Here in beautiful Victoria, BC, we see snow about once a year. Being on the West Coast our snow is often heavy, wet, and becomes icy quickly.
As snow falls, Hidden Acres Farm becomes a winter wonderland. A gorgeous scene with snow-covered trees, Tally-Ho’s majestic draft horses munching happily on their hay, and dogs running wild while creating snow trails. We keep this peacefulness in mind as we work around the clock to maintain the herd’s health in cold weather.
While draft horses are able to withstand cold better than lighter breeds (they have a “lower relative body surface area per unit of weightʺ), the majority of Tally-Ho’s horses are blanketed to provide a bit more energy conservation; and our older horses are set up to lounge in the shelter of the barn. The above photo shows a few of our horses (Titan, Tony and Max) that are not outfitted in blankets. Simply put: these boys love to shred blankets! If a horse destroys every blanket we put on them, eventually our logical brains catch up and we realize this will become a daily game for them. Instead, these horses naturally develop their own warm, woolly winter coats. Our 30+ years of experience consistently shows that the horses will always choose their natural environment over our human-created methods, preferring to be with their herd-mates in the open air, despite cold weather.
On the farm, our amazing our team of people work in the freezing temperatures to ensure the horses are cared for! It is important that the herd continue to have free-choice, high quality feed; receive their daily grain supplements; and have access to water. The reality: pipes freeze, water troughs freeze over; machinery ices over; tree branches lean or fall on fence lines; etc. It’s almost comical to watch us humans bumbling around the farm shuttling hundreds of buckets of water, losing our footing around as we put out grain, and creatively finding ways to de-ice, well, everything.
During snowy conditions in Victoria we keep safety as a top priority and purposefully halt all downtown carriage operations. Extreme cold can be hard on the horsesˊ lungs when they are working; and our roads become dangerous. Not only do we not want to risk trucking the horses into town, we don’t want to risk their (or the public’s) safety around vehicles that could be slipping on our streets.
As the snow falls, enjoy the serenity, and while you are out braving the elements to ensure your animals are safe and happy, remember…
“To love a great horse is to touch something beyond words.ʺ
(owner of the great Man o’ War and Triple Crown winner, War Admiral)