I call my horse Lilly "Brumby" as a term of endearment. But I didn't make the word up! In Australia a wild horse is called a brumby or brumbie. The word derives from the name of a Major William Brumby, an early 19th century settler from England who was a noted breeder of horses. Through the years a large number of his stock escaped and became feral. Another possible origin of the word-Booramby, Aborigine for wild.
Lately its been really cold around here. Usually when I get up it is around 7 out. Then maybe it will warm up to 25 during the day. As soon as the sun drops, it feels unbearable. In the midst of this, I began to worry about my brumby out in the cold.
I do not remember worrying about this so much before. So whether I worry about it every year and then forget as soon as springtime rolls into town, or maybe I just expand my capacity as a worry wart. Oy vey. Let's hope it is the former. In any case, just to reassure myself, I looked up how horses really do stay warm in winter temps.
The first thing that comes up are their amazing coats. If only I had a furry and felty coat like Lilly's! It is pretty amazing! I do remember in years past seeing icicles hanging from Lilly's fur. That means they must not give up their body heat very easily!
And then there's the hay and forage!
If my brumby has access to all this delicious hay.....
....and she gobbles it up with her cute little mouth...
...and it gets into her large and fuzzy belly....
...then voila! Lilly has a thick winter coat and a furnace inside of her to keep her warm even on the scariest of cold nights.
And reminding myself of all of that, rather than projecting my own frail humanity onto her, is a much better way to consider my brumby morning, noon and night.
This weekend I went to see Lilly both Saturday and Sunday. Although both days were very cold and my toes were freezing before I even got out of the car, I could not help but notice none of the horses looked cold at all. Saturday Bill was putting some giant chains on the tractor tires.
As we headed out on Saturday, Bill was in the road with a new tarp. Lilly heard the crinkle of that tarp a mile away.
Never pass up a training opportunity! Text version: NPUATO
It's always nice to see the other guys thriving up at the BP. I just remembered: someone asked what Bill uses to mark his horses. What you see is merely orange duct tape!
Saturday night we got 11 inches of snow. I know that would mean the chances of having a beautiful ride though the woods on Sunday were very high. So I donned my toe warmers, a few layers of long underwear, a down liner, my riding coat and over to the barn I went. First my brumby pretended she was a dog and began lapping up water from the dog dish.
I should mention that she did not seem cold in the slightest. Even though my fingers and toes stayed cold all day, as I walked up to the trail head, I became waaaaaay too warm. I was sweating in all of my layers! Ugh!
But by far the most annoying things about winter gear is my helmet. Now, I happen to not usually mind a helmet. But this one, once I have my balaclava on, and the helmet strap done up, and my stupid ponytail stuck in my collar, my head and neck begin to feel like they are in a STRAITJACKET. Everything felt terribly tight. I got a headache immediately. See this smile? It is the smile of a person slowly being driven mad.
Before we even got this this point (a shortcut over to the Ridge Trail), I had taken off my helmet, the liner inside of it, my balaclava, my gloves, and had unzipped my jacket, my down liner and the first layer of fleece underneath all. I was like a crazy person ripping all of that off!!! But right away my head and neck felt 100% better! I do not need to tell you how patient and calm Lilly was while I thrashed and snorted on her back.
So we trudged on through the snow and eventually everything I took off, I ended up putting back on all over again. I think maybe I just need a larger sized helmet for winter riding...and maybe very short hair. (If I had a scissors on my during this ride, chances are quite high I would have given my own hair a decisive chop.)
One thing that needed no changing: Lilly the Brumby.
I hope you have enjoyed reading my blog! One day I hope to make it bigger and better! Click on the words "Older Posts" right above this note if you would like to see more entries about me and my brumby.