I have never experienced temperatures this cold before, much less interacted with my ponies in them. It was forty below when I first fed at 5am this morning. I approached each paddock with trepidation, not knowing if any of my hooved friends were having as much trouble with the weather as I was. They all were fine and welcomed the hay that I threw. I even heard some of the ducks acknowledging my presence.
After the sun came up I went back out and was able to see clearly what I had only glimpsed in the light of my flashlight earlier.
Most of the ponies had ice jewelry of some sort. Especially on my dark-colored ones, the frost highlighted their fur, and many of them had white mascara in their eyelashes. Those with long manes also sported drapery weights – ice balls at the tips of their mane where it drags on the ground when they’re eating. Despite sunshine all day, the frost and mascara and ice balls remained. There just wasn’t enough warmth to melt them.
The mares eligible for treats were eager for their reward but hesitant to take it because their lips were so cold. I could hardly blame them. I had to take my hands out of my mittens to feed them, and my fingers immediately suffered. I’m really noticing this year with this cold weather the nerve damage in my fingertips from using a computer keyboard. That’s where pain sets in first when I get cold.
There was lots of sunbathing and even playing today, though our high was just five below. It’s already twenty six below at 7:30pm, so it looks like we’re on our way down again. The weather forecasters promise warmer temperatures in the morning. I hope they’re right, for all our sakes.