Yesterday I mentioned that the weather has turned cold here in Colorado. On the thirtieth we braved the elements to get our two old sweeties into warm coats. It’s what any good parent would do. Right?

Little did I know there were more challenges ahead.

The morning of New Year’s Eve dawned crisp and cold.

Really cold.

In town the wind had died down and I thought that was a good omen.

After all, what’s a little snow and cold to a girl raised in Wyoming?

About half past noon I bundled up, filled the feed pans and headed to the pasture.

The temperature gauge on the car said it was five degrees.


I tried to ignore that little tidbit of information.

As I drove across the Interstate, I thought for a moment I was back in the Pacific Northwest.

Was that fog?

Or maybe smoke?


It was blowing snow that swept across the road like the Death Eaters in a Harry Potter movie.

I turned into the boarding facility and headed down the lane toward the back pasture. By now the wind was howling and visibility was significantly reduced. I considered turning back, but kept going.

I knew the horses needed the extra calories from the grain to help keep them warm.

And there were the daily meds.

I was scanning the pasture trying to find Bud and Pepper.

I wasn’t paying attention to the road and drove smack dab into snow that had drifted across the road.

I was stuck.

I rocked the car, trying to free it, but that only seemed to dig me in deeper.


Thank God for cell phones. I called Rick to come rescue me.

I figured while I waited for the cavalry I’d go ahead and feed.

I couldn’t see the sweeties anywhere.

I started to walk toward the shed, thinking it was a very good bet that’s where they were.

Yep. The whole herd of oldsters was there.

Amazingly the shed was dry, out of the wind and somewhat warm from the sun.

I couldn’t bring myself to lead the horses away from shelter into the wind and blowing snow. So I walked back to the car and got the feed pans.

That’s trip number three across a very long, windy, freezing pasture.

In case you’re counting.

And by the way, those pans of grain are heavy. Especially when you’re trudging through snow. My hands were going numb from the cold, and I was exhausted.

I literally kept saying to myself, “You can do it. Only one more step.” Then I’d say it again.

This was turning into quite the Little House on the Prairie moment.

But I made it to the shed. And there was one very happy appaloosa to greet me.

Pepper on the other hand wasn’t so sure she wanted to leave the shelter.

Even for grain.

I got Bud started and then went in for Miss P.

She was lame again, which explained why she held back. Her leg hurt.

I put a halter on her and led her around the deepest drifts to the food. I had to hold her feed pan, because she couldn’t put weight on her leg and I really wanted her to get the Bute as well as the grain.

Eventually she ate, Bud finished and I handed out a few snacks to the oldsters. I grabbed the empty feed pans, halter and my determination and headed toward the car.

One very slow step at a time.

That’s when my knight in shining armor drove across the field to pick me up. I was never so glad to see him. He and another boarder dug my car out.

It took me the rest of the day, an afghan, one of those rice bags you heat in the microwave, and a twenty-minute shower to defrost. And I was worthless at the party we went to that night. I dropped into bed long before the ball dropped in Times Square.

Just another day in the pasture.


When you share your life with animals – especially large animals like horses, cattle, and llamas that live outdoors, you have to dig really deep on days when it would be much easier to skip a feeding. But here’s the thing, they need care every day – not just the days when the weather is nice.

This commitment to the horses has taught me something about myself. I’ve always been a hard worker, but I haven’t always been disciplined. There are still many areas of my life where I could use a strong dose of do-it-every-day-discipline.

So maybe that’s my intention for the New Year. I’ll choose one more thing and show up every day. As if my life depended on it. Because I’m starting to think it just may.

Happy 2011 Everyone!