Monday, December 15, 2008

The Best Laid Plans...

As soon as I knew a storm was coming in I cleaned out and filled up all the water troughs, knowing the hose would be frozen for at least a few days if not weeks or months. After Lostine's colic episode I was happy to see her pooping again, but not so happy to discover WHERE she pooped. There right in the middle of her water trough, the one in her stall -- which I have to keep her in all day because it's snowing, is a mess of manure. Come on, now! Is this some kind of practical joke? My horses rarely poop in their water troughs, but leave it up to Lostine to reserve her lack of discrimination for when we are in the middle of a snowstorm on a Monday when I'm supposed to be working in my office. This is as bad as the dogs leaving their calling cards on the carpet right after I steam cleaned it.

So, I signed out of work at 2:00 PM and spent an hour running back and forth between the hot water in the sink faucet and Lostine's stall with a bucket in my hands. My son tried pouring hot water over the hose and bending it every which way to break up the ice, but that outdoor water would not flow for anything. So, we had to resort to cleaning out and filling up the water trough one bucket at a time.

I know a lady who has a stall and pasture for her horse on her own property, but she sends the horse away to a stable during winter just so that she doesn't have to deal with problems like this. Of course, the ideal situation is to be wealthy enough to invest in electricity and plumbing in your stalls, and then install automatic waterers, but sometimes you've got to take what you can get. I'm just happy that I have stalls and horses.


Fantastyk Voyager said...

Don't you just hate when they poop in their water??

My gelding will do this occasionally. It drives me crazy@!

Tracey said...

Just be thankful for global warming, dear...imagine how cold it would be otherwise!

Vaquerogirl said...

ERK! Been there and done that. When I ran a boarding stable a few years back we had one of the coldest CALIFORNIA winters in a century- the ice froze the troughs in a few minutes!I walked around all day with frozen fingers and a hand axe! Ugh! Luckily we seldom get that cold around here ( but today it sure came close!!!)

Rising Rainbow said...

Oh god, don't you hate when they do that!!!!!!!!!!!

Laughing Orca Ranch said...

Your post is a very good reminder to me to be grateful for the water and electric we have in our barn.

Sometimes I grumble a little bit because I have to walk quite a ways up a fairly steep hill to reach our barn....and it's not much fun trudging through deep snow, mucky mud or frigid gusting wind.

But at least I don't have to carry water buckets up that hill, too.

Last year, after we had just bought this house, I forgot to remove the hose from one of the two water pumps in the barn....and it caused the entire line, running back down the hill to the house, to freeze solid and burst!

We couldn't get it fixed until late Spring. :P

I was so frustrated with myself when I had to carry buckets of water every day, twice a day up to the barn. Thank goodness all we had were the llamas, though. I don't think I could bear doing that this year with all the animals we have up there now! gah!

I am very very grateful for water and electricity in my barn and will not forget it. And I'm also grateful that Baby Doll only uses one end of her stall as a potty. Whew!

New Mexico

lytha said...

NM has the crappier neighbors but I think I have the crappier watering situation.

Yesterday I arrived at the barn, planning to wash the mud off Baasha's legs to find how bad his scratches are becoming, to find a note on the wall: "water is frozen - go to the house."

I panicked, thinking I can't wash his legs, how can I take care of him!? Then I went to get him, and saw that the mud is frozen, in a pocky, icy, treacherous landscape. Happily, the mud on him was dry, so I could use a brush to get it off (and then discover that yes, it is worse...*sigh*)

But going to the house and filling up 4 water tanks was only marginally less convenient than getting water from the faucet in the barn. No, balancing on the icy, mossy stepping-stone rocks that are set up as stairs (but are really freaking dangerous) to turn on the water, then running down these icy stones of doom, then filling the tanks, then up the stones to turn off the water, then trying to get the water out of the hose (cuz it was full of ice too), then carrying the 4 tanks to the wheelbarrow...

None of that was much suckier than just getting water out of the barn cuz the horses don't live anywhere near the barn! It's so aggravating, to have to bring water up the street, up a hill, three houses away, just to get it to the horses. Every day. Ridiculous.

The barn owner has never kept her horses at home in winter, for this reason. Also, I think it's dangerous pushing a water-laden wheelbarrow up an icy hilly street. I'm afraid I'll break my knees if I fall. Sometimes I can't push it at all, I just slide backwards on the ice. That means less water, more trips. Same risk to kneecaps. Agh.

Now I see why she boards in winter, but that's stupid expensive.

I think a nice story about your neighbors would make me feel better now: )

~lytha in icy Germany

Lulu said...

Along with convenient electric waters comes plumbing issues, broken waters, and of course, the lack of being able to tell that your horses are drinking at all!

Have you ever tried keepingy your hose indoors? A pain? YES! But I've had to do this and it actually works quite well. I empty the hose outside and bring it into the basement or the heated garage - as is the current case. Not my favorite activity, but at least the dumb thing will work when I need it to.

Jenn said...

We have to run hose out to fill the troughs too (the only outside water source is the spigot on the house), but I learned a long time ago to keep the hose coiled neatly in the house at the first sign of winter. Sure saves a lot of headaches!

I am lucky enough to have an outlet fairly close to the pastures (thank you to the previous owners who ran electric out there to run the swimming pool filter and pump!) so I can keep deicers in the tanks. Extra long, heavy duty extension cords are a lifesaver because I absolutely ABHOR breaking ice in the winter.

Nuzzling Muzzles said...

Bringing the hose indoors is exactly what we did last night. I'm not good about keeping on top of the weather, so I usually have to get "burned" (or frozen) by it first. When I first read Lulu's comment, I read this: "Have you ever tried keeping your hoRse indoors?" I thought you meant bring my horse into the house for water. Ha ha.

Train Wreck said...

GAH! She just wanted you to come visit. My gelding tips his water. He loves to put his feet in the trough. We have to use a rubbermaid one so he doesn't get hurt.hmmm hence the name "Trainwreck"

Grey Horse Matters said...

I hate frozen hoses and water troughs too. We had heated automatic waterers installed in the spring. Guess what, as soon as the heaters kicked on the breakers kicked off. This went on for a few days and the electrician informs us that we needed a new breaker(which he installed) and it seems all the waterers are arcing because of a nick in the line somewhere under the frozen ground. yay. so when we get a warm day he might show up and try to fix it. Seems the horses wouldn't drink cause every time they did they'd get a shock. Nice. So turnout in the morning they'd all run over to the waterer and drink for a long time. So even though I thought it would be easier this year, it's still Murphy's Law around here. Oh and Blue has managed to poop in his small water bowl on a regular basis. Good luck with your weather.

Callie said...

Do you have an outside water spifit? I learned over the years, that the only way I cna keep the water from freezing is to diconnect the hose after watering and the spigit won't freeze. I keep the hose indoors, so out and connect it to the outside spigit, water the troughs without a handle on the hose and as soon as I'm done, turn the spigit off and disconnect the hose, roll it into my arms so that the water empties and then bring it indoors. I do this in below zero weather and never have a problem. When I left the hose connected, I used to have to bucket it all the time, exausting!

Shirley said...

After reading all these comments, I'm feeling quite spoiled! The automatic waterer is working really well,even in the stupid cold we have right now; no need to worry there. But I can sure sympathise because for the last few years I was watering with a hose to the water tubs; breaking ice a couple of times a day, and being extra careful to drain the hoses properly.Did you know that if you whip the hose as you are elevating it it drains better?