and led her around which made a huge difference for her. Missy followed us, checking out Rosie’s blanket and by now she was comfortable with hers. I think she warmed up and really liked the warmth the blanket was giving her. I let Rosie loose and they ran around for a minute, but didn’t freak out like Miss did. The blankets were big on them. The length was ok, the neck was big, but the belly straps and rear leg straps tightened up enough they weren’t in danger of getting a leg caught up. Missy’s little running fit proved they would be ok in them.
Paisano was next, and there were no issues there, he is such a good boy and knows when to step up and even take care of me sometimes. :) The weather was still just as nasty as it was when we started. Cody went inside to warm up, I stayed outside and spent a few minutes watching them calm down and go back to eating. After I started to relax a little more, I could feel how cold my legs were, feeling confident that everyone was taken care of, I went inside to warm up. The overall experience was a cold, but good one.
Seeing how well the girls handled everything, in the conditions they were in, made me really proud that I have such great horses. Knowing that I have support from them when I need it is indescribably reassuring and very happy that I’ve done enough with them that they could handle the situation.
This morning blankets and ponies were all intact, warm, almost completely dry and much happier