Welcome to the dead of winter. Even parts of the country that don’t usually experience snow are getting a healthy dose right now. Last week the New York Times reported that 49 out of 50 U.S. states had snow (Florida remained the Sunshine State!) Even when we as horse owners have done our best to prep for winter with heated water buckets, frost-free hydrants, weather-proof turnout blankets and the right equipment for chores there always seems to be at least a storm or two (or three) that wreaks havoc on our normal horse care routine for days on end, stretching into weeks for the unfortunate.
When winter pounds on the barn door, our horses still need to be fed and watered in a timely manner and stalls need to be cleaned daily. But paddocks, too, need to be cleaned daily. The more frequently you clean the easier it all will be in the end. Hunting for manure in two feet of snow or chipping it loose from blocks of ice is no fun. My best advice is that the show still needs to go on; all the manure that you don’t pick up now becomes a pulverized a layer of muck once things thaws out again.
How do you deal with cleaning paddocks in this kind of weather? Have you developed any special tricks or techniques to get stalls and paddocks picked up and chores accomplished? Share your secrets with your fellow winterizing horse owners!