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11/25/08, Ashland, OH - The snow started falling early in the morning and continued to fall all day. There was only two or three inches of accumulation, but is was a wet, wind driven snow from the west.  As I don’t have windshield wipers and the roads would be slippery, I decided to err on the side of caution and stay put for the day.

Journey 11-25

View from the left window in the wagon this morning.

I spent the day cleaning the cabin, defrosting the refrigerator, and writing.  About 1 pm, I guy named Rob stopped by to chat.  We ended going out for coffee and took a trip to the grain store so I could stock up on oats. It was a nice visit.

The horses were very comfortable in their all weather coats. With the temperature only about 32 all day, they were actually a little warm to the touch under their blankets.  As I got relayed one call about a women feeling that they needed to be put in a barn, I thought I would include a little discussion on what a horse needs to stay warm.

For a horse on good feed with a good winter coat (and no blanket), there are only two conditions I know that will cause them to be cold (their core body temperature to drop): 1. A cold rain - temperature less then 40 deg. F.  2. Subzero temperatures with a hard wind. Horse hair forms one of the best insulation barriers in nature.  You can see this when you see a horse standing out in the snow.  The snow doesn’t melt on their backs, even though they have a body temperature of 101 deg. F. Also, horses standing together conserve much more body heat then they would apart.

My horses all have winter coats at least an inch long. They are also on good feed.  I baby them by putting on their waterproof, windproof, insulated blankets when I think there is even a remote chance they might face conditions that would leave them cold.  If it was any warmer out, I would worry about them getting too warm and start sweating.  Since they are such a tight knit team, if I tried placing them in separate stalls in a barn, they would probably injure themselves kicking the stalls apart to be with each other.  There’s an old saying “barns are for people and a place to store things in”.

There’s suppose to be a couple of more inches of snow tonight, but it should be over by morning. So tomorrow should be a travel day!

Addendum to tonight’s blog - I was just thinking that I would have to find some hay tomorrow, when - poof - along comes a nice lady and her son with six beautiful, 70 pound bales of second cut for the team - don’t underestimate the goodness of people!