And with the rain comes mud, at least in the area I live in. We are cursed with heavy clay soil that drains poorly and is incredibly slick when wet. Or it sucks your boots off (seriously). So while part of me appreciates that it it isn't cold enough to snow (our average high for today is 49 degrees and the average low is 28 degrees), I would almost rather have snow than mud.
Because this is what my horse's legs and feet look like every day:
And that is how they will look for most of the time until May. Essentially, for six months out of the year, my horse lives in a bog. There are, of course, things that could be done to mitigate all the mud, but I've only boarded at one place that really took mud management to heart and the solution was to lay down crushed asphalt that was obtained for free from road reconstruction sites. Then the crushed asphalt was packed with a bulldozer-type implement. So it was like a slick ice-bed all winter. I didn't really consider that to be an improvement, although the horses did manage to remain injury free.
Anyway, I spend a huge part of my time during the winter worrying about scratches. Nimo had remained blessedly scratches-free until last year, when I was gone for several days and came back to find that his legs were swollen and full of scabs. About 10 days of treatment with Muck-Itch resolved the issue, but this year I'm not doing any traveling and I am religiously rinsing, washing, and checking his legs for scabs every few days in an effort to prevent another breakout, although I feel like it may be pointless because he is out in the mud 24/7.
When it happened last year, I found it the day after temperatures dropped from a balmy 70 degrees to skin-freezing single digits, which meant the water was glitchy and I had to treat the scratches to a large degree without any soap and water on most days. And I still froze my hand off applying the Muck-Itch. For those of you who are curious, though, I will say that I ran a little experiment and clipped one leg and not the other. The leg that remained unclipped healed a day or two faster than the clipped leg...And remember that Nimo has heavier hair on his legs than most horses do.
The other issue with all the mud is Nimo's hooves. Normally, the frogs are nice and robust and firm, but now they are atrophied. And I do battle a slight white line separation most of the year, likely because of all the rain we get year-round (55-60 inches), but in the winter, it just gets worse.
|You can see a bit of mud still clinging to the hoof that survived the hose...aaaaahhhhhh!|
Now, you'll have to excuse me because I need to run out to the barn to scrape/rinse the mud off of my horse's legs and fantasize about desert climates:)