It was obvious that it was time to throw hay as the winter storm rolled in Monday morning February 3, 2020 at a ranch outside Livermore, Colorado. The six quarter horses were quietly gathered around the feeder in their pasture signaling a profound interest in fresh hay to anyone paying attention. The forecast was for up to 10 inches of snow with high temperatures in the low teens. I load eight bales of good hay in the Kubota and drive from the barn to the pasture. The horses now greet me with lots of rearing up and excited running sprints.
The moderate snow is steadily falling in an eastern breeze. The temperature is 16 with a wind chill index of 4 and a freeze-your-behind index of minus 17. About 2 inches are already on the ground. The orange baling twine is cut with a pocket knife and large flakes of hay are thrown into the feeders. The horses gather and begin grabbing with their mouths at the intact bales sitting in the back of the Kubota. They gradually move over to the feeders and begin eating in earnest. I have been clicking the camera on and off throughout.
With each toss of a flake, bits of hay swirl in the breeze and land in my mouth and eyes while finding secret openings in my layers of clothing and filter down to the front of my stomach where the itch factor is maximum. I could have worn sunglasses to help my eyes, but that would have interfered with using the camera. It would have also been much easier to throw this hay the prior Sunday afternoon when it was sunny and 70. But, that wouldn’t have been nearly as much fun or as exciting. And this dude was hoping for photo ops in the storm! He wasn’t disappointed. Many snowy horses appeared in all sorts of combinations–it’s always hard to pick just one image to try and capture the experience.
Just so there is no confusion: the ample amounts of snow on the horses’ backs means their coats are doing a good job of insulating them from the cold and keeping their heat in. That’s why the snow builds up without melting. It’s sorta like people wearing their coats in the snow.