I’m really pissed off that I missed out on all the snow here in early June. Same as last year: I was in Rome when 22 centrimetres of snow was dumped on our property and surrounding district (or around 8 inches for my American friends).

But El Hubs rushed out to take photos with my little silver Panasonic Lumix camera – knowing that I would have done exactly the same thing (but with my Nikon D40). And I think he did rather well. Don’t you think landscape looks magical when it’s covered with fluffy snow?

Now, before you leave a nasty comment, let me explain why my horses are uncovered. I follow natural horsemanship (aka natural horse) and this means I don’t cover my horses nor do they have metal shoes. The latter is known as a barefoot horse. The horse cover/horse blanket industry is just a huge PR exercise.

Think about hardy Welsh mountain ponies (like my chestnut mare, Karma) – in their native environment of Wales and the United Kingdom, they are well-used to climbing snow-covered mountains and foraging for food over rugged environments. Same with the Mongolian wild horse who roamed the bitterly cold steppes of Mongolia. Throughout history, horses have lived in harsh climates without rushing off to the local saddlery to pick up a canvas cover or two.

Horses have an internal thermoregulation system, which means they raise the hairs to trap heat and create an insulating layer when it’s cold. Coming into winter, a horse will grow a fabulously thick winter coat. So it’s important to allow the internal heating and cooling system of the horse do its job. If you cover a horse, then the horse can’t raise the hairs to trap warmth.

I’ve also seen many horses in the Canterbury area smothered in horse blankets under a hot sun. This is nothing short of cruelty in my opinion. I know that many owners who show their horses do this to keep the coat short. But the horse will sweat and this is a breeding ground for fungal infections and skin problems.

In cold or wet weather, I find my horses naturally seek shelter under a tree or around macrocarpa hedges. This is what they do in the wild. I give them plenty of hay during cold weather to warm their bellies. And they enjoy organic lucerne or savannah chaff, mixed with granulated garlic, apple cider vinegar, organic mineral mix and equine flaxseed oil. All my horses survived last year’s cold winter with its 22 centrimetre snow dump and they are surviving this winter very well. Of course, if a horse is old or very thin, I would probably consider a cover.

So this is the reason why you see my horses standing uncovered in the snow in one photo below. They have free run of the property – I run them as a herd (you only see two of them below) and so they enjoy roaming large paddocks or walking in the arena (which has river run sand to rough up their hooves as it would in the wild).

The front yard.

You can see the small creek that runs through our property, with the arena in the background.

L-R Karma and Rosie in the arena.

The arena.

The step-son, Stephane, goes with Zeph to check the horses standing under some trees for protection.

The driveway into the property.

Zeph wasn’t fazed by the cold or snow.

Zeph and Zsa Zsa loved playing in the snow.

How magical the property looked as the sun cast its warm rays over the poplars.

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