Fall Colors Between Rhio's Ears

Fall Colors Between Rhio's Ears

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Measure Twice, Order Once

Barn time!  It's been nearly a week since I've seen my ponies; my schedule has been way too hectic for my liking.  Tomorrow is the day to ride, but today was the day just to do the little tasks, including getting feet trimmed and measured for boots!

Most of you will know that I have been using hoof boots intermittently for quite a while, with mostly good success.  I have learned a lot from booting my two horses, and from using several different models and brands of boots.

I began booting with the original Old Mac boots, and they were easy to use but big, clunky, and unwieldy for the horse (at least while doing distance competition).  In fact, Red and I took a tumble once while riding out in Medora, ND which I think was mostly caused by the boots.  We were trotting lightly down a slight grade, on a narrow path which was somewhat freshly graveled.  The fresh footing was a little deep, and Red was gazing out across the huge vista, I think looking at some cows in the distance (side note: my horses live in the forest.  They are not used to being able to see for miles and miles!  They do seem distracted by the change of environment.)  He tripped over his own feet / the boots and we went end-over-end.  Luckily, neither of us was hurt but my stirrup was smashed beyond repair.  You would think, having squished a stirrup, that I would have been able to find a sore or swollen area on Red's side after that, but, nope!

Aluminum stirrup squished by horse landing on it. 
We graduated up to Easyboot Epics, and then to Bares, which are still the boots Red uses currently.  Last season he wore through the toes on the Bares, which he's been using on his hinds, so I am looking to replace his hind boots.  His Epics, for his fronts, still seem to be in decent shape, as long as I replace a little bit of hardware and the gaiter on one of them.

Easyboot Bare
Easyboot Epic
Red goes great in boots - in fact, I like to call them his "Air Jordans," because he seems to move better when booted than when shod *or* barefoot.

Rhio started in boots when he had his hoof injury which precluded shoes.  He has been a problem to fit to boots, with very round feet, and also with sensitive skin, he has been developing rubs on and off from the gaiters.  Last year I eventually shod him when I just couldn't boot him due to some tenacious 'scratches' on three pasterns (dermatitis).  He tends to interfere occasionally in his hinds when booted, which I never notice when barefoot or shod.  We began with Renegade boots on his fronts, which are really easy to use and fit his round hoof shape better than the Easyboot line (at the time).  I loved the fact that they were so easy to use and never gave him any rubs on his pasterns.  I didn't like the lack of traction that I found on any type of wet grass, slick mud, or slushy/icy type footing, and the boots didn't hold up for as many miles as I felt they should have (some of which was likely operator error).  The Renegades are also quite a bit more expensive than the Easyboots.  He has worn Easyboot Gloves on his hinds, with some rubbing issues but no boot issues.  The traction seems good on the Gloves.

Easyboot Glove
He is in need of new front boots immediately, and perhaps new hind boots as well.  Currently, I have 6 boots in useable condition, but 2 of those are on their last legs.  If both horses were going out, I have 8 hooves to boot.  You do the math!

Today was measuring day!  After fresh trims this morning, I measured all 8 feet (plus Paco's 4!) twice, and Gesa and I poured over the fitting charts for the various boot versions from Easyboot.  They have released a "wide" version of the Glove, and as I suspected, it looks like it'll be a great fit for almost all our horses' hooves (Paco and Red each have one hoof that is a bit out of whack, so to speak, and may or may not work well in the boot).  We've ordered the "fit kit" from Easyboot, where they send the size we think we need plus one half size up and one half size down, of just the boot shell.  To cover all the sizes per the measuring chart that we thought we might need, we ordered two fit kits, covering nearly all the sizes offered.

We can't wait to start trying boots on!  Stay tuned for the results.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Equine Ambassador

A week ago, Rhio and I took a long solo road ride (11.5 miles) and managed to get dirty, sweaty, sunburned, and happy.  The day was unbelievable for March - in the low 70s (and humid!), sunny, and no wind.  So guess what?  The bugs are out already!  Flies, ticks, and mosquitoes all made their presence known, though fortunately in very low numbers thus far.

We set off up the very narrow shoulder of the paved road, and Rhio didn't fuss at all about going off by ourselves.  About 1 1/2 miles north, we can cut across on a quiet gravel road, then head back south for about a mile on a wider-shouldered and less-vehicle-traffic road, all to achieve our goal of a wide gravel road that gives us access to a big loop of quiet gravel road.  Essentially, by the end of the ride, we'd made a large, squarish figure 8.
70 degrees but still some snow around.
We met lots of people also out enjoying the day - the first group being a family out for a walk, grandparents, parents, and kids, plus a large Airedale terrier (barking her head off at Rhio).  Rhio and I crossed to the other side to avoid them, but I could tell as we approached that they were intent on chatting.  I always try to be friendly and accommodating, hoping to make a good impression on non-horse people who may someday be asked to vote on a measure that would limit horses in some way.  Sometimes, though, extricating oneself from the conversation because one has miles to ride can be difficult!  This was one of those times, as I chatted with these nice fellows about cowboys, parades, and various other equine events which had occurred in their long lives.  For once, I was grateful to have a car come along, to give me an excuse to move off the road and keep going!

Our next encounter was a lady riding a bay Quarter Horse mare, traveling along a route opposite ours.  Rhio REALLY wanted to go with her.  This was a situation in which, a couple of years ago, he probably would have bucked.  This day, he spun, backed up, violently tossed his head, but did not buck.  I did have to get off him and hand walk for a bit - which gave us the opportunity to interact with a young mother and her two kids.  Back aboard, with the mare long out of sight, we had no trouble continuing on, meeting up with several other walkers and, indeed, the rider and her mare once more.  This time is was no problem to pass her and keep going, as Rhio "knew" he was going home.

Back to our second paved road, Rhio had every intention of turning right and heading back the way we'd come, and tried to convince me to do so.  I disagreed with his choice, as that route gave us another 3 1/2 miles to get home.  Turning left, however, was only 1 1/2 miles to get home, although it required 1 mile along a very scary road.  I prevailed, and we survived the scary road (bikers, traffic, bridges, and barely any shoulder), returning to the barn, where Red greeted us with his trademark whinny.
Rhio's hoof boots kept his pasterns clean, which really shows how filthy the rest of him was!

A sponge bath in March?  Yep! 

No shampoo, just water - kinda clean.

And now worse than before - of course he rolled ASAP once he was turned back out.  The dirt will groom off so much easier, though, since I got all the sweat off first.  It looks way worse than it is! 

Red got to go out for a short ride as well, about 4 miles mostly walking.  He fussed a little at leaving the  barn (I hope he gets over this soon - he was always my horse that didn't care one whit about going out alone), but we had a nice, relaxing ride and he coped with all the new scary things to see very well.
Red's first view of our short-cut trail.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Happy, happy, happy!

I can't think of a single thing to complain about... oh, wait, yes I can - I only had an hour to enjoy this beautiful day from the back of my trusty steed, with our buddies by our side (well, actually, trailing behind us... Rhio had his engine revving today! Power trot, oh yeah!).

It was over 60 degrees, no wind, the sun was shining, and no bugs.  It really doesn't get much better than that.  Gesa and I took the boys over to a friend's place, so that we had access to a long stretch of quiet gravel road, and then just let the horses have their heads.  Rhio stopped to drink at the first available snow melt puddle, and other than a few other drink stops and walking down some hills, we trotted along merrily for 35 minutes "out," then turned around for the 25 minute trip home.  That usually works for me to get an hour's ride in, as my horses universally travel faster going home, but I was off about 5 minutes today and our ride ended up being 1 hour 5 minutes, and 6.6 miles.  Not bad!  I sure didn't want to stop, but I had an evening obligation (which did require showering before I attended) and had to keep an eye on the clock.

We've got plans to go again Friday morning, as the forecast continues to look pleasant and enticing.

Time until our first competition: 53 days
Miles so far in 2012: 44.8

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

The Melt is On!

Today I stopped out to feed the midday hay, and enjoyed a good tromp through the slush, water, and mud.  Remember all that snow we got a little over a week ago?  It's m-e-l-t-i-n-g!

Red is fitting in with the group great; one horse left to introduce (the mare).  When I arrived today, Red and Rhio were in the shed together - poking their  heads around the corner to see what I was up to, and coming over to cross the rushing water to have their hay as if their pasture had always contained an icy torrent coursing through it.

Rhio assesses the rushing water.

And unconcernedly walks across it.

To reach the hay on the other side!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Two Hands

If you're a horse person, you know that a "hand" is the unit of measurement we use to communicate how tall our horses are, at the withers.  It is 4 inches.  We measure increments of a hand with a decimal place, but each decimal stands for 1/4 of a hand, or 1 inch.  Thus, Red is 14.3, or 14 hands plus 3 inches, measured from the ground to his withers.

And this has nothing at all to do with today's post, other than I thought of the double meaning in this post's title.  The title really refers to how I rode today - both hands on the reins at all times!

It was positively balmy, and the snow was practically disappearing in front of my eyes on this sunny, 55 degree March afternoon.  Everyone and their brothers were outside, doing something.  In the 10 minutes I spent grooming and tacking Red up, we saw 2 horses, 1 set of joggers, 2 sets of walkers (1 with a dog, 1 with a stroller), and a pair of bikers go past the driveway.  Red was so worked up by being alone in the barn (really?  when did this happen?  I sure hope this behavior goes away once he is more established in the group here.  He is still spending most of his time physically separated but with fence contact to the herd.  He does get some time daily with Rhio and Paco, but we haven't introduced the youngsters yet.) and by seeing all the activity on the road, that he was incapable of standing still, he produced copious amounts of manure in the aisle, and I could see his heart beat pounding in his chest.  And I thought I was going to ride this beast?!

I very, very rarely lunge my horses except to check for soundness and quality of movement.  Today was one of those rare occasions.  Red and I went out in the deep snow and he trotted and cantered until we were both panting and sweating (which really wasn't very long in all that heavy snow), and he had decided he was capable of standing still.  I double-checked to make sure my phone was in my pocket, mounted up, and set off down the driveway.  We turned left and headed up the shoulder of the road to a dead-end gravel road.  He was actually quite good, except for a spook when a pine bough that had been stuck in the snowbank suddenly released and went "sproinging" up beside us.  I'll give him that as a legitimate spook.  We turned down the gravel and kept walking until he was relaxed and doing nice leg yields in both directions, then I let him trot out to the dead-end, and halfway back.  This isn't even a half mile, but the footing is good and it's quiet.  His motor was in high gear today, and I did wish we were back at his previous place, where we had miles of quiet gravel roads at our disposal and I could have just let him go.  I think I needed that release as much as he did, but, alas, it wasn't to be, and we headed back home at a walk.  We met the two horses that has passed the farm earlier, and then I asked him to continue past the driveway.  Oh, boy -this was not in his game plan and he let me know it!  We went just a little farther, until he wasn't fussing, then I let him turn around for home again.  The last 100 yards was the worst part of the ride - he was a ninny and there were vehicles approaching from both directions.  I hopped off and hand-walked him the rest of the way, with an internal sigh "Whew! We made it!" and "He'll be 17 in April - will there ever be a spring when he's NOT like this?" and, then, "Oh, I hope not!  This is my Red and I do love him for all his antics - I just wish I'd had the chance to put 5 or 6 trotting miles on today and settle both our minds with work."

I left him tied in the barn and retrieved Rhio from the pasture.  I got him ready to go, and decided to pony Red along, heading out through the snow along the fenceline and thinking I might try the other portion of the gravel road, which has 2 other properties with horses and can be a more challenging ride.  I hadn't gotten very far when I noticed the middle line of our fence was down, so we went back and I fixed the fence, then decided to put Red back out in the round pen with some hay and just take Rhio out for a quick ride.  Rhio and I also turned left, and he also spooked at a "sproinging" pine bough, and at first he thought we were going to go for a real ride.  He was very forward and ready to move out, and felt fantastic.  We would have had a glorious ride, I am sure.  But, yet again, I was constrained by location (and also by time), and I decided to check out the condition of our woods trail over the hill to the other side where I would have access to more gravel road.  The first people at the first horse property on the road had one of their miniatures out in the driveway, saddled, and had a couple kids milling about, while the mini's buddy was racing around the pasture like a lunatic.  Rhio was all bug-eyed Arab at the spectacle, and was rooted to the spot refusing to move.  The lady called out "Are you training that horse?"  Um, well, he should already know how to walk past this stuff, but apparently, yes, today is a training day.  We continued on to the end, eyed up the snow as still too deep to traverse, and turned for home.  Rhio thought that meant we should get there as fast as possible, and gave me a head tossing display to prove it, but he did stay manageable and we did make it home in one piece.

I did have my camera with me today.  I did intend to take pictures.  I had both hands on the reins the entire time I rode both horses, and was pretty disinclined to remove one of them to fumble around for the camera and take a picture at any point.  So, you'll have to settle with these:
Post-Red ride and pre-Rhio ride.

Warm and damp saddle pads.
It was a great day to be out, and time spent with my horses is always good, but I do admit to feeling a strong sense of unfulfilled longing as I drove out of the driveway today.  My horses and I both needed and wanted to do some serious trotting and really put our minds and bodies to work.  Snow, please, please go away now!

Friday, March 9, 2012

Short and Steep

Sunshine: check!  A little bit of free time: check!  Wind not too icy: check!  Shoulder of the road clear of ice: check!  Time to RIDE!

I literally had a tiny window of time to ride, and with all the snow from last week still here (ahem! it IS almost the middle of March, you know - snow, you are welcome to melt and do your job of hydrating the earth, but please do go away now), riding options are still very limited.  Rhio hasn't been out in almost two weeks, so he was my pick for today's jaunt.
The icy driveway

Rhio's ready to go
I did a very cursory grooming job (it's shedding season, even a cursory job got me covered head to toe in hair), tossed on tack, and away we went.  The most treacherous portion of the ride was the driveway (I hand walked), but once we hit the road, the shoulder was not only clear of snow and ice, but was softening mud.  We headed off toward the local elementary school 1/4 mile away, then turned to head up the big hill.  I've never ridden up this way before, since without good wide shoulders I hesitate to take this route during high traffic times, but the lure of a serious hill climb is too much to resist.
Yep, we're going straight up that hill in front of us.
Rhio and I both looked around in surprise when we passed by the cement-block facade of the old fire station; echoes of our hoofbeats rang out, reverberating back to us in an unexpected fashion.  He was feeling quite ready to rock-n-roll, so I let him trot out...until we got about one third of the way up the steep, 3/4 mile long hill and he figured out this was WORK.  We walked the rest, turned around at the top, and headed home.  Alas, there was no more time in my day, and we'd have to settle for a mere 2 1/2 miles.  But, I at least feel that we made up in incline what we lacked in distance - after all, our first ride of the year is 56 days away.  Time to get out there and RIDE!
A hopeful soul tapped this maple tree - though I think it's a little early.

What goes up, must come down!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Anxiety Alleviated!

Today was wonderful.  The sun was shining gloriously down on the blindingly white snow expanses, but it was warm enough to be softening, condensing, collapsing, and squishing itself away into the parched (and still frozen, of course) earth.  We really do need the moisture.

But beyond the weather, all was well with the horses!  I went out around lunchtime and "snuck" up to see what was going on, who was where, etc.  Here's what I saw:
Rhio and Red are buddying up on their respective sides of the fence!

Got treats?
To give Red some freedom, I put Paco, Gimi, and Sefi in their stalls with hay for an hour, and put Red into the pasture with Rhio.  They acted like long-lost brothers, taking a tour around, then eating hay together, then taking another tour, then eating hay again.  I sat on a bucket in the sunshine and just enjoyed them.
Ah, a little trot through the snow!

Hmm, you check that way and I'll check this way.

Let's eat!
(apologies for my filthy horse)
To put everyone back out, I transferred Belle the pony to the paddock, put Red in the round pen where she'd been for the day (she's on a restricted diet so can't be out all the time just for portion control), then turned everyone else out into the pasture.  The round pen is in the pasture, so this way Red was "in the herd" but still separated.  Zero issues!  Everyone was happy, and I went on my way not at all worried. Yay!


Snow, I will pretend you are not falling from the sky and trailer my horse the 10 miles down the road anyway!  Yesterday dawned sun-filled and gorgeous; I thought to myself: "Yes!  This is it!  A great day to move Red."  Pretending to be a responsible adult, I spent the morning working on the computer before heading out to ride one last time on the farm trails, in the deep fresh snow (a normal winter sees lots of deep snow riding, but this winter it hasn't happened a single time yet).

By the time I arrived at the barn, it was overcast.  Red came to me at the gate, because he knew he was getting a snack (I've been intermittently feeding him a beet pulp mash when I've been able to - he's gotten a little thin this winter and switching to Gesa's where he'll be getting beet pulp twice daily, I wanted to introduce his system to it gradually), and I let him munch away while I loaded my stuff up.  Boarding there for nearly 9 years, I think I found everything, but I won't be surprised to get an email at one point saying, "Hey, you forgot __________!"

Mounting up for our farewell tour of the farm, Red walked out eagerly along the plowed trail, which went as far as the "graveyard" of discarded farm bits, a spot with many memories attached to it.  Red recognizes every new item added, missing item, or change in item position and walks through on alert.  When we first came to board here, Red was incapable of conquering his fear of "Monster Alley" and I had to abandon my plans to ride on multiple occasions because he would not pass through to get to the secluded trails out back.

Hitting the end of the plowed path, I expected to have to encourage him to cross the snowbank to get to the pristine, virgin, untouched expanse of deep snow awaiting us on the trails.  I was wrong - he motored right across it and was forward and happy to be out adventuring.  It was a winter wonderland out there, and with Kelso struggling along in our wake (I really shouldn't have brought him - the snow was just too deep), we took a peaceful look-see loop around some of the main trails.
Kelso, weighed down with snowballs on all four legs and his belly, takes a rest in  the trail Red and I have broken.

Red eagerly surveying our much-beloved farm trails.

Goodbye cows!  Thanks for being part of Red's desensitization training. 

Goodbye Rusty, Jimmy, Peepers, Jaws, and Playboy!  Red will miss his buddies.

Goodbye silly barn rooster. 

Goodbye barn kitties.
Heading back to the barn just as it began to snow, I reflected on how much I will miss having these trails to ride on.  Except during deer season or extremely icy conditions, I have been able to ride out here year-round.  It's not a lot of trail in mileage, but it includes a few nice hills and is enough just to get out and ride, especially in the winter.

Gesa and I were planning to meet at 3:30 to hook up the trailer and head over to fetch Red.  It was 2:30 when I finished riding, and snowing big fat flakes rather vigorously.  I could see the road, which had been relatively clear, rapidly becoming snow-covered.  As it was already alternate moving day number three, and the rest of the week was going to be impossible due to schedule conflicts, I knew we had to just do it, as long as Gesa was willing.

Our labor paid off, as the snow released the trailer from its grip with hardly a fuss, and we were ready!  I will admit to some apprehension about this whole endeavor - moving horses is a stressful business for us and them.  I wanted "perfect" conditions in which to do it; if I could have wished away the new snow falling from the sky and the deep banks everywhere in the pasture limiting the horses' mobility, I would have done it.  But, without a genie in my pocket, I had to make do with what Mother Nature has given us, and just do it.

I drove up first, as Red has the eagle eye for a truck pulling a trailer and will play hard-to-catch if I haven't gotten him haltered before the rig pulls into the driveway.  He is a funny boy, because he trailers just fine and loads better than Rhio, but he will run around like a ninny for a bit and not allow me to catch him if he sees the trailer.

He loaded nicely, and for the first time in my life, I picked out hooves while he was standing on the trailer.  He had snowballs on his fronts and the rubber mats in the trailer had a little bit of ice on them, which I thought was a bad combination.  I've never practiced picking up both right and left legs from the left side, and it was easily accomplished for his fronts, but he couldn't quite grasp that I was standing on his left but asking him to lift his right hind.  He offered his left hind repeatedly, and after a minute or two I decided one foot with a little snow in it wasn't going to matter (a new project to work on!).  We left the slant divider secured to the wall so that he could adopt whatever position he preferred, and headed out caravan-style to make our way slowly home.  Gesa did a great job of driving carefully for both the road conditions and the little bit of ice beneath Red's hooves in the trailer, and the trip was totally uneventful.

We unloaded him, and he looked around with great interest, as horses do when unloaded in a new place.  The rest of the herd was in their stalls, so that we could walk Red through the pasture and to the small paddock.  Red got to briefly meet everyone, whose heads were hanging eagerly out of their stalls to see the new guy, on our way through the barn.
Sniffing noses with Sefi for the first time.
I walked him around the pasture and the run-in shed, and he spotted the neighbor horses, who didn't seem to notice him.  We then visited the paddock that would be his for now, and I walked him in and out of the run-in shed there.  He sampled the water from the automatic waterer, and grabbed some hay right away, looking for all outward appearances like a perfectly composed horse used to living here.

One by one, we let the other horses out, in reverse order of the herd hierarchy.  Paco was first, meeting and greeting over the fence, then seeming to lose interest and wander off.  Gimi was next, and was very interested in the new guy.  Paco didn't like this, and came over with his ears back to drive Red off.  Rhio was next, and came trotting out looking for trouble, neck arched and nostrils flared.  The two of them have actually lived together briefly shortly after I'd bought Rhio;  I had him at Red's barn for the month of November (deer season) so that I could use the indoor arena and the hayfield to do some training.  And, they've ridden together and trailered together numerous times.  We'll see how their relationship develops, as Rhio has become more dominant and Red more submissive in their respective herds.  The pretty mare, Sefi, was last and they took an immediate shine to each other.  This is fairly common, and I expect that Sefi will probably go into heat, with the introduction of a new gelding.  It's been several years since Red's lived with a mare, and the last two he lived with wouldn't give him the time of day.  If Sefi likes him, he'll probably be in seventh heaven for awhile and fall immediately in love.  Hopefully the boys won't argue too much over the girl...
Red and Rhio were pretty intense over the fence, but no antics.
Everyone settled down to eating hay pretty quickly, considering, and I was able to get Red's hand-me-down blanket (from Cricket) fitted so that it would be ready if necessary.  He is not used to wearing blankets, having only done so at rides where he was confined, so hopefully blanket-wearing will be a non-issue.  I don't anticipate him needing one much, but he's probably not going to be allowed in the shed with the herd, at least for awhile, so once they are together and left out in marginal weather, we will probably cover him.

It was time to head inside for a cup of tea to warm our chilled extremities, and after an hour or so, I headed back out to check on everyone.  I found Red and Sefi sidled up along the gate nuzzling each other.  Oh boy.  Love at first sight.

My late evening update from Gesa was that Red threw a fit when the horses (especially Sefi) went into the barn for their supper, and wouldn't eat his.  He settled down when they came back out, and did then eat.  As of this morning, he is reported to be "full of pent up energy."  Oops... I should have warned her - he gets "pent up" really quickly when confined, and in fact the only time he's ever tried to kick anyone was one winter when the horses had been confined in the paddock for a week or so due to ice.  My farrier came and Red just couldn't contain himself, and kicked (but didn't connect, thank goodness).

I'll be on my way out there soon, and will let Red and Rhio out together to kick up their heels while the others are in their stalls for a bit.  I am relieved to have the physical move over, but also a bit anxious about the whole integration and acclimation period with the new herd and new environment.  I am looking forward to seeing more of him, since he is closer and I won't have to divide my horse time between two barns anymore.

Stay tuned!
He looks a little bewildered. 
P.S. No, he is not being quarantined before being introduced to the herd.  In reality, the best way to do it is a two week period with no contact between the new horse and the herd; this time allows any latent infectious disease to show itself in the new horse, so that you can prevent it from being transmitted to the resident horses.  I can tell you that in the nine years Red lived at his old place, we haven't had a single incident of infectious disease in the horses.  Not once.  The only two horses that were off the property in the last year were Rusty, who's been home since October, and Red.  So, the risk is negligible.  Being a vet, though, it's not a very good example to set, is it?  "Do what I say, not what I do."  Oops.

Sunday, March 4, 2012


Red is moving from his home of nearly 9 years to Gesa's house to live with Rhio and her herd.  We had originally planned this move for yesterday - a Saturday - and I kept the whole day free hoping to ride him at his old place in the morning, then trailer him over to Gesa's and monitor for the afternoon (not that we'll just throw him in with the herd, but still...).  Mother Nature had other ideas.

Friday afternoon I spent prepping his new stall, which entailed removing a metal hay rack that I didn't want in there, and also removing 2 extraneous eye bolts that weren't necessary.  We all know how much horses like to hurt themselves - I am trying to get everything possible out of the stall so that he doesn't have anything he could potentially rub on, impale himself with, etc, etc.  The tools I'd brought along weren't quite up to the job, but I scrounged around the garage and found a wrench and a mallet that worked great and had that task accomplished in no time.  Next, I dug the trailer out of it's snowy parking spot, since we'd gotten buried under more than a foot of heavy, wet snow midweek.  Barn tasks completed, I took a blanket home to repair a couple of small tears and figured I was ready for the move!

Friday night it started to snow.  Saturday morning it was still snowing... and we were in the midst of yet another winter storm.  Since there is no urgency to move him, we postponed and hoped for better weather today.  We were still getting light lake effect snow this morning, 36 hours after it first started, and by now we had about 14" of new snow in town.  Meanwhile, Gesa's snowblower broke and she and her family had a massive chore in moving snow in and around the barn, gates, waterer, etc, etc by hand.  We decided to postpone yet again after seeing the forecast for up to 7 inches more snow today, and all the work we both had to do digging out.

I made my way out to Gesa's to help move snow midday, and we dug the trailer out AGAIN, hopefully ready for moving him tomorrow. I also dug out the gate to the round pen and thought maybe I would shovel a path inside it for Red (we may use the round pen as his paddock since it is inside the pasture and he can get to know everyone that way).  The new snow is fluffy enough and shoveling it isn't too much of a chore, but the midweek snow is dense, heavy, and solidifying beneath the insulating layer provided by the new snow...not an enjoyable snow removal project when your tool of choice is a shovel instead of, for example, a Bobcat.  Never one to admit defeat, I strapped on my snowshoes and began tramping down a path around the interior of the round pen.  Then, as it was time for the horses to get their afternoon hay, we spread out the flakes in the round pen so that they have to wade through the snow to eat.  What a great plan!  They get some exercise, and will make some paths in there so that it will be easier for Red to get around.

I was glad to have decided to wait, as despite the plows and sanding trucks, there is still slush on the roads.  I am perhaps too cautious, but I would really prefer not to trailer with any question to the road condition at all.

So, just maybe, Red will move to his new home tomorrow... that's the plan anyway.

Tools of the trade: my trusty shovel and my beloved snowshoes.

The trailer - dug out and shoveled out for the second time!

Belle the pony working her way through the snow outside the round pen.  Inside the round pen, it was belly-deep for her!

Mr. Rhio was happy to trample some snow to get to the hay. 

Gimi decided not to waste energy by shoving his hoof into the snowbank, but rather decided to use it as a leg rest.  Yes, he's not holding that leg up, he's actually resting it on the snow.