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January 30, 2018: Wind Song

Who has seen the wind?
Neither I nor you.
But when the leaves hang trembling,
The wind is passing through.
Who has seen the wind?
Neither you nor I.
But when the trees bow down their heads,
The wind is passing by.
    Christina Georgina Rosetti

This poem is a truism and is most appropriate for what we are now experiencing. For the past three days it’s been blowing hard, increasing in velocity. The wind, you can hear it, feel it, taste it, but not see it. You can see where it has been, minutes, hours, years ago.

Yesterday, after I walked Tinni and Tyra, Pete and I went for a late afternoon ride, him riding Hrimmi and me riding Raudi. I was a little nervous about this because I thought the horses would be nervous but they were not. Some horses get all boogery in the wind, but apparently, not ours.

This must have something to do with their DNA – Icelandic horses are of northern stock, historically, those that survived were those that were able to deal with wind, cold, and limited forage and water. They also developed bodies that enabled them to deal; thick manes and tails, thick coats, and dense muscle tissue included. I watch the three mares out there, and they seem to me to be invigorated by what we regard as inclement conditions. Tinni, he is older and prefers to be in his stall, out of the wind. So be it. For us, the down side is that our horses have a higher respiration rate in hotter weather. This is why we hope for cooler, even rainy, weather in doing the Local NATRC Competitive Trail Rides.

Pete and I have a mutual acquaintance who has become a snowbird. Last winter she took her Icelandic mare south and did endurance rides. Upon her return, she rightly said that the heat was hard on her mare. She headed south again this year and did not take Blackbird. This year, she’s doing endurance competitions on an Arab – now they are a southern bred horse and adept at dealing with extreme heat. They have thin manes and tails, thin coats, and dissipate heat pretty easily.

Ahh, it seems to reason that if you have an Icelandic horse, that you should ride it when it’s colder and give it time off when it’s warmer, not the other way around.

I am glad I got this figured out. It was actually by happenstance. I didn’t think at all about suitability in terms of these horses and weather conditions. I know now that I would not move someplace in which it is warm year around, such as California or Florida. And I also would give second thought to moving to the Pacific Northwest because Icelandics don’t fare well in wet, rainy conditions. They get thrush, rain rot, and Sweet Itch, which is an allergic reaction to midges and colloids.

So, though the wind is blowing hard right now, and may continue to blow hard, I am feeling somewhat fortunate in that I am not fretting about the horses. They are doing fine and will continue to do fine. I will put a blanket on Tinni tonight, but this is going to be more for my benefit than his. I will sleep better knowing he has a nice, warm outer layer.

Next: 31. 1/31/18: State of the Farm message

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