How To Beat The White Winter Blues

Posted in: Featured, Ranch Life

We’re in the middle of one of the coldest, snowiest winters in anyone’s memory. Old timers across the nation are saying they haven’t seen this much snow in over thirty years. It’s great to store up so much moisture for the coming growing season, but these short, frozen days and long, even more frozen nights can be a little tough to get through for people in the Lower 48 who are used to spending most of their time outdoors.

As a whole, horse owners are outdoorsy-type people. Being cooped inside the house for weeks at a time and venturing outside only to throw a few flakes of hay, break some ice and make sure all the critters are healthy and sound can sure get old in a quick hurry. Here are a few ways to break a winter-induced negative state of mind and make the cold season pass a little quicker.

1) Oil all your tack. Build a fire or turn up the furnace, pull up a chair, grab a bucket of warm water and a jug of cheap olive oil. Then give all your gear that good cleaning you meant to do all summer but were too busy using it.

2) Read or re-read a horse training book, or watch a DVD. Cold weather is the perfect time to study the art of horsemanship, since you can’t actually practice it. There’s a ton of great knowledge stored in the books and videos available today, and this is the season you’re most likely to take advantage of learning the information that will benefit your long summer days in the saddle.

3) Clean your house top to bottom – wash the walls, bleach the baseboards, take a pumice stone to the toilet. Well, adjust the depth of your deep-cleaning to your personal tastes and standards of household cleanliness. Not everyone gets a little high off a clean house like I do (or maybe that’s just bleach fumes?), but it’s a chore that always needs doing and is easy to put off when there is more fun to be had outside. This winter, there isn’t anything fun to do outside, unless you get a little high off shoveling snow, so you might as well do a few inside chores.

4) Walk through your house and admire how clean it is. Wait, is that just me? I figure since I worked super hard at scrubbing that microfiber couch and those beige walls, I might as well observe and enjoy it for the 3.5 minutes that it will last.

5) Put on a big coat and your warm boots, catch your horse and give him or her a thorough grooming. Warm months invite us to brush our horses quickly, throw a saddle on and get to riding, but forcing us to enjoy a slower pace is one of winter’s gifts. Rather than trying to improve our horse’s training with every contact, it’s nice for all involved to stand in the barn while your horse munches on a bucket of oats and you work the tangles and mud clumps out of his mane. Remember when you were a little kid and you just loved anything horse-related, from the smell of their hair to the crunching sound they make when they eat and the way they swing their head around and perk up their ears when they hear a distant sound? It’s like that.

6) Braid a hackamore, sew a quilt, glue pictures in a scrapbook, paint a watercolor, write a short story, read a novel, or do some other non-horse related activity you enjoy, but are usually too busy riding to pursue. Warm weather will return, and you will get your fill of riding again. And then you will acquire another stack of unfinished non-horse projects that patiently wait inside the house for next winter.

Those hackamores and bridles will just have to hang on the wall for a couple more months while the white stuff blankets the ground.


Posted in: Featured, Ranch Life

About Jolyn Young

Jolyn Young lives near Montello, NV with her cowboy husband and 3 small kids. For more, visit

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