We’ll acknowledge that the ‘Beast from the East’ has caused some considerable problems for people across Britain — but there are some things that only horse owners know when it comes to snow...
1. Sledges are multi-purpose — as well as being great for tobogganing, they are excellent for transporting hay and water out to fields in deep snow. And if you have access to a pony who’s broken to drive, then they can be press ganged into helping and you can have loads of fun on the way back once the sledge is empty…
2. A pep talk is needed to psych yourself up to fill a water bucket. No matter how well you insulate and wrap up your taps, you will still need to spend hours with a kettle defrosting them every morning.
3. If you tip your frozen water bucket over to get the ice out, it will stay stuck fast however much you whack it, until you position it just over the gap between your welly boots and leg, at which point the whole chunk of ice will fly out closely followed by the rest of the remaining cold water.
4. Should the above happen, you will not have spare socks in the car.
5. The most basic horsecare task seems to takes at least twice as long when there is snow on the ground. Is it even possible to do up/undo a rug in these temperatures?
6. Snow that lands on the track leading up to the yard defrosts at a rate approximately 200 times slower than snow that lands on any other surface.
7. You will be absolutely fine driving your car into the yard.
8. You will not be absolutely fine trying to drive it back out again.
9. If you have an automatic… No chance.
10. You have a 4X4? We’re jealous.
11. The horse that kicks the door down demanding to get out in the snow “are you crazy, owner, why would you imprison me?” will, on realisation there is no grass accessible, immediately demand to be brought back in again “are you crazy, owner, why on earth would you put me in a field with no grass in it?”.
12. He will then scare the life out of you galloping round the field like a lunatic while you ask Siri to call the vet.
13. However many time you turn your ankle over on the rutty hard ground by the field entrance that is disguised under the snow, you will go over on the exact same spot each time you cross it.
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14. Forks, shovels, rocks, grenades — none of these things will penetrate the top of the water drinker in the field for a good 10 minutes of trying.
15. You will feel rather smug having got your full wheelbarrow to the muck heap, only for it to dive into a rock hard rut one metre away and eject its contents adjacent to the muck heap… And it will be an unsuitable distance to get away with not having to reload the barrow and try that manoeuvre again.
16. As you walk away, horses tucked up in their stables or bathing in the sun, light glistening off the pristine snow-lined trees, you’ll say “it does look quite beautiful, doesn’t it”…