The horses got a special, hot holiday meal Christmas morning. I discovered over Thanksgiving that all three LOVE sweet potatoes...perhaps even more than carrots and apples. Which is cool since sweet potatoes have been on sale lately so I can get tons of them for almost nothing.
I chopped up a bunch of sweet potatoes, some carrots, a few apples and drizzled molasses over the whole mess. That got mixed in with their morning meal of hot beet pulp mash and feed. Talk about some happy ponies! Gabe discovered the extra treats right away and wasn't going to move his head out of his bucket for nuthin'!
Because of the mud and ice I haven't ridden for about two weeks. Christmas Day dawned chilly but sunny, and warmed up just above freezing by early afternoon so I thought Kayleigh and I would go for a little ride. I knew we wouldn't be able to do much as the creek is over it's banks, blocking some of our trails, the neighboring fields are off limits until hunting season is over and my upper pasture/field is flooded and frozen. Little did I know we would be stuck just riding up and down the driveway. I thought for sure we'd be able to use the short, hilly trail around the woods, but it was too dangerous. This is how crappy our weather has been. We've had rain or sleet or freezing rain every third or fourth day since the end of October. That means the mud is DEEP. Then it got cold and stayed cold, so the mud froze DEEP. Which is okay, as long as it's just frozen mud. But, wait! There's more! Because the mud is frozen solid any rain we get doesn't sink in to the dirt, it sits ON TOP...and then freezes. On everything. The hills on the outer trail were ice. The horses have churned up the mud pretty good in their paddocks, so they have good grip there. Sure, they have to pick their way slowly around the paddocks like a bunch of cripples, but it keeps them from acting like morons and falling on ice. I can't even turn them out in the fields to give them some time to really stretch because the fields are a solid sheet of ice, even under the grass. No grip at all there. And because it got a bit warm yesterday, a thin layer of mud and ice thawed over the frozen mud, so, it was a whole lot like trying to walk across snot on glass.
I couldn't even work Gabe. I pulled him out and groomed and was going to take him up to work him in the pasture when he started acting silly and slipping everywhere. I think he hit just about every frozen puddle from his paddock to the hitching post and slid on each one. There were a couple of moments when I thought he was going to attempt to do the splits. Scary! So, he just got groomed, fussed over and put back in his paddock where the footing is like a mine field but at least it's not slick. I know he wants to run and buck and fart and be a goof, but not quite yet. He'd slip on the ice and break a leg.
I'd much prefer snow to all the rain we've gotten. At least snow packs and we can ride in snow. We can't do much of anything in this mud and ice. And it looks like it's not going to end any time soon. We are currently under a flood watch. In December. Flood. As in LOTS of water. The main road that takes us through the bottoms and into civilization was flooded this morning and barely passable. By tonight it will be completely impassable and I'll have to go around. That adds about 15-20 minutes to my commute. Woo hoo! Winter in the Mississippi River Valley is fabulous!