Monday, January 20, 2014

Spring Can't Come Soon Enough!

We are getting ready for another round of snow and single digit temperatures here in KY. I've been sick for the past 8 days making it a chore to go out in the freezing cold weather to feed the horses 3 times a day. We have been lucky so far, only had small amounts of snow and no ice accumulation. They say maybe 2-4" coming by Wednesday with this round. At least the snow makes everything pretty!
There are only 13 more days until the groundhog sees his shadow and calls for winter to end! (We hope!) While 59 more days until spring, about 8 weeks, seems like forever away! Until then, stay warm and keep the horses fat and happy :)

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Dangerous Cold Temperatures

Frigid Temperatures create problems...

Very cold arctic air came in Sunday night bringing wind chills up to -30 degrees F. This is the 3rd day of these crazy temperatures. Weather this cold can create a plethora of problems for horses as well as people. 
It is important to protect yourself from frostbite by covering all exposed skin possible. I found that my eyelashes would freeze so I guess I need some goggles. My gloves were not very thick so my fingertips would hurt for a few minutes and then they were just numb. Time to hit the store for an upgrade!

I bought 3 large round bales of hay to give the horses extra food, shelter and bedding. They ended up not even touching it. They stayed near the run-in shelter and in the barn instead. Walking on the frozen mud was very difficult for the horses so they preferred that I bring the hay to them. Horses that normally didn't get along with each other were side by side eating. I use water heaters in the troughs but worried that they wouldn't work in these extreme temperatures or that we would lose power and the water would freeze. Luckily, heaters worked great and the horses drank enough water to keep their digestive systems flowing. My horses have very thick winter coats that naturally protect them in the cold. Traveler is a bit thin so I blanketed him. 
We are almost through this difficult stretch, just one more day and temperatures should be back above freezing. I am exhausted but cannot imagine how the horses feel. Hope this is that last of those terrible wind chills! Spring can't come soon enough!

Thursday, January 2, 2014

A Brand New Year

Exciting news here at Easy Riders Ranch... 

We signed a new contract with the YMCA adding 72 students for lessons this upcoming year as well as the possibility to host the horse camps for the YMCA! Business is really growing fast!

The calendar is filling up from March to November with regular scheduled lessons (26 students), 3 weeks of horse camp, on top of hourly trail rides and birthday parties. Sales were up 35% from last year and with the new YMCA contract I expect that number to go up by as much as 10%. We saw our 1,000th customer back on January 19, 2013 and added 700 more by the end of the year. That's a whole lot of horseback riding!
With the increase in lessons we have had to go to a set riding schedule to be able to accommodate everyone. I am a little conflicted because we have to combine students, whereas, we always did private individual lessons. Sometimes this helps the rider by adding a competitive edge, but other students are not so confident and may not enjoy their lesson as much. On the other hand, now we can better schedule our volunteers and have built break times in the schedule for the horses. We are looking for more volunteers to come help out this year. If you are interested in helping, or know of someone, give me a call soon.

On another note, while we are open all year, the weather has not cooperated so far this winter. December was too wet and muddy to ride and January is looking to be very cold. The down time is welcome though, horses are enjoying their time off and I can get more planning and administrative things done. Occasionally, there are nice enough days that we can get out and ride a little to stay in shape. Yesterday was one of those days :) Happy New Year! See you in the Saddle