November 20, 2014

Thinking About New York

I am grateful that the ponies are warm and safe and loving the current 30 degree high temps. Mother nature didn't hand us anything that we don't normally get (albeit a bit early), so it was business as usual around here and continues to be into the extended forecast. However, upstate New York is a whole other matter.

If you haven't heard they've had six feet of snow and have a few more feet expected this weekend. Cars are buried and people have been stranded on the highway and can't get out of their homes. I even read a story about a poor Dorito truck being ran-sacked when it got stuck and nearby residents got hungry.

I feel for all those people, but it also got me thinking. What about their horses? Are they also buried under six feet of snow? Are barn and arena roofs collapsing under all that snow? What would I do with with our horses if a storm like that hit us?

I have always thought about how and where I would evacuate the horses if there was a forest fire. It seems half of Montana is always on fire every year, and we live very near forest service and state land with a lot of beetle kill, so this is a legitimate concern. However, it never occurred to me to think about what I would do if an honest to goodness legitimate blizzard hit us. I guess I would just put them in the barn, move the feed tubs to the tack room, put a few boards up to keep them out of the hay, and just let them poop the place up, and then pray the roof holds.

Seriously though, what do people do with their horses (and cattle, llamas, alpacas, goats, sheep...etc) in blizzard conditions like that?

Happy trails and swooshing tails!


  1. We had one good one when I was in Alberta, and the plan was pretty much what you describe - keep the horses in the barn/indoor, load in a few round bales, top up a bunch of extra water buckets and cross fingers re: the roof. Also don't plan on using any of the big doors if the roofline allows snow to pile near them. I know some of the more 'old school' types just make sure the horses have some sort of trees/windbreak and leave them to it - I don't think I'd be so brave!

  2. We got 4' of snow in one day two different times while I was living in NY. We didn't do much different. Horses were rotated on turn out in the indoor while we did stalls, we broke ice on the buckets and topped off anyone that needed it with gallon jugs of water that had been bought ahead of time for just such a purpose, and stock piled them with enough hay that we could skip the mid-morning feeding.

    It usually only took that first day to use the tractor to clear out a path to a good water source (usually the house), and aside from turnout in the indoor until the snow went down, that was about the only difficulty.

    In places where getting so much snow is a regularity (granted this is A LOT of snow, but Buffalo usually gets dumped on heavily anyway), people usually have a pretty set contingency plan and it's not as hard as you might think.

  3. Thankfully we hardly get snow at all but I'm thinking of the people in New York also. So sad!

  4. scary to think about! hopefully it's like Carly says - ppl have contingency plans. we got snow when i lived in rochester, sure, but not THAT kind of snow...



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