Due Appreciation

There is nothing quite like a weekend of farm sitting when it stays under 20* to make you appreciate the people that care for your horses on a daily basis. I think it is too easy to write a check for board and let the daily effort that goes into the basic care of these huge animals escape us. Especially when it is uncharacteristically cold and they are caring for not just your horse but many others – in my case 17 more. Having to break ice on troughs and buckets, clean stalls/ run ins when the sh”t is literally frozen to the ground, and dealing with frozen hoses is definitely a reminder to be thankful I don’t have to do this during the week on top of my day job. The only benefit to it staying frigid AF is that I didn’t have to change blankets… Because crazy blanketing requests is pretty much the icing on the cake that is winter horse care. 
As evidenced above I am no quitter and a war might have ensued against all of the ice on the farm. PSA – if you don’t have an appreciation for funny youtube videos that include some special language do not click play on the video below. This is a pretty accurate depiction of my feelings this weekend though.

Before you say “what about heaters” we don’t have electricity to the pastures and weren’t set up for heated buckets in the barn as this is unusual weather for us. Regardless even with those things it can still be unpleasant to be outside for hours in the single digits!

My big takeaways were that I am hella out of shape and hope I never make my barn owners feel unappreciated.
img_1703.jpgOn the bright side I got to spend a lot of quality times with my two favorite girls. img_1748.jpgDo any of you guys work off board? Notice stuff that people take for granted?

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  1. This week was brutal for us too. Wednesday was the last day it was above freezing. Ugh.

    Luckily the only two issues we had were non-heated water buckets freezing in teh barn overnight and Frankie’s mirafont ball freezing. The other two pastures were fine because we use a tank heater in one and i have a pasture boarder in the other (so the waterer is being used overnight). I think having our water lines buried extra deep helps as well.

    Not eager to repeat this cold spell for a while!

  2. I work off some board for Ruby and then have my other 3 at my house, so it’s basically an everyday thing for me in the winter haha. I am lucky that with only 3 at home, chores typically go pretty quick (as opposed to a few winters ago when I had 8 here!). It does make me extra appreciative of my barn manager on the days I don’t make it out to see Ruby, and my husband on days he lets me sleep in while he mucks frozen stalls 🙂

  3. Breaking ice in buckets and water troughs warrants promotion to hero status immediately. F that S. It was cold here, too, but not quite that cold 🙁

    1. There was a 3″ thick sheet of ice in Henry’s trough on Saturday! Never seen anything like that down here. The buckets in the barn froze over too, but not as bad.

  4. Barn owners and staff have a tough job — always lots to do! I always say my board check is one I happily write every month, and the staff certainly earns it!!

  5. Cleaning frozen poop is about pointless. I don’t work in exchange for board now, but I have in the past. Many times when the poop was frozen, at least in the paddocks, we’d wait until the poop thawed in the paddocks and that helped. Fortunately since it gets cold here, most automatic waterers at boarding barns have heaters. Or they’ll have tank heaters if possible. Though some of the further out turnouts don’t have nearby power.

    At our place, the horses share a big tank with the cows. Since it is such a large tank, my father in law won’t let us run a Tank heater because it jacks up the electric bill. I do have a 5 gallon heated bucket that I plug in when it’s really cold, but 5 gallons doesn’t go all that far. I’d like to eventually get a heated 16 gallon tub for winter.

    I think the most under appreciated thing at boarding barns is that fact that people care for your horse no matter the weather. As a boarder, you can go out if the weather is unfavorable, but you usually don’t have to. As the care staff, you have to be there or make it there regardless.

  6. Ugh! That’s a lot of work! Yes, praises for great Barn Owners and helpful staff too! I doubt you’re that out of shape, it’s prob like the difference in fitness for riding vs. running for example. Different muscles you never knew you needed 😉 Way to make that ice your B.

  7. Haha yeah I did barn work for years and I 100% appreciate the blood, sweat and tears that go into it. Not gonna lie, I am LOVING boarding. Omg. It’s horrible outside and my biggest concern is what show I watch next on netflix.

  8. I don’t do much work at the barn where I’m at now, but have worked at barns for years and it is a TERRIBLE job in the winter! Everything takes 10x longer, everything hurts, it’s cold, and chopping ice makes me want to cry. I am so grateful for the setup we have now that minimizes the winter chores as much as possible! Heated troughs are a gift sent from heaven.

  9. My neighbor was on vacation last week, so I took over the job of feeding every morning! She boards 24 horses at her place, and let me tell you, I have never been more thankful for waterproof gloves, and I have never wanted to own more than 4 horses less!

  10. Man, the weather in the states right now sounds insane. Meanwhile, I’ve just heard that the town of Bourke here in Ozis expecting 47C (116F) degrees today. I can’t decide which would be worse.

  11. I used to work off board in college and that is what made me begin to loathe cold weather with all of my being. The boarders horse’s usually would have one heated bucket, but the wing of school horses didn’t have a set up for electricity, and I also had to uncoil and drain the super long hose to store by the little heater in the tack room so it didn’t freeze. It added at least an hour to two hours to my feeding route. And was so painful and miserable and cold, and no thanks!!

  12. oh wow…we are on our 2nd winter of horses at home and heated buckets and trough heaters are the greatest! I can not even imagine dealing with frozen buckets and troughs. Our ducks even have a heated water pan 🙂

  13. Busting ice is the worst… Everyone at my place either has heated water or have been tossed out in the 20 acre field that has a spring fed creek…they just have to paw the ice away, which my little paint mare is smart enough to do to take care of for her herd. I just kept stuffing hay in their faces and topping off troughs for the uphill ponies. 🙂 I’m just stupid happy the mare that is due any day held off on foaling!

  14. Winter is so much work! The plowing alone at our barn takes like an entire day. I am currently farm sitting and trying to wheel carts of manure through snow is THE WORST.

  15. I used to work off lessons at my first barn by cleaning water troughs, and then mucking when I had cleaned all the troughs. In the late fall and early Winter my hands were FROZEN cleaning out those stupid troughs, and the algae was just growin’ strong… Add ice on that? No thanks.

  16. While I don’t work off board, we often volunteer to do chores when the barn owner is away. It’s expected since it’s such a small barn. In the past we’ve done morning feeding, noon, and or evening feeding, blankets, stalls, etc.