Excerpted from the Rhyme of the ancient Mariner
The ice was all between.
The ice was here, the ice was there,
The ice was all around:
It cracked and growled, and roared and howled,
Like noises in a swound!
Water, water, every where,
Nor any drop to drink.
No I didn't shoot an Albatross , but the ice around here is getting to be more and more treacherous. and while we all preach animal care means access to quality feed and fresh water , how much emphasis is put on the "access " part ?
I have been keeping a pretty close eye on things , around the waters for the cattle and horses, and most are staying relatively OK, but this farm is mostly on a slope , and while it makes for good drainage it does not work really well when we have so much ice .
The mares water tank is on a slight slope , and while they were still able to get to and from it along the side of the fence it was becoming very slippery around it , and it limited how many could be there at one time .
I don't honestly know if there is science behind this one or if it just something I was told on the farm as a child , but I was taught there is a large risk to pregnant mares losing a foal due to a slip on the ice . Whether it is true or not , it certainly is a risk to safety and soundness .
SO I was fussing and mulling over what to do, sand works to a degree , but once it melts or rains again sometims the sand is covered , salt is not an option as the de icing salt is not safe for them to lick , and regular salt they would lick up before it was effective ,also if it rains or melts and freezes I could be out there daily .
So after some thought I took out a bag of shavings.
I wet down the area with some fresh water (no point in just covering the ice ) so the shavings would stick and layered damp and dry shavings over the whole area. This is not a perfect fix either , if it rains or snows a bunch they will be washed away or covered. but for $5 a bag I can afford to do it again if it rains and if it snows, we will be fine as the snow will pack and add traction .
Most of the mares seemed to "get that I was helping , and Rich ,Jazzy and Jewels paraded right up for a drink ! Ici and Peps , however seems convinced it was quicksand , or some horse eating variety of footing designed specifically to burn off their little hoofies!
So I went with some bales string , caught each of them and led them up to the water, they came, not willingly , but did follow eventually , then once there were fully prepared to dance around like fools!! sigh , rocket scientists , the pair of them ! Oh well the things we will do to keep our precious ponies safe ! As I said the rest seem OK, but I will be keeping an eye on things , and at least I have figured out a temporary fix!
Stay warm and safe