January 25, 2016

Snowzilla: South Edition

Moving to the Land of Sunshine (AKA SC) from the Arctic North (AKA WI) was a bit of a culture shock in some regards. Nothing highlights this more than winter weather.

In WI, like many snowbound states, a winter storm had to be of epic proportions to cancel school or cause business closures. The snow would just build up and you had to learn to drive in it. To give the city credit, the roads were pretty darn immaculate all winter long and it was a rare day that they were impassable shortly after the storm stopped.

As Snowzilla loomed nearer and nearer, the South began a small panic. Friday was calling for some ice and snow in the afternoon. My poor employee, born and raised in the south, was anxiously probing me for closing information. I informed her that it would have to be exceedingly bad to close. That morning it was mostly clear out without any preciptation. You can imagine my shock then when I pulled into the parking lot of Wyatt's school Friday morning to find them closed. I checked my email and a message had gone to my promotions folder for some odd reason. Darn.

Luckily, I do not see patients on Fridays using the day to get caught up on the business aspect of owning my own private practice. I did have a surgery to perform that afternoon, so Dusty asked his boss if he could get home to relieve me of Wyatt duty for that. As it turned out his office was closing at lunch anyway.

I headed back home with Wyatt (I told my employee she could leave early if the roads were getting to the point where she was worried) and we played the morning away. My patient called to let me know she was cancelling the surgery due to weather by mid morning. When Dusty got home that afternoon it looked like this out:

Look, I understand that the South isn't prepared for snow, but this isn't snow. This is basically clear roads. No reason to cancel school and shut the entire town down.
The weather was supposed to get worse over night with more snow accumulation and we were excited to see Wyatt in it the next morning. Saturday dawned and we had about 2 inches of snow and a bunch of ice.

Saturday definitely called for things being shut down at least in the morning. Ice is no joke and when you have a bunch of people who have no clue how to handle it, no salt to put on the roads and a bunch of wheel rear drive sports cars it just makes everything worse.
The sun came out that afternoon and by the time Wyatt awoke from his nap the streets were just wet. We ventured out to the mall to get some things (our semi annual event) and were shocked to see half the stores with the gates closed. Seriously, the roads were wet in the shady places and completely dry in the sun. Why were people not working? It was no worse than if it had rained out!!

On Sunday the temperatures soared to the low 50s and all the remaining snow melted. The city returned to mostly normal status, or so I thought. We ventured up north to see the horses and ran back into the snow. Even though they are only 40 minutes north of us, there is a belt line that runs East-West with heavier snow and colder temps north of the line. The barn still had a good 4-5" inches even in the blazing sun and Wyatt enjoyed building snowmen and throwing snowballs.

It was warm enough to need only a vest and long sleeve shirt
I grabbed Gemmie and she is already looking so much better. The Triple Crown Senior I put her on has made her coat silky sooth and shiny again and while her ribs are easy to feel, they are no longer visible.

Wyatt wanted to ride, so I walked Gem up to the arena and hiked around in the slushy snow. I was sweating and huffing by the second lap. I forgot how hard it is to walk in the snow!!

After he was satisfied I jumped on and we went around. Gem historically is a nut job the first few outings at a new barn and with the slushy snow covering deep sandy footing, I was concerned about an accident. We walked around and then she asked to trot, so I let her. We weaved amongst the jumps set higher than I will ever be brave enough to jump and I refused to let her canter. She was pretty huffy and tired by the end herself.

The barn is over there. Why are we working in this stuff?
As I rode around in the snow, I looked around from my higher vantage point. My jaw dropped. I was surrounded by the mountains which were speckled with snow. My heart is in the mountains and I always feel so much more free when near or in them.

The view from the arena. This view just might make me take up dressage just so I can spend more time looking at it from atop my favorite mare.

The far end of the arena on top of the "small" bank jumps. These "small" banks are still way higher than I would feel comfortable taking. I'm a wimp. 
Dusty even grabbed Pete and gave him a good brushing. At the last barn he was extremely hard to catch and the BO complained that in all the time we were there he never was able to lay a hand on him. Since moving, the new BO has blanketed him, check on his temperature, brought him in for the night when it was bad out and in general made friends. Pete walked right up to Dusty for snuggles and followed right into the barn no problem.

We got home around 5pm and my brother texted me that the schools were closed for Monday. What? The roads are dry. Completely, 100% dry. No ice. No snow. The weather even states a high in the mid 50s for the day. Have I gone insane?

Well, it turns out that the entire district which is extremely large has to be on the same page. So if there is some concern for ice or snow in the more northern sections or too cold in the more rural aspects, the entire district closes as a group. So, while around here the roads are perfect there must be some sections where there is still ice on the roads. It just seem crazy to think the kiddos are home from school when it is 55F out, green grass and dry roads. Up north each individual school made their own decision, so if one school was surrounded by ice and another was dry, the one would be closed and the other stay open.

I feel for all you fellow bloggers who had a much different experience with Snowzilla. I followed my northern friends on Facebook and was in awe of the massive drifts. I hope you all dig out soon and stay safe!!


  1. I love TC Senior. That and whole oats is what Ashke gets daily (and extra when I ride).

    1. I think Gem thinks it is crack. I gave her a small handful Sunday and she just about lost her mind begging for more. Her coat was soft, shiny and healthy looking. I can't wait to actually ride her and see if it makes a difference in her abilities.

  2. Hi, new reader here :) the view from the arena is very nice! My heart is also in the mountains.

  3. I love your new barn and the care your guys are receiving there! There's nothing like seeing your horses happy at the place where you've chosen to keep them. :)

    Maryland is a funny mix between North and South though in theory we are considered South: the Mason-Dixon line is about 1.5 hours north of me! The general attitude about snow that you see there exists here: they'll close schools for an inch of snow, which to me is crazy, because they *do* have the equipment here for dealing with it! Our second winter here was pretty consistently snowy and schools had so many snow days they had to extend the school year.

    I'm happy you got to ride in it! My BO only finished digging out the front barn driveway yesterday and said it was still quite treacherous (it's paved and on a hill, so it can get really slippery) so we haven't been able to see our girls yet. :/

    1. Snow riding was one of my favorite things up north. I also really enjoyed snowshoeing which was an insane leg work out. Keep safe in the snow and get out to ride in it when you can.