Learning how to manage a fully clipped horse is–um–interesting. Mocha was cold this afternoon–39 degrees in the barn, 35 degrees outside, and a strong east wind with gusts powerful enough to rock my Subaru on the way out. Fully clipped girl needs more than her winter blankie in such conditions, clearly….anyway, a gust of wind caught her in the hind end when I brought her out and started to take her blanket off, enough to start her shaking. Pulled her out of the wind and she settled, though she quivered any time I started to pull the blanket off.
What to do, what to do…Gregg suggested I not ride but put her fleece cooler underneath her regular blanket. I noticed that she settled out of the wind. so decided to ride her with the cooler on to get her warmed up a little bit and see how she felt. Only how to do it with a Western saddle? It’s a full cooler, not a three-quarter, and I wasn’t sure about juggling saddle pad, cooler and saddle by putting it under the saddle like you’d do with English. Plus I wasn’t sure of drama possibilities. So, cooler over saddle. And I saddled with the regular stall blanket rolled back, and immediately replaced with the cooler once the saddle was cinched.
She was tense and tight when I first climbed on, but I think that was cold. We walked a little bit and she relaxed as she warmed up, and then she wanted to GO. We compromised on a quiet walk-trot session (and trot was collected posting trot, not zoomies) because I wasn’t sure about cooler over saddle. When she showed she was calm about cooler flapping, we did some trotting, and then a very short lope in each direction. Both times she wanted to GO–not because of the cooler but because she was finally warm and feeling good. So not a long-term cold but a quick chill.
Still, not a lot of time under saddle, just enough to get her warmed up a little, I could tell she felt just fine under saddle once she was warm, but I wasn’t sure how much she’d been drinking or how long she’d been cold. Just wanted to get her warm and moving. She’d been out playing with the other mares earlier, so I think she just had cooled off and then that one stiff gust nailed her in the rear and blew up underneath the blanket just as I started to pull the blanket off.
When I left the barn (after helping clip a couple of difficult horses), she was happily noshing down on hay and quite comfortable in her double layer. By the numbers it’s not that cold here, but for a freshly clipped girl, I guess it is.