After writing about making tracks on the ice for the horses to make it to their shelter and to the watering fountain, I was remembering a couple of incidents of our horses slipping and falling on the ice and how lucky I was that I wasn’t hurt.
On one occasion it happened after the first snow of the season which was a wet, slushy, slippery snow. I hadn’t had a chance to have the farrier out to pull the shoes from our horses’ feet, and with snowballs packed into the bottoms of their feet plus steel shoes, they were having trouble on the slippery ice. I was walking out to the bale feeder to check on how much hay they had and one of the horses was keeping pace with me. All of a sudden his feet slipped out from under him sideways and he landed with a thud on his side. He popped up immediately with a very startled look on his face and all I could think of was how lucky I had been not to be right beside him at the time!
The next incident happened in the spring. We’d had a couple of weeks of thaw, the sun was warm and the roads were clear and dry; I just had to get out for a ride. Although the roads were clear, our driveway was still icy in spots as it is sheltered from the sun by a row of trees. I decided to lead my Half-Arab mare, saddled and bridled, up the driveway and get on her once we were past the icy spots and it’s a good thing I had done so.
Do you recall the pond scene in the Disney movie, Bambi? Remember how Bambi scrambled around flat on his belly on the ice? That was Joy – she fell with her legs spread-eagled, lying on her belly, and finally worked her way to easier ground by flailing and pulling with her legs. Again I was lucky, I was not on her while she was struggling.
It's just one more thing to keep in the back of your mind when you're outside amongst your horses in the winter. It's a good idea to pull their shoes if they're not being used, and also remember to remove the snowballs from their hooves. These things will all help keep you - and your horses! - safe during the cold months.