Beating the Winter Blues: Postcard from the Frozen Tundra, Week 3

Are you an ammy-adult eventer who struggles with motivation during the winter months? Madison Givens feels your pain. She is embarking upon her own winter fitness and accountability journey, and taking EN along for the ride. Check back weekly for updates, encouragement, camaraderie and tips to help you come out swinging this spring!

Photo courtesy of Derith Vogt.

Hello everyone and welcome back to week 3 of my winter weather journey! This week is sponsored by ‘Armageddon.’

Armageddon: Do you enjoy owning horses in the winter? Have you ever found yourself just dying to thaw out pipes and water buckets? Do you downright need to risk the elements just because you enjoy the thrill of ‘will I get frostbite or won’t I?’ Well then Armageddon might be for you!!

Photo by Sarah Arnold.

This week came with quite a few road bumps. One being the weatherman’s promise of -55 wind chills. I know many of you have either been watching the news or are feeling this raw experience yourself. The words ‘Polar Vortex’ casting a shadow of doom over our lives. So for this week’s article, I reached out to a few friends and together, we give you “A day in the life of an Iowa Equestrian.”

Screenshot from (Don’t ask me what the heck is going on with Saturday. It’s Iowa, nobody knows.)

So you have decided to go to the barn. After dancing, pulling, jiggling, yanking and hopping your way into as many layers as possible, you manage to pull your coveralls over top. The only thing left exposed to the elements are your eyeballs. At which point, you consider doing the Birdbox challenge while at the barn. After all, frostbite sets in after 10 minutes in -55 windchill.

Photo by Sarah Arnold.

Photo by Carol Morgan .(Note the stop sign!)

You have arrived to the driveway of your barn, and find it impossible to drive through. So you call and beg your barn manager to come plow a path. After some reluctance and the word ‘crazy’ being tossed around, they do it. If you are your own barn manager, then you understand the struggle of fighting with the tractor until it FINALLY starts on the 10th attempt.

Photo by Hannah Owens.

You make it to the barn, and find yourself wondering why you put yourself through this. “Be a horse person” they said. “You’ll love it” they said. “It will bring you new meaning to your life” they said.

Photo by Sarah Arnold.

You grab your horse from the paddock and note that they seem much less fazed by the weather than you are. Despite the fact that their whiskers are covered in icicles and they are standing knee deep in snow. It is at this point that your pinky toes begin to get cold.  

Photo by Derith Vogt.

Photo by Hannah Jungling.

Photo by Emily Nash.

Photo by Hannah Jungling.

After dealing with all the hassle that it has taken to get yourself INSIDE your barn, you find yourself soaked with snow, a little sweat, and realize you have to pee. Well guess what. It will take you 25 minutes to peel off all those layers and you now have to make the crucial decision to whether or not you can hold it.

Photo By Emily Nash.

Once you make that crucial decision, you now begin the task of tucking your horse in against the elements. This means making sure they have plenty of hay to eat, and an unfrozen water source.

Photo by Ali Glenn.

Photo by Madison Givens. (Thanks Ashley!)

Once you have your pony settled in with hay and water, you check their blankets. Over and over and over again, you find yourself checking their blankets. Making sure they are warm, but not too warm. You find yourself so worked up about it, that you are guaranteed to wake up in the middle of the night wondering if you made the right decision. Should you have thrown that extra one on? Or taken that extra one off? You don’t know.  

Photo by Emily Nash.

And finally, after you have checked everything over for the thousandth time, you talk yourself into leaving. You have done everything you can to make sure your horse is as safe and comfortable as possible for the weather ahead. The only thing you are doing now is standing around, half frozen and worrying yourself to death. Meanwhile your horse has no idea why you are fussing around them, because honestly they are just trying to eat their hay and go about their own business.

Photo by Madison Givens.

Photo by Sarah Arnold.

And you have done it. You have braved the elements, taken care of your furbaby and now get the reward of traveling home(or heading back inside) to warm up.

Some suggested ways of doing this are:

  • A hot bath
  • A heated blanket
  • Shotgunning a bottle of wine
  • Moving to Florida

Whatever you do, it is an instant relief that you can feel all your appendages again.

And and as a bonus, you get to do this all over tomorrow! (Or in 12 hours, whatever your boarding situation is.)

Sorry to everyone who was looking forward to another more educational post this week. Honestly, with the weather, everything has been a disaster and most of Iowa has entered survival mode. The only thing getting me through it was knowing I wasn’t totally alone out here. Taking care of horses is truly a full-time job. Even when it is Armageddon outside. (Don’t forget to thank your barn managers and all the people who help take care of your horse if you are boarding them.)

Until next week, lets all think green, positive thoughts!

Photo by Fox River Photography.