Cold, Colder and Coldest

Monday, February 18, 2013

 The icy windchill around here has been very prohibitive to horseback riding. Usually I can handle the cold, but the wind? Yesterday Bill reported the windchill was minus 10. Today, minus 20. When the wind is howling in your ear and the big ole trees are creaking all around, and it feels like the metal roof on the barn is going to take flight, mustering up the courage to climb into a saddle is tough. And I have not been able to do it. My courage has gotten caught in a snow devil and blown away.

So Lilly has been getting some good grooming in the barn, and that is about it. I am still taking Getty out on walks however. I found her rolling and rolling in the woods in one spot, and this is what she was rolling on. Oooooh dear, poop with little tiny feet in it. Thank you, dear little rodent, for giving up your life so another creature may have food.

 Today I was back at the barn, determined to ride, even though before I even left my bed I could hear the wind whipping around like a cyclone. Once at the barn, I brought Lilly up from the pasture and lost my nerve. It was not only that the wind was blowing, it was that the wind was so dastardly icy and piercing. Besides, whose to say a giant limb might not fall off an old sugar maple and knock my brumby out? Nope, best to give Lilly another day at the spa. 

Bill brought me some hot tea and then decided Lilly was up for a little pedicure. Don't let the sunshine fool you. It was very cold.

Lilly's feet have been a true challenge for the last two years. She had that abscess (Jan 2011) that compromised the integrity of her hoof wall significantly. We have spent the last two years waiting for the bad spot to grow out, trying everything to keep the hoof wall strong and supported in the meantime. At the same time, we decided the best thing for Lilly's feet was to train them to be barefoot. So you see, she not only had the naughty and detrimental abscess (and all of its repercussions), she has naturally flat and ouchy feet. Bill and I believed that by putting horseshoes on her, we were only perpetuating the problem, not fixing it.

Getting Lilly's feet back to being sound and barefoot has required a huge commitment. And while I have lost faith a few times, Bill has been more stalwart. He has been diligently trimming Lilly's flares and trimming her in just the right way to make her soles calloused and her feet balanced. This is hoof care on a weekly, if not daily basis. It has been a long labor of love...and patience. When spring rolls around, we will need to keep her feet dry too, no easy feet in mud season.

The upside is that Lilly's feet, while still flat as pancakes, are looking better than they have in a long time. When Bill used this tool, she didn't flinch once. GOOD NEWS!

It has been a journey, to say the very least. And while I had the advantage of always having another horse to ride, Lilly has remained pretty much rideable through it all, thanks to the innovators at Renegade and Cavallo. Hoof boots may not be the answer to everything, but they have certainly been very helpful to Lilly and me.

We just love ya, Lilly. We'd do anything in the world for you.

Ahhh, that sun feels good. 

If Bill were to ever write a book about Lilly and her feet (and he easily could), this would be the cover.

Stay warm, everyone!


Once Upon an Equine said...

Lilly looks great! The wind can make riding miserable. I don't blame you for skipping on those particularly windy days. I've been doing better at riding in the winter, even on the cold days, now that I have proper winter apparel. But I'd skip a ride on super windy days too.

Frizzle said...

Geez, and I complain when it gets down into the 40s down here, lol!

Why the heck is it taking two years for Lily's bad abscess spot to forw out??? When Salem had a really bad abscess blow out of his coronet, it took maybe 5 months to totally grow out. And I know Lilly gets plenty of movement, so...?

Have you ever tried jiaogulan? I think that's how it's spelled. It's an herb that helps increase blood flow and can help the hooves immensely. You can get it @ As for keeping hooves from getting too wet/muddy, nothing beats Keratex Hoof Gel!

Hope it warms up a TON up there soon! :-)

Frizzle said...

Er, that's GROW, not forw...:-/

juliette said...

I am so sorry about the cold. It isn't that bad here now and I just feel so bad for you because I know what it is like. Icy knives cutting through all the layers. It is the pits.

So glad about your time grooming Lilly and trimming her in the sunshine. You are Bill are dedicated and I am glad you are making progress. What a long and frustrating process. Does Bill read the Rockley Farm blog? I am sure he does already, but if not, it will give you both hope. Nic really knows what she is talking about. I bought her book as well.

Stay warm! It has to be almost over - surely spring is soon here.

By the way, I don't get off one horse and hop on another. That is my dream! No, I hop off one and regroom and regraze and then decide whether my body can take more cold and then I start the whole process again with another boy. Each one easily takes 2 hours (1 hour ride and half hour on each side for grooming, tacking, grazing, etc.) So it takes me a long time if I want to ride all three and then I have to do all the barn chores! So all day is not enough really!lol!

lmel said...

Hah--I like Juliette's comment about how much time it takes to just ride one, let alone 2! Wouldn't it be nice if we could spend all our waking hours just grooming our ponies and riding?

Bill's hands must have been frozen holding the hoof testers! OUCH! But if he's out of the wind--then not too bad.

We took the day off too--spa/barn day. No riding--too dang cold! But spring is coming--we tapped the trees last week and the first flow is ready to boil!

Cindy D. said...

Living in the 4th windiest city in the nation, I can so relate to your frustration, and your lack of desire to ride. I darn sure wouldn't do it. I don't even like riding in the wind when it is warm!

You are lucky to have Bill to work so diligently on her feet. Not just diligent but with forethought, it is harder to find than you may think.

I hope the weather breaks soon, for all of us!

Cindy D. said...

Oh I forgot to say,
She sure is a good girl standing ground tied while being worked on.

Willow said...

Such a good girl ~ Lilly!

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