Cabin fever

We’re snowed in again. Luckily, all the horses got out yesterday so it’s not that big a deal that all the horses stay tucked in with lots of hay and bran mash on the program for dinner. I’ve decided against racing at Cagnes-sur-Mer after all. We can’t train properly, and it’s too big of a risk to transport horses that far away and have to turn around and come back after racing because we can’t get boxes to stay. Racing around Paris starts in eight weeks’ time, on March 8, and that’s really not too long to wait.

Meanwhile, I’m not doing much, either. Stoking the fire. Figuring out how my new video-on-demand works (it’s pretty cool). Walking the dogs around the training tracks looking for signs of a thaw. Good old Prof the basset hound is 11 now, but winter has given him a second youth. He sneaks away hunting on almost every walk, and Cocoa occasionally disappears, too, although play is her prime directive. Like most dobermans, she likes to chase things that go fast, and that includes deer that Prof might accidentally flush out. I occasionally finish the tour with no dogs, but they both know the way home and will get there eventually. The other night, Cocoa disappeared for a good long time. I left the gate open and went to do night stable. By the time I was finished, I found she had come back to the yard – with a trophy. It was dark, so I didn’t see what she had in her mouth before she bounced over to me with a big grin and a wagging tail and dropped the entire head of a deer into my hands. I was horrified that she might have brought down the animal until my neighbor and I had a closer look. The head had clearly been severed with a hunting knife, probably by illegal hunters near the back of the training center. I was relieved Cocoa wasn’t guilty, but I could have lived without having a head handed to me.

You can tell by this post I really don’t have enough to do at the moment, but I’m trying to take advantage of the break because I know things are going to pick up soon. Once we can work normally again, Skid and Brazil need to come back to work, and there are the yearlings (well, two-year-olds now) to get moving. But not yet.

0 Replies to “Cabin fever”

  1. My daughter’s horse is an outside horse at the pony club – stays in a big field with a toasty horseware ‘subzero’ blanket on him. But the days the temperature dropped to -10 here, we had to add another blanket as the poor chap was shivering. No shelter in the field, just biting wind and snow drifts. It took my daughter 20 minutes to chip a huge ball of ice out of his front hoof, and the horse must have lost at least 15 kilos in the cold. The pony club dumps big heaps of straw for the horses, and they get their ‘ganulĂ©es’ but the ‘free pensioners’, such as us, don’t get the boxes, the hay, or the extra feed, so now the horse is pretty low on energy. I wish they’d have offered more for the horses to eat during the cold snap, but spring is coming, and then, in the big field, he’ll have lots to eat. But I can just imagine how happy Kalin would be in a warm box with lots of hay and a bran mash – luckily he can’t read your blog!

  2. No hay? They should at least have dumped in plenty of hay, plus have a run-in shelter available where they could huddle together if they wanted to. Straw would be the last thing you would want them picking at given the increased colic risk in cold weather. Sounds like he made it through the worst of it, anyway. I think the thaw is here…at least for now.

  3. Argh – now I’m worrying, lol. My daughter kept sneaking great armloads of hay to him, but she said hay is for the ‘paying owners’ horses. Our horse belongs to us, but the pony club uses it for classes, so we don’t have to pay for keep. (just shoes and vet bills). I’m starting to think I’d rather pay for his keep than worry about him.
    I found out his grandfather was a race horse here in France – his name was Chamberlin.

  4. No jogging on the paths or are they frozen??? I am a firm believer in racing them when they are fit as they can go 5-7 days just walking and run agin with no bad effects but as I have never raced in France I donot know..

  5. How is the purse divided in France? At hwat point are you out of the money? Here in the USA most tracks pay incentive money if u run less than 5th. Here the purse in payed to 5 places.. What does a french condtion book look like??

  6. Charles – The paths were too frozen and rutted to risk an ankle twist. I wouldn’t even walk on them. But we’re thawing now and things are getting back to normal. Although, unfortunately, there’s not much racing around. I’ll write a post on the condition books here and how the season works. That should give me something to do!
    Jennifer – Chamberlin was briefly in my yard! I’ll email you about him.

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