A Foot of Snow Then Twenty-One Below

Willowtrail Fell Pony MaresI was glad that the walking was easier because it was so much colder.  A foot of fresh snow the previous morning had made early feeding a slog.  The temperature then was just three below (-19 Celsius).  Now it was twenty one below (-29C), but the road had been plowed and the ponies had packed the trails around their paddocks.  I was able to feed a little more efficiently.

Bless my tough ponies.  They were pleased to be fed early but weren’t demanding about it.  They certainly were justified if that had been their choice since the temperatures were so cold.  Two days before we’d been right at freezing.  This winter seems to be about drastic swings between warm and lots of snow and clear and frigid.  I’m really noticing it because it’s always been the days in between when I get outside and work with the ponies.  They haven’t seen much of me this winter except at feeding time (usually four times a day) and when I’ve been shoveling hay stacks.

My husband came in after the last storm and said we’d had 29 inches of fresh snow in two weeks.  My measurement was a little different.  In places where I shovel off my hay stacks, the shoveled snow is nearly level with the top of the stack, which is just above six feet.  I don’t where I’ll put more snow when it comes.

When I first went out, the ponies’ coats were tinged with frost as were their whiskers and eye lashes.  By the time I went out again with the camera, the sun was full up, and while the temperatures were still frigid, the ponies’ coats had begun to thaw.  The photo here shows one pony with half still frosted where it was in shadow and half thawed where it had been in the sun.

Even on these cold days, my girls meet me at the fence when they see me wanting to do something.  I’ve been working on sidepasses along the fence, and one mare tried her best to side pass through a foot of fresh snow.  Bless her heart!  These ponies definitely enrich my life.

© Jenifer Morrissey, 2017

What an HonorThe book What An Honor:  A Dozen Years with Fell Ponies has lots of stories like this one.  It’s available internationally by clicking here.

About workponies

Breeder of Fell Ponies, teamster of work ponies, and author of Feather Notes, Fell Pony News, and A Humbling Experience: My First Few Years with Fell Ponies. Distributor of Dynamite Specialty Products for the health of our planet and the beings I share it with.
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