I am a big cheater. A big, ole, lazy cheater.
After spending nearly four hours to de-mud Gabe and Chief (my husband de-mudded his own mare and it took him well over an hour!), I threw in the towel. Those beasts got blankets. Not because they are cold. Not because I feel sorry for them out there in the frigid breeze but because that was a LOT of work and I don't want to do it again any time soon! I'd much rather haul a load of muddified blankets down to the laundromat than ever have to chisel my horses free from their mud cocoons again. Miserable. Absolutely miserable.
Some places have sandy mud that dries loose and you can just knock it off fairly easily with some good old elbow grease. Our mud is mostly clay and when it dries, it dries HARD. Calypso still has some huge chunks in her mane that look like gigantic pony beads and rattle when she shakes her head. I can't get them out without shredding her mane. If I can't get them out when it warms up and I can effectively use water, she may end up getting roached. Poor Gabe's flanks look like he has a bad case of mange. The mud was so firmly adhered to those long hairs on his extra sensitive flanks that the only way I could get them off was by cutting them off. I even tried softening them up with a damp, hot towel and was not successful. It was so cold the damp towel was soon a crunchy ice cube. *sigh* Winter horse keeping SUCKS.
The farrier came out today. I should have canceled the appointment and rescheduled. It's about 10 degrees out, before the wind chill and it's WINDY, so standing out there with the farrier was a miserable experience.
The horses probably could have gone a couple more weeks because he didn't take off much hoof. Just evened them out and re-set Calypso's shoes. Their hooves just haven't been growing much in the cold. I am happy to announce, however, that although we have had absolutely HORRENDOUS mud, none of the beasts have thrush or white line or anything else funky going on. Their hooves are hard and healthy. Gabe, however, did manage to slice open a bit of his heel bulb this morning, most likely on one of the hard, frozen "mud mountains" out in their paddocks. It's not bad, but it is the first time he's done that. I prefer the ground to be frozen over sticky and muddy, but dang, I wish I could convince the horses to just stand still while it's muddy instead of making huge hoof pits all over the paddock just before it freezes.
Hurry up spring! I'm freaking COLD!