Friday, April 17, 2009

Blanketing guilt

Last night when I checked on my horse and rubbed him down to get him to stop shivering, I didn't blanket because I wasn't sure if I should. I've heard that you should never blanket a wet horse, so I was hesitant to do so. Thankfully the rubbing down did help and he stopped shivering before I left, so I was able to sleep with a clear conscience.

This morning when I awoke it was snowing, and Michael (who had scheduled today off of work) said it had been snowing all morning. Once he finished his homework (the reason for the day off), we went out to the barn, so that we could check on Panama and I'd have his help blanketing if I needed him. There is nowhere inside the barn to tie Panama, so I would need Michael to hold his lead while I put the blanket on.

When we arrived, all three of the unblanketed horses were crammed into one stall in the barn in the far pasture, but they came cantering up as soon as they saw us — no doubt hoping we would rescue them from their misery. Sure as sh!t, Panama was shivering, but he was also jumpy and didn't want to be caught. I haltered him and brought him into the barn to rub him down, and once he stopped shivering so hard I called my local tack shop to ask if my blankets are breatheable. The owner said yes, so Michael (very reluctantly) held the lead while I blanketed Panama.

(An aside on my husband: He is nervous around horses — his wording, I say he's just plain scared of them — and when around them, just as skittish as they are. If I hadn't have asked him to stand a little closer and hold the lead rope a little tighter, he would have stood three feet away holding the lead rope gingerly at arm's length. He looked like he would have bolted at the first sign of trouble — probably even before Panama. And of course, we all know what happens when the person who is handling the horse is jumpy. But I didn't have a choice.)

I did try to towel off the other two unblanketed horses, but they were both jumpy from the weather and being cold, and wouldn't let me. In fact, I think the barn owner — who owns one of those horses and is pretty much fully responsible for the other one's care (the owner just pays the bills) — was unable to catch them either, and has therefore been forced to leave them unblanketed. Luckily they weren't shivering as badly as Panama had been, so I think they'll be okay.

I feel bad that I didn't think to blanket Panama yesterday, before the rain started. It wasn't like we weren't forewarned — we knew we had a spring storm coming. But honestly, it isn't supposed to drop below 30 degrees, and don't normally blanket until 15 or 20 degrees. I just didn't think the rain or the wetness of the snow would make such a difference!

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