Yesterday when I got home from doing some final Christmas shopping with the hubby we arrived home to a big box by the front steps. We both looked at each other and said at the same time “what did you buy?!” We were both pretty confused and then he looked at the label, it was from a tack shop. He looked at me with a puzzled face and I said “I swear I didn’t order anything!!” so we dragged it in and opened it up and it was two winter blankets for the horses. Apparently hubby’s father bought them for us. It was a very awesome surprise. Especially since Piney’s was ripped to shreds by that awful monster he was sharing a paddock with at the old barn. I wanted Piney to wear a blanket this winter because he is so hard to keep weight on, that I didn’t want him to burn all of the calories he ate by trying to keep warm. I had one blanket that was still in perfect shape, but it is more of a thin fall blanket, and it was Yellow’s. I don’t want it to get destroyed, because it’s one of the only things I have left of him. It’s totally silly, and I need to move on and actually use it. But I am still clinging to it. When I washed it after he died I wrapped myself up in it and cried before I put it in the washing machine. If anyone was to see me they probably would have thought I was a complete nutcase because I was wrapped up in a smelly horse blanket crying. I really am quite pathetic at times lol!
Since we still haven’t had any snow, and the weather is still pretty awesome, I don’t plan on blanketing them until mother nature decides we’ve had it easy for long enough and she unleashes the fury I know she is capable of. The horses seem happy enough and their coats are nice and thick. But a little extra warmth won’t hurt once we get to the -40 degree temps. Hubby’s horse has never been blanketed, he’s never been stalled, he’s never had a feeding regime that included supplements and vitamins, he’s never been on a regular hoof trimming schedule, and he’s a lot heartier and healthier than Piney. When the farrier came out to trim the horses, Piney was really long and overdue (miss communication at his summer camp about trimming schedule!) and the farrier said “uff, this guy has bad feet!” Then we went and brought in Duke. He took one look at his feet and said “I’m not even sure I need to do this guy’s feet!” Duke hadn’t had his feet trimmed in over a year…are you kidding me!! Duke has lived a very natural life and it just goes to show how horses benefit from living as nature intended! Piney’s life was polar opposite of Duke’s. His breeding was carefully selected, he was brought up in top notch facilities and had a strict training schedule. He went to some world famous race tracks and won thousands of dollars before his retirement. Duke was, more than likely an accident, the cross between a paint horse and an elephant, he’s always lived outside, he was broke to ride but spent most of his youth as a companion to an old man who spent most of the time scratching him and spoiling him before my hubby bought him at auction. The only time Duke ever went anywhere was his occasional trips to the badlands to go trail riding and then finally to our place. Hubby rode him a lot when he lived close by, but other than that he lived in a pasture and did whatever he pleased. Both horses had very different lives. They were both obviously very much loved by someone in their past because they LOVE people and love when people interact with them. But Duke is just heartier than Piney because he has been a horse. When Piney was first retired he was shipped out west for some rehab that no doubtedly came as a complete shock to his senses. Having spent most of his life in a stall he was now free to roam about the countryside. Even with his suspensory injury he wasn’t put on stall rest he was turned loose on 4,000 acres with 40+ other OTTBs, a couple Quarter horses, two draft horses and a cow. If I knew now what I didn’t know then I would have had him on outdoor board when I brought him here. It was super convenient to have him in a stall and ready to go, and it was nice that he got his grain and he didn’t have to compete for his hay but he’s doing great now. He’s been out of a stall for almost 9 months now other than that problem we had this summer where he lost a lot of weight (due to his mom not being there to check on him every day) he’s been doing great. He’s got a big fat hay belly, and he’s happy! While I’m not sure he ever had ulcers all signs pointed to the fact that he probably did have them….heck 90% of race horses have them at one point or another…it appears that he no longer has them. He’s doing great living life as a horse. I don’t think I’ve ever seen him as content as he is now. Which makes me happy.