Winter Reminders for livestock and animals, or another type of Pennsylvania Polka

...and on the eighth day God created the horse in perfect image, to romp, graze, gallop, play and make manure wherever it darn well pleases, in divine grace.

Wow, it looks like winter is finally here, ice in water troughs and all.

A note to remind horse owners that now is a good time for a paste wormer; the ground may contain parasites, and once regular frosts are occurring or snow is accumulating, the horse has a good chance of remaining parasite-free for the winter.

All animals deserve to have a nice house to stay in.

You live in a nice, warm house that is dry. You sleep in a nice, warm bed each night.

Pennsylvania State Anti-Cruelty Laws dictates all animals must have adequate shelter, “enough to get in out of the elements, to turn around and lay down.”

This means you.

Some of the storms blowing in lately are quite blustery, and even the thick hide on a horse isn’t enough to keep them warm.

I know that obtaining bedding at this time of year can be difficult; I called the sawmill the other day and they were out.

I don’t like using straw, but I will use it when there is nothing else. Westford Milling in Westford, is selling bagged pine shavings for around $7.90 per bale.

Resist the urge to heat the barn; this can be dangerous and does not help the horse’s own immune system adjust to the cold.

Read up on horse blankets and buy him one of those, instead.

Cleaning stalls can get difficult, too; mud on the way to the manure pile bogs the wheelbarrow down or the spreader is frozen.

You have heard of the 12 Labors of Hercules in Greek Mythology; the 5th one required Hercules to clean King Augeaus’s stables.

The King’s stables hadn’t been cleaned in 30 years, and housed 3,000 oxen along with horses, sheep and goats.

Hercules diverted two rivers, opened a hole in the wall at the back of the stables, and irrigated everything out with the force of the water.

He actually was paid in livestock, thus negating the task, therefore he had to complete another one before being allowed to ascend with the gods.

Keeping water buckets and troughs clean is just good horsemanship, so make sure to remove ice every time.

I am always leery of electrical devices in barns, including water bucket heaters.

To each his own, I guess, but I just read an article about a dressage barn down east where a hay steamer caused a horrendous barn fire that killed 6 show horses.

The horses were too panicked to come out of their stalls.

However, one of the survivors, a Thoroughbred that flopped on the track and was destined for the slaughterhouse, who had been bought for $800.00 at an auction, was treated at the New Bolton Center for smoke inhalation and seared lungs.

He has been rehabilitated and was on the short list for the summer Olympics in London.

His new career is Eventing, which includes dressage, stadium jumping and cross country running.

I like happy endings coming out of tragedy.

Your buddy deserves the best care you can give, and this includes a nice bed, fresh water and good hay.

Please take the time to do these chores properly, and pay attention each day to the status of things with all of your animals.

Looking for that golden disc in the sky and leaving you for this week with the immortal words of Roy Rogers and Dale Evans, “Happy Trails to You.”