Ear Icicles

I have definitely found the learning curve for winter horse care with ponies at home to be much larger than summer. As I mentioned in my last post, Stampede is pretty insistent that I keep him warm and dressing him is much different from how it was at the boarding barn. The other night it had been snowing like crazy when they came in so I took the time to brush the snow off their blankets and such. I had never experienced horse ear icicles before!

Earcicles – note the temperature, it only went down from there! Brrr

Carrying some snow around

Providing winter hay has been one of the bigger challenges. I found that my intended hay troughs meant they would just throw the hay on the ground and make a mess. I’m currently testing out securing hay nets in the troughs and securing the troughs to the fence (since certain ponies were then knocking the troughs over) so we will see how that turns out then I’ll blog more about it! Thanks to all of my blogger friends I’ve been pestering for the input on hay feeding!

Hay mess with cute pony cleaning up and his brother being a weirdo in the background

Yesterday as I was picking the pasture Stampede decided to roll and then lay there in awkward positions for a while. For example…

He is special

It appeared he had a good time then went back to hay clean up. I try not to think too hard about what he’s doing when I’m not looking.

Contemplating retired life in winter

When I was changing Stampede’s blankets for the millionth time a couple of days ago I realized I finally had a good photo opportunity. For Stampede this is a pretty decent weight. I’d love more yet but he self limits himself on food so I just keep stuffing in what he will take. It’s interesting that his “hunter bump” has gotten less noticeable in retirement but the location of his back arthritis is a bit more obvious (look right at the back of where the saddle would sit and you will see the small hill). He might challenge me from a care standpoint but I still look at him and think he is so handsome.

Handsome as ever

Maestro continues to show more personality as time goes on which I’m having fun with – love horses who are fun and playful. He is such a chill horse in general that it’s amusing to me when something happens where he reminds me he’s a baby. Saturday in the lesson we were just starting to jump, trotting back and forth over an X to warm up, when a baby moment appeared. My friend on her Irish Sport Horse was going to the X before me and I had picked up a trot as she was going over the fence. Her horse farts as he goes over and then Maestro just finds that super exciting and starts hopping around. He then proceeded to be super excited and forward as we continued jumping, complete with one of those moments where you are supposed to trot a fence and do a roll back and we continued straight with no brakes, lol. I was beginning to wonder what this meant for me as we moved on to an exercise of doing a two stride to a two stride to help the horses rock back and use themselves and I only had a Sprenger Duo (ie piece of rubber) on him. Maestro continued to be fairly animated but the jumps helped to back him off a bit. Next was a full course and I’m imagining my lack of brakes that might be coming when I headed to the long run diagonal straight towards the exit door of the indoor. Thankfully, while still more forward than usual (which is actually nice!) he was responsive to my requests to slow for the right distances and went around pretty nicely. What a good egg!

When your ears are so big it’s hard to see the cute little Christmas hat

Maestro also got a new stocking after he made love to the last one. This time I hung it up at the far edge of his stall to ensure its safety.

Stocking take 2

I’m still on the name hunt if anyone has other ideas. Wondering if I should leave behind the music theme since that type of music is totally not my thing and maybe try to just think of something Irish or you know completely random but fitting to his personality? Names I still have on my mind include Virtuoso (of course!), The Conducter (really sad people would probably think it’s about trains though), Crescendo (although kind of goes against hunter consistent pace), and Double Concerto (kind of cute that it’s about two performers).





  1. Ashley

    Excited to read about your hay solution! I just bought tube-o-sand 70 lb bags to weight my bins, if the mares ever get around to cleaning them out, that is. Is Stampede eating from the nets? I know you said he hadn’t eaten from a net before and have been wondering about him. I’ve been working from home a lot more lately and spend way too much time staring out the window at the horses… it’s weird to see their day to day habits and I think my girls spend way too much time wandering around acting starved or staring off into the distance.

    Maestro seems like such a good egg, even when he is silly – I’m bad at show names, but I hope one comes to you and just… fits! I enjoy seeing videos of him on instagram and wishing my horses were as consistent and happy to bop around a course.

    1. stampyandthebrain (Post author)

      The horses kind of eat from the nets and kind of just stand around looking sad until we give them loose hay…so not working out so well despite my design being good and not having any issues with the nets/trough situation. Stampede just isn’t the most motivated eater to begin with so it’s difficult. Considering just spending the million dollars for porta-grazers.

      I keep waiting for that show name to pop, no luck yet! Maestro is such a good boy though, excited to see where life takes us.

  2. Teresa

    I have tried many solutions. The current one that my husband built seems to be working great- its a slow feed net fastened into a raised wooden box.

    1. stampyandthebrain (Post author)

      So far they are pretty upset about the nets and spend a lot of time on hunger strike between when I throw some loose hay. Argh.

  3. L. Williams

    Ahh poor pony ears! Good luck with the name hunt and glad Maestro is being a good boy.

    1. stampyandthebrain (Post author)

      Do they make winter horse hats? 😉 Name hunt is driving me crazy!

  4. Stacie Seidman

    I think Stampede’s weight looks great! I would think you wouldn’t want him too much heavier or you might start to see other issues pop up with arthritis and what not. Only speaking from experience as Rio used to be the easiest of keepers and I was regularly reprimanded about his weight causing soreness. As he’s aged though, he’s starting to lose shape and get that old man bony look. So depressing! Vet insists he’s doing fine though, so there’s that!
    There was a pretty famous hunter back when I was a junior named Maestro, or I’d suggest just using that. What about “The Maestro”? I think there was a Seinfeld episode about a Maestro actually, and he wanted to be called THE Maestro. Lol.

    1. stampyandthebrain (Post author)

      I am satisfied with his weight currently but I always push for more because he can drop weight in about two seconds and doesn’t always eat his grain readily (usually several times a week I have to remove his bucket before turnout so his brother doesn’t get a snack). This is his weight being up from what it in the fall which freaks me out a bit. I’m scared for what that means when he’s actually old, to me 16 is just middle aged. I always think Rio looks great! It’s hard to see your own horse clearly especially when you know what they looked like at their best.
      So “The Maestro” is what his previous owner was using. I guess I need to see this Seinfeld episode! And actually Mr. Maestro sounds kind of cute to me…

      1. Stacie Seidman

        Oh! Mr. Maestro is adorable! I vote for that!
        (Lol, I try to only photograph Rio from his good angles 😉 He’s very vain and would be super offended if I shared anything but!)

        1. stampyandthebrain (Post author)

          Angles are very important, wouldn’t want their fans to see them at less than their best 😉


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