The little sprinkling of snow has put a temporary stop to Solo’s work. We had put a set of aluminum shoes on him for the Royal Winter Fair, they have no stud holes and no grip on the snow. As I mentioned before, it’s all downhill to the indoor arena and right now it would be too risky to try to walk him down there. Fortunately the weather is meant to be warm again on Monday. I will have to book the farrier and get snowpads and stud holes for his shoes. We only use permanent ice corks on the horses that are always on individual turnout, the corks make a terrible mess if they connect with flesh! Whether he is being ridden or not, Solo still gets his blankets taken off and shaken out and he is groomed and given some handling time each day.
Solo’s feed is also changing with the arrival of more wintry weather. Now that the access to the grass is all but gone, he will have the addition of soaked sugar beet to his diet. Both sugar beet (soaked for 12 hrs) and grass are succulents. Because in the winter almost all his diet is dry, dry hay, dry grain with no juicy grass, I add either the beet or some carrots to each feed to keep the moisture content of his feed high. In addition, he gets force fed salt (about a teaspoon) every morning to ensure that he drinks lots of water. We say “force fed” when it’s in the feed as opposed to “free choice” when it’s on a salt lick. Solo also has a salt lick but doesn’t use it much. Horses are less likely to want to drink when the weather is cold, but with all the dry content in their feedstuff it’s even more important that they drink as much as possible.
I am still noticing a marked difference in Solo’s attitude. He is still looking at things but this week we set up the hay elevator to bring in shavings. I was dreading bringing Solo in from the field as I was not sure I was going to be able to pass it. He looked, I can’t say he marched right past, but he did pass it the first time and passed it without comment thereafter.
He is crazy about his food. We take the feeds to the fields in John Deere Gators. When he sees the gator coming, Solo does headstands squeaking with excitement then he starts to prance up and down across the gates like a Lipizzaner practicing airs above the ground….meanwhile his buddy Waldo watches the show from a safe distance and waits calmly for the dinner trolley. They are all so different.