And the family's back on Lucerne Hay.
Actually, I should have started it a month ago, at Easter but I thought everyone was doing so well on grass that I didn't need to.
I know, I know, they go through the winter in amazingly good health if I do. That Caps hooves give us absolutely no problem and their condition is fabulous. Anyway, got some today and really, better late than never.
And they're still without jackets, well everyone apart from Chew. Chew has emotional issues if he isn't allowed his jacket so you know, he's wandering around in his. Everyone else is nude.
And seemingly happy.
'Tis the season to be cold and muddy.
And I'm refusing to put jackets on because none of them seem cold but I always feel a bit weird about it because this is the time of year when people text, email or Facebook me to...Time to put on jackets, Tania.
And I won't.
They're not cold, not even Chew. They looks like Mammoths. They are in excellent nick apart from a bit muddy and I'm not putting a jacket on just because every other horse as far as the eye can see (and round corners, down roads, up dales and in every driveway...) has one.
But thanks for your messages.
There's a dead mouse in my kitchen. Well, something's dead and it's not me so you know, let's go with a mouse.
Ok, we have to talk about Thermo-regulators.
Thermo-regulation is the ability of an organism to keep it's body temperature within certain boundaries, even when the surrounding temperatures are very different.
Right. This is what I practise with my horses and I'm going to tell you why I don't rug and how this works.
The horses Thermoregulatory mechanisms consist of 4 major factors: skin, coat, arteries and sweat glands.
1) The skin works as an insulating layer purely because of it's thickness.
2) Coat. The horses coat changes twice (2x) a year and is called Photoperiodism which just means that it adapts to changing seasons. But listen to how it changes...it changes because of sensors in the horses skin reacts to day time light length changes. Oh c'mon, how freaking cool is that? Colder climates also make the horses coat grow longer. Ok, next the horse uses Piloerection. Which literally means raising, lowering or turning in different directions the hair in the coat via hair erector muscles. This is how the horse regulates how much insulation he or she, has.
Hairs of the coat are also covered with a greasy susbstance which allows rain and snow to kind of slide off the outside layer while leaving the inside layer dry and warm. This is why you shouldn't be bathing your horse too much, it affects the natural oils in the skin. If you clip your horse, this completey upsets the balance of your horse to be able to sustain his or her temperature by themselves and naturally makes rugging a necessity. The horses are literally naked without their fur. Also, with a coat on a horses regulator doesn't know what to do because half of him is covered and parts of him (or her) aren't. It plays with their head because they can't just warm up the legs but not the tummy or the butt. We actually cause them stress by rugging them.
3) Arteries in the skin. I have to be honest here and say that this part bores me. Don't give me that look, you know that unless there is Energy, feelings, emotions or magic I have absolutely no interest however, in case you are interested, Arteries through opening or closing can be narrowed or enlarged regulating blood flow to the skin.
4) Sweat glands. Horses sweat to cool down (bored again).
You also need to feed more, well, we as humans eat more, too (my jeans can definitely attest to that this week!) and to be able to happily regulate then they need to have enough food - grass, hay etc. They need to have room to run and they need other horses to snuggle with. It's not going to work if you put them in a stall by themselves and leave them there.
So, that's my reason as to why we go rugless. My horses don't need to.
I do have to say here though that Chew has a jacket on most of the time (unless it's Summer) because he has had an abusive past and wearing his jacket seems to give him some weird, happy emotional contentment. It's slightly odd but I am ok with that.
Caps was also not able to have a rugless winter the first year I had him. He wasn't living in a herd, had always been rugged and didn't have a big, long shaggy coat. Last year he almost got through Winter before he got a little cold and this year he is in peak, physical condition and I don't expect to need to rug him at all. Sequoia has never had a problem with not having a rug on although she is fine if I do chicken out and put one on her and Ralph seems fine without a rug. He most probably has the shaggiest coat of everyone.
So, here are some photo's taken Saturday, in the early-ish morning, it was really cold and had been and continues to be, off and on, raining.
Ralph and Chew
Az. If I ever get him clean he might actually be white.
Caps helping me make breakfast this morning just before he decided to take a mad 10 minutes.
Karaka was brilliant and whoever bought 78 did an absolutely awesome buy.
I was happy to come home and see my horses though.
There is just no better smell in the world, actually now I'm thinking about it, the next best smell is a man who spends his life with horses.
Fu*k. This is the view that I woke up to this morning.
I don't know about you but sometimes I go, Hunny, you better know what the f*k you are doing...
But anyway, in the interests of keeping you and me happy and proof that we are all ok (fingers crossed, holding my breath and doing a little fairy prayer), here is a right here, at this exact moment as the above photo was taken (well, as soon as I had put the Lucerne out), everybody.
Wishing you much love my friends and of course, my humans.
Caps, me, Spirit, Sequoia, Ralph, Chew, Az, Melvin and Cookie