To my soaking wet European friends

I’m so sorry. I have no idea how to make it all better.

You’re undergoing a deluge the likes of which you’ve not seen in several hundred years.

I’m not trying to depress you further by telling you it’s only going to get worse. It is, I’m sorry to say. Going to get worse, I mean.

I live in the Pacific Northwest, USA, where it rains 9 months of the year and rivers jump out of their beds as often as rabbits.

It’s no fun when your horse comes in with mud up to his gaskins. It’s no fun when you look out and realize you just can’t bring yourself to go out there and swim ride.

Deep mud poses many problems. Scratches (or mud fever, or grass fever, whatever-it’s that horrid staph infection of white pasterned horses) is a never ending worry. Rain rot is, too. Deep mud will suck the shoe off a horse so quickly you wonder why in the heck a farrier takes so long to remove one. The deep mud will also hide the shoe, giving you yet another worry…that of stepping on it (because they ALWAYS end up nails up) sometime in the future. Let’s never mind that shoes aren’t cheap.

Blankets become invaluable. But they’re heavy when wet and begin to stink after he’s rolled while wearing it. You don’t want to remove it and let your horse run around in the rain naked. Not because it will hurt him, but because he’ll get filthy and then you have a blanket that’s filthy outside AND in. One gets so used to seeing one’s horse blanketed that, after a while, you begin to answer “Green Plaid” when someone asks you what color your horse is.

If your leather tack got wet in the last outing, go take a look at it now. Mildew kills tack faster than anything. I dislike synthetic tack but I will admit that it makes a whole lot of sense in wet climates. Take your tack indoors if you can.

If you don’t rotate your pastures, or have a sacrifice paddock in which to sequester your horses for the winter, they are going to be a mess this coming spring.

I could go on and on, but instead, I’ll leave you with this. It IS possible to keep horses in a seemingly endless monsoon. We do it here in the PNW, but it takes a paradigm shift (never in my wildest dreams did I believe that someday, I’d use that cliche) that you just can’t accomplish right now. As the old saying goes, it’s too late to close the barn door now that the horse is loose.

Hang on, spring will come and hopefully it will begin to dry out. Until then, keep your muck boots or Wellingtons close at hand, try to keep his legs and pasterns dry, rotate those blankets, and YOU? Take Vitamin D.

Good luck, all

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About subodai213

Retired U.N.C.L.E agent. Living in Laurasia.
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