It was so cold at the barn last night I’m surprised I didn’t see penguins and polar bears. The thermometer read 28 degrees, which is almost unheard of in Atlanta in December. It’s usually still in the 50’s this time of year. The water in Baron’s bucket and the hose were both frozen solid, along with my fingers.
I read a post the other day over at On the Bit’s blog about how to tell if a horse is cold. It’s here if you’re interested: http://onthebit.wordpress.com/2010/12/06/how-do-you-know-if-a-horse-is-warm-enough/ One way is to feel the muzzle and ears and if they’re cool, the horse is too cold. I went to the barn on Sunday and felt Baron’s ears and sure enough, they were chilly. He also had his tail tucked, which is another sign a horse is uncomfortably cool. So out came the blanket and he’s been under it ever since.
I checked his feet to see how they’re holding up without shoes. He seems to be doing fine- no major crumbling or cracking. I’m still going to wait a couple more weeks before trying to ride in case he’s tender, but so far so good with my unshod Thoroughbred!
On a side note, I posted a picture of Baron with his lip curled up in the air. You know that rough spot on a horse’s upper lip? That is Baron’s “sweet spot.” He loves me to scratch right there and when I get it just right, he throws his head in the air and curls his lip. Every time I go see him in his stall, he nuzzles my hand until I scratch his lip. I think I read somewhere that horses have a lot of nerve endings there and, when stimulated, it causes a release of endorphins. That must be true because he is like a crack addict about getting his lip scratched!