Reluctant Cowgirl

The Weight of Winter

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The winter has been long. Snow started in November and didn’t let up til January. During that same timeframe the temperature barely snuck its head above the freezing mark, maybe twice. It averaged around 10 degrees F, with many nights below zero and several plummeting all the way down to the negative 20s.

The horses got more hay than they needed because I didn’t need that kind of guilt. There was no sign of ribs anywhere on either of them, but they were extra eager at every feeding time and seemed to know that it would be a very long wait for grass. I bought senior grain for the old one, fed a mixture of oats and sunflower seeds to the mustang, both mixed with soaked forage cubes, plus almost all the mixed grass alfalfa hay they could take. I overdid it because I was inexperienced and too afraid to underdo it. I gave up on the internet searches and just went with my own hungry winter gut.

It’s February now and the cold has broken on more than a handful of occasions. We can finally believe in spring and green grass, though it’ll still be awhile before we see any. The path to the arena is a frozen, uneven mess, and each time I go up there I swear I won’t do it again until the footing is better. But spring is coming, and I have fat horses, one of them always teetering on the edge of wild, so we persist in finding ways to burn calories and maintain a bond.

And everybody is on a serious diet.


Author: jess

I love my dogs and equines and good food, drink and music. I believe that the world is a better place because of bad Sandra Bullock movies, Hank Williams, and honeybees. I used to think I would never live in the middle of nowhere eight hours from the ocean or own a horse as an adult, but now both are true, so I may be an unreliable narrator.

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