Sunday, December 06, 2009

Sleighbells Ring

Nope, not looking like this out just yet. At least not here in the twigs of New Jersey, though I'll bet my friends in the Dakotas are seeing something pretty much like snow right now.

But even as the little bit of unexpected snow we got yesterday melts away, it's time to think about winter and horses and horses in need of help this winter.

Naturally, if you have horses and you are a decent caretaker, you're already planning whatever adjustments you need to make for the weather in your area. Here at the farm it was a quick plug-in of trough de-icers, the addition of the heated bucket for the two boys who live in the barnyard, and the disconnection of all the hoses from all the "freeze-proof" hydrants. Remember, they're only freeze-proof if they're not full of water, so take the hoses off and open any valves so the water can drain back down into the nice, freeze-proof ground.

Then, because this snow was a tad unexpected, the two horses still wearing shoes had to be consulted. The mare, Pokey, has no issues. She gets to stand in the pasture on the hay the herd has been rolling in and peeing on for the past month, so there's little danger of snow balling up before I can get those summer sneakers swapped out for the winter jobbies with the rim pads and the borium studs. But good ol' Leo, my faithful partner in crime, came in balled to the max last night, so today he was forced to put aside his fashion sense and live with the pretty red Simple Boots he shares with Dakota. There was much discussion as he stuck his booted foot out for me to look at, and the expression of horror on his face ("You're joking, right? In public I have to wear these?") was charming but ineffectual as I was off for the day to visit my 92-year-old father whose issues are far more pressing than Leo's dislike for the My Pretty Pony look.

Medium blankets all around last night as the freezing rain and snow combo sent the herd scrambling for cover, and they'll live with those until I have time to take them off. Or until after the next predicted rain storm on Wednesday. Whatever. They're fine.

But as I cruised Facebook this afternoon and saw the unending list of adoptable horses, it occurred to me that a lot of animals are not so fine. So I'm going to suggest that, if you can afford it, you add a name to your Holiday gift list. You must have someone on that list who really doesn't need or want whatever you were planning on spending on him. That five bucks you were going to toss to the paper delivery guy who has managed to dump your Sunday news in the mud three out of four times....why not consider sending it to one of the horse rescues or animal sanctuaries? There are plenty of them out there, and not a one would turn down even the smallest donation. Got an extra bag of feed? A few bales of hay? Some free time? Let this season's joy be reflected in the lives of some animals who might otherwise just languish in their suffering. You'll feel better for it, and they'll appreciate whatever comes their way.

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