Monday, December 21, 2009

Rugby LOVES the Snow!

I love the snow, too. Brings out the kid in me... after I dig my truck out.

We got dumped on here in NY. In my area, a bit over a foot but I have friends farther east of me and they got 2 ft. or more. Once we cleared our driveway and dug out the Ford, I waited for it to warm up a bit and went to the barn around lunch time.

None of the horses were turned out since the stable hands were still in the process of shoveling and plowing the snow off the driveways on the farm. The stalls were clean and every horse was just relaxing with their lunchtime hay. Rugby was glad to see me. I got the feeling he wanted out today and I was going to give him his wish!

I put his rope halter and groundwork lunge line on, and we headed to the small riding ring behind the barn. I was thrilled that the guys hadn't plowed there yet and we would be the first ones to "break" the snow!

I have always loved first dibs on messing up fresh snow. Whether riding through it on horseback or walking on it, I love being the first to put my prints down. I think Rugby feels the same. As soon as we walked out the barn door he wasted no time walking out into it and then started pawing it in big, dramatic fashion! First one front foot, then the other. I had to laugh. It got funnier when I walked him out to the middle of the arena and sent him out to lunge. He started trotting and picking up his feet in this big, prancey-pants trot. He looked adorable (and totally sound!). Then, when I brought him back to the walk, he stopped and started pawing the snow again. So I let him and watched to see what he'd do. He pawed a bit, then bent his knees like he was going down to roll, but stopped on his knees, took his entire head and plowed it into the snow! He looked like he was diving into it! Then he jumped up, bucked and cantered around on the lunge.

What a goofball! He cantered a bit, then I stopped him and changed direction. He walked around to the same spot, stopped, pawed and this time went down for a good roll! All four feet in the air and snow flying everywhere. Pure joy! When he got up and shook himself off, he trotted around a bit more and then I let him quit with that.

By now, my monster truck of a horse had made a nice lunging path in the snow and it was easier for the next boarder to walk out with her little horse.

But the best, the very best for me was my barefoot horse strolled back into the barn without any chunky ice balls wedged into his hooves!! His hooves were immaculate! I have always HATED dealing with the problem of impacted snow in shod hooves. My fear is taking the horse out to get a little exercise and getting so balled up that they twist an ankle walking on that crap. In the past, I've had snowball pads put on with the horse shoes (I found them to just be "okay" for the purpose of preventing snow build-up) and tried things like smearing Vaseline in the hooves before riding but I see being able to go with nature's design has even more benefits.

I hope Rugby's Christmas gifts arrive by mail from Dover Saddlery before Friday. The big guy made out like a fat rat from Santa. He's getting some flashy new Amigo Horseware clothes, a leather halter, an anti-sweat rug and a peppermint stall ball from my kids. It's good to be a horse in this family! :)


jill said...

Better snow than rain,which means mud! I'll take the snow anyday! Being barefoot is definately an advantage in the winter. I've been riding out in the snow quite a bit this year and so far Scout always has clean hooves too. It's a lucky thing if a horse is able to be happy without shoes. Sometimes just walking a shod horse to and from the pasture can be slippery. So I count my blessings that so far my horses are able to be without.
Glad you're having some real fun with Rugby now! You two have some a long way together...;)

Once Upon an Equine said...

How fun for you and Rugby. Rugby must be an optimist - he was looking for the carrots and cookies and treats that surely must be hidden underneath all that snow.

Anonymous said...

I love being the first one out in fresh snow - it's a lovely experience. I have one horse barefoot and two with front shoes with borium spots and snow pads, and they all do pretty well as long as we don't get serious ice.

OnTheBit said...

Aww...I love it! Gen is a big fan of the snow and every year (except this one because my timing is sucky these days) that I have had him I take a picture of him playing in the first snow of the year. I think you need to video Rugby playing around during the next big snow!

Paige said...

I hate snow as it always leaves such a mess, but I have to admit, it might be fun just one time to get enough for the horses to play in. We never get more than an inch or two at a time and then only every few years. It is usually gone within days leaving just more mud

Jean said...

Barefoot is best this time of year. Wish I could keep my Boys totally unshod. I usually get borium and snowpads when I suspect a snowy winter. This storm beat me out, however. Now I don't know what to do.

I love watching the horses play in the snow. They are better than little kids!

Michelle said...

It's too bad you didn't get a video of the snow antics! Sounds like a lot of fun. I bet he was really cute that day!