Friday, 28 February 2014

Northern Living

When I moved up north I knew that the way of living would be different, but I didn't realize how much different it would be.  Living where I did before on the east coast and growing up in the shadow of the largest city in Canada, I was used to certain things being a given, particularly in my horse life.  Before, we always had a warm dry place to tack up and ride if we wanted, never had to worry about wind chill or ice on the ground since we always had a place to spend time with our horses out of the elements.  There was no worry at all about blanketing or if my horse was going to grow enough winter coat for the winter!  This is a true worry with Koda up here, he doesn't grow much winter coat.  This year I kept his blanket off for as long as possible, and still he didn't fluff up half as much as the other horses were.  So, Koda got to be babied all winter long and wear his blankies.  (As an aside:  between the Original Rambo and Smartex Bucas, the Bucas wins hands down).

On the way to the barn
Up here, we have winter from November until the middle or end of April depending on what you call the end of winter.  If to you that means there is no snow on the ground, then we're going into May. That is a solid six months of winter weather where the high is around -10 to -25 degrees Celsius.  Also, during that time the sun is staying down longer and the shortest days give you about 4-5 hours of week sunlight.  On top of that, we have icy roads and, in some cases, blocked roads that even if you have 4x4 you may not get through since the snow removal isn't always on time.

Ice bridge!
Keeping horses up in this area is a delicate balance between the absolute needs and the time for luxuries.  If you tried to keep horses up here like most barns that are more southern, you wouldn't really have time to work or you have a ton of money to spend to do it!  I'm so glad I found a solid and reliable place to board my horse, where the necessities (food, shelter, fresh water, safe fencing, adequate space for all the animals) are covered.  It may not be the most glamorous place to keep him, but it's safe and secure which makes me happy. 

The biggest thing I've had to get used to living up here in my horse life is that for most of the winter, it is too cold or too icy to ride outside, or it is too icy or too cold to haul to the indoor arena.  For four months during the winter, the only way I would spend time with Koda is to bundle up for -20 or lower, get in the truck and drive the 25 minutes to the barn to give him scritches and love for a few minutes before my fingers go numb and then drive home.  Last year, with all the drama surrounding the EIA situation, I almost went crazy not being able to go out and see him (at the same time our truck had died and the car wouldn't be able to handle the roads).  This winter has been better since I was out there more often, either just giving scritches, doing blanket changes when A wasn't home, or doing barn checks. 

Barn driveway
We're finally past the point of no return and things are starting to warm-up here!  People are saying we may have a gradual warm-up this spring which will be nice so that we won't get swamped or flooded like last year.  Cannot WAIT to pull the trailer out and get into conditioning mode :)


  1. Honestly, I don't know how you do it. Not just the horse stuff--I can't imagine living that way. Here's hoping I never have to figure it out.

  2. I'd lose fingers in that kind of weather, its impressive you weather it so well ;)

  3. It's what you have to do :)
    I'm lucky that I enjoy reading and have indoor things that can occupy me until the weather warms up! We still have snow on our lawn, but it's melting more and more which is a wonderful thing :D