It's Cold, No Really, It's COLD!

For the first time since I came back to riding seven years ago I took the week off from riding. I may have taken a day off here or there from cold, but never a week. I'll ride when it's -20 C. Either I'm getting old or turning into a wimp. Hmmm, maybe both... Just so I don't sound too callous, my -20 rides have been in an arena, bareback and mostly walking.
I don't ever remember this happening before, but Savanah and Dan (our two horses we have at home) won't drink. I know cold reduces horses' desire to drink, but they have heated buckets and they were barely touching them. Doug came up with the idea of pouring a gallon of warm water over just a handful of bran, and the Appaloosa loved it! He hovered that water like a shop vac. Savanah, the draft cross, kept smacking it with her lips and getting frustrated, but now she's learned to drink it down to get to the bran at the bottom. So that's what we're doing four times a day - a gallon of warm water on a handful of bran. So far so good, but I can see why they call this colic weather.
On a completely different topic, our indoor arena frame is up and the roof is on. Here are a few pictures:

Doug, just as the building is getting started. Treeline Project Management from here in Nova Scotia is the contractor. We've managed to use all local companies so far!

And me!

I stood back by the road trying to get it all in - it's 220' long.

I had Mom up to see the arena.

   Okay, now the roof is on and Doug and his brother Greg have taken over. Here's Greg building the kick wall (with his adorable Levi).

Two days ago we had a site meeting with our engineers and it was around -18. We weren't long heading into the work camp, seeking the comforts of the wood stove.

And here's a video on Facebook of putting up trusses.

Back at ya when I have some riding news to report. Stay warm everyone!


Been wondering about you up there... I don't even like to think about -20, C or F.

I add several tablespoons of salt to Val's feed in the a.m. (and his mash in the p.m.) to keep him drinking this time of year.

Things are really progressing on the facility - how exciting!!
Allison E said…
I too took the week off! It's been way too cold to ride, for me and the horses.

Your arena is looking great! I ride in a coverall and it keeps us warmer in winter and much cooler in the summer, best thing ever for riding!
I don't blame you for not riding, I haven't either. Good idea with the drinking water. How exciting to have the arena coming along so quickly. It looks great! Stay warm.
Oak Creek Ranch said…
I like your warm water over bran idea. I'm going to remember that if I ever had trouble with our horses. When I was younger, I rode in all kinds of weather. Now, not so much. The journey may take a little longer but I'm just not as willing to be miserable as I used to be. I'll get there eventually - and I enjoy my rides more. So, don't feel guilty about taking a week off.
The warm water and bran idea's really clever, it's one of those things that I am going to have to remember that! Gosh it sounds so cold I don't blame you for having a week off. The building works looks so good I can't wait for more updates about it :)
TBDancer said…
My horse and I started 2012 (January 4, to be exact) with a trip to the vet for impaction colic. "Huey" was drinking, pooping AND his guts were roiling and broiling (ear to barrel, both sides, much noise) but he was down and not happy. Horse dropped part of a load in the trailer ride to the vet's office. Adrenalin doing its job.

Vet oiled front and back, said to add electrolytes to the feed even in winter.

Huey doesn't mind cold water; I have a tank heater (the round kind that floats on the surface and has the wire to keep the heat element from hitting the side of the trough) and have used it this winter; we've had a couple of very hard freezes and just a smattering of snow but broken pipes and frozen faucets are not fun.

So far, THIS winter (much colder than last year), no colic. Knock wood.
TBDancer said…
Oops--sent too soon: YOUR ARENA LOOKS FANTASTIC!!
Lori Skoog said…
To ride in those temperatures is pushing it in my book. No fun when it's that cold...for me or the horse.
Great progress has been made with the indoor. What is the material being used on the roof?

My horses get warm water morning and night and fortunately, they are drinking. I had a heater in the water trough and they ignored it.

Even a loose, warm bran mash (which is sort of what you are doing) would be good for adding water to their systems. Abbe and Berlin like warm anything.

It's warming up to the mid 20s today and will be 50 on Tuesday and Wednesday. Hope you catch a break in the weather too.
in2paints said…
The arena is looking good!!

We don't have temps even close to what you have up there, and I get cold just thinking about riding in anything below 40. I can't imagine what it's like to ride when it's that cold.

Stay warm!
Your arena looks awesome! Am so happy for you.
Personally I ride until it is about -12C/10F so kudos for doing it until -20C. It doesn't matter though, that is cold!
To get my guys to drink more is very similar to what you did, I put about a gallon of hot water in some hay cubes and let them expand for about 10 mins then dump their grain on top and mix. Works for me anyway
Carol said…
I keep seeing an option to hit reply to individual comments, but when I go back to use it it isn't there. So, here's my reply :)
Thanks for all of the tips on getting water into horses on the cold. Great ideas! TB Dancer I'm so glad your colic incident ended well.
Also, thanks for all of the encouragement on the arena. It's quite a journey.