Blasted Winter Blasts!

The horses were supposed to come back to the MMSC tomorrow. But they are not. Blasted winter blasts! We had had such a benevolent January for the most part. We were due that, I thought, after last year’s Polar Vortex.

But no. Siberian air blasts brought record snows in Kentucky (and elsewhere!) and mind boggling low temperatures. I’ve been been fretting daily about the “clandestine pipe” in the ceiling above my office which burst at the first thaw. After it was fixed last year, we swaddled it in insulation and so far, it seems toasty. But still, I have been worried. And it ain’t over.

That’s why we decided to delay the arrival of the horses by a week. The upcoming weekly forecast looks dicey. A tad more temperate (20 degrees above zero as opposed to 20 below) but still well below freezing. I have learned in my seven winters at the MMSC that the paddock waterers don’t work in those temps. Worse, if you have them operative, the pipes below ground freeze and burst when the earth warms. Thus, I have learned the expensive way that it is best to drain the pipes when the last horse leaves in December and wait for spring. I did think about bringing the horses on anyway, and just turning them out for an hour or so to stretch their legs. But frozen water is still an issue. Buckets get solid in no time. And we have only three heated buckets (Would anyone like to donate ten or more to the MMSC???) So I worry about colic.

I especially worry about colic that first week the horses come to the MMSC. Changing environments is a stressor for them. Add to that a change of feed, and the aforementioned lack of water, and the equation adds up to TROUBLE at worst and WORRY at best.

And that’s not the only thing I worry about. I worry about our paddocks, too. Unless you have the expanse of the open range, any responsible horse farm owner needs to be thinking about safeguarding one’s paddocks. Why? Because healthy paddocks are your golden geese. Correctly managed, they save you money on hay, feed, and supplements.  If you do as we do at the MMSC and bring the horses into the barn only when they are worked, then you save money on bedding, labor, and diesel fuel (you have to dump the manure somewhere, right?).  In my mind, you save on vet bills too. Horses, even Thoroughbreds, are healthier outdoors, physically and mentally. Probably emotionally, too, if they are turned out in company. After all horses are social creatures.   

They are also nomadic. Which is part of the problem. I don’t want my golden geese to get pummeled to death. You put a foot or more of snow, then slush, then rain, and 11 thousand pounds of high speed and erratic traffic (that would be ten 1,100 pound horses cavorting) and your golden geese won’t look like much other than dirty, demolished, divoted detritus (remember by blog post in 2013, The first why?And that lush green grass won’t be coming back any time soon.  

So to save the paddocks, I would have to keep horses up most of the time until the weather breaks. That means loads of heavy lifting the manure of fretful horses that are in a new place and separated from their friends.  And what about training? Until we get a covered arena at the MMSC it’s hard to do much of anything in that regard.  When the temps are gelid, the arena is rock hard frozen. When the temps rise, the footing gets as unpredictable as quicksand. 

So for all these reasons, I reluctantly decided to push back the horses’ arrival a week.  It is disappointing because I was really looking forward to seeing them: Old friends that have been in foster care over the winter like Jazz Fest, my handsome hulking athlete, Harlan, my immature baby last fall that was just starting to grow up come December, Bordeaux Bandit, my war veteran that started in a claimer in May 2014 and was very “race-tracky” throughout the fall but now is roly-poly fat and has smiling eyes; Shooter, the little meteorite that always makes me smile that has been with the wonderful Melissa DeCarlo Recknor who worked for the MMSC for three years. 

I am looking forward to seeing the new faces as well. Souza, that I met at the racetrack in September screams ‘’E V E N T E R”.  Big, sweet, roman nosed Street Art or “Artie” that floats like a butterfly when he trots. Beachview Two that was with us briefly last year, but needed ankle chips removed to stay sound is returning all healed from his surgery. I love Beachview’s winsome hors-ona. He is bright as an otter and very interactive. And he has grown and filled out too! Slight and slender last year, he bloomed over the fall and winter.

Also in the spring class is Rondo, a horse that has the worst registered name EVER, Pain Giver, but is anything but that, and has started reschooling already and is jumping courses! The lovely Irish bred Loukas is coming from California. There are the three fillies:  Angel, Shannon, and Simple Truth.  Angel will go many miles under saddle. Shannon needs a little girl in pig tails. Simple Truth is gray and gorgeous and belongs in the show ring. 

And I have others, too, waiting in the wings, that I am excited about.  Oh well, in the scheme of eternity, what’s another week? Here’s to hoping the snow melts and that the pipes hold fast!

Cheery bye,

Why is detritus highlighted?  

Because it is the Blog Word of the Day: 

 Help us reach our goal of 112,000 total blog visitors this year! Join our Word of the Day contest and you could be entered in a grand prize drawing to win a $500 horse credit at the MMSC or a Breyer model of Secretariat signed by Secretariat’s jockey Ron Turcotte! Simply read the blog every Sunday and find the highlighted Word of the Day. Then write a sentence using the word and submit it to for a chance to be entered to win! Please read the full contest details below before submitting an entry.
  • Blogs will be posted on Sundays. A chosen word will be highlighted within each blog post.
  • Sentences using the highlighted word must be emailed to with the subject line “Word of the Day Contest”.
  • Entries may be submitted each week following a blog post from the posted time through Thursday at 5:00 pm.
  • Winners will be posted on the MMSC Facebook page each Friday following a blog post.
  • Entries must include the highlighted word of the day. The word of the day may be used in other parts of speech other than the one used in the blog, i.e. the highlighted word in the blog may be "malleability" but entrants may use the more common form "malleable" in their sentences.
  • Entries must also include the entrant’s full name (first and last) and email address.
  • Entrants may submit more than one sentence for consideration.
  • Sentences will be judged based on correct use of the word of the day, grammar and sentence structure, and creativity. 
  • Sentences will be judged by the MMSC staff, including MMSC Director Susanna Thomas, MMSC Barn and Media Manager Catherine Flowers, and MMSC Office Manager Lori Tobin.
  • Winners of each word of the day contest throughout the year will be entered in a grand prize drawing to win their choice of either a $500 horse credit toward an MMSC horse available for adoption or a Breyer model of Secretariat signed by Ron Turcotte. To use the $500 horse credit, the winner must become an approved adopter with the MMSC and follow all adoption policies and procedures.
  • The grand prize drawing will be held at the end of the year after Christmas and prior to New Year’s Eve.
  • Disclaimer: This contest does not have a connection with Blogspot or Facebook in any way and is not sponsored, supported, or organized by Blogspot or Facebook. The recipient of the information provided by you is not Blogspot or Facebook but the Maker's Mark Secretariat Center.