Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Equus Migratus

Tuesday October 31 2006

Winter coats are thick: it’s about time for the Eastern Sierra Equus migration.

Gretchen and I are taking Raffiq and Spice down to Ridgecrest this coming weekend. It looks like once my job is over, I’ll be taking care of them and keeping them in shape down there for a while this winter. My horse Stormy is hitching a ride down with them; I’ll be taking care of him and watching his shape this winter, as in, Fat Boy is going on a diet. I haven’t informed him about this yet.

Gretchen and I will ride for fun this weekend, then ride for consequence the next weekend. We’re aspiring to do the 75-mile Git-R-Done ride. It will be Spice’s first venture beyond 55 miles. I wonder if Larry the Cable Guy will be handing out awards at the finish?

I expect we will spend some time shaving horse hair this weekend. With the morning temperatures in Bridgeport often around 18*, and at least one morning down to 8*, Spice and Raffiq have grown very woolly, especially Raffiq. This weekend I couldn’t take my fingers out of his plush, thick, soft coat, softer than any stuffed animal. He didn’t want me to take my fingers out, because with all that hair, he wanted a good scratching! The coats are great for keeping warm here in Bridgeport, but it will be too much hair for Ridgecrest, and positively too much hair for an endurance ride. It’s like when I’m out hiking in the cold – start off with 4 layers, but no matter how cold it is, after 10 minutes I’m down to 2 thin layers. A very hairy horse can easily overheat on an endurance ride, even if it is the middle of November.

Our forest service horses are pretty woolly too. Tom wouldn’t let me leave off scratching under his chin today. They’re up at our barn now, getting their shoes pulled for the season, and getting fattened up a little bit (especially the older ones Red Top and Brenda) before we send them off to their winter pasture. It will be cold and snowy at times where they’re staying, but nothing like Bridgeport, where it can be –20* for 2-3 weeks on end.

In a couple of weeks, with all the horses moved, what will I do with myself??

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