After feeding the ponies, I was shaking my head, asking myself, are they happier at thirty two degrees (Fahrenheit) now? After a few days of well below zero Fahrenheit, we were back to just freezing temperatures. Normally the ponies would be happy with that change, but I’m not so sure this year.
When we were frigid, the skies were clear, and when the sun was up, the ponies sunbathed vigorously, melting all the ice from their coats. Normally when we have thirty two degrees, as we did a few days later, the ponies are also sunbathing. This year, though, temperatures around freezing have meant wet heavy snow instead of clear skies. The picture here shows a pony with no snow accumulating on their coat despite snow falling. It just hits them and melts. Typically this time of year when it snows, the ponies have an inch or more accumulated on their backs. Their insulation is that good.
We’ve had thirty inches of wet heavy snow in the past week. Normally this is the type of snow we have in the spring time. My husband said the news confirmed our observation: it’s the highest-moisture content snow this time of year in nearly a hundred years. In the springtime, wet heavy snow is a real cause for concern because the ponies are shedding their coats and they get soaked and chilled easily. This time of year they are heavily cloaked so they aren’t getting soaked and chilled. That is the blessing in this strange winter we’re having this year.
© Jenifer Morrissey, 2017
More stories like this can be found in the book What an Honor: A Dozen Years with Fell Ponies, available internationally by clicking here.