Non-Profit Internet Source for News, Events, History, & Culture of Northern Frederick & Carroll County Md./Southern Adams County Pa.


Four Years at the Mount

Senior Year

Weekend Winter Morning

Samantha Strub
Class of 2013

(12/2012) A cold crisp wind blew against our faces as the 4-wheeler made its way down the pasture over the top of the snow. The bitter coldness made what would be an enjoyable trip on the 4-wheeler unbelievably miserable. Any part of your body not covered was affected immediately. The two of us were bundled almost from head to toe. Only our eyes and cheeks were showing at any given moment except when we needed to take off our gloves because we needed our fingers to get the correct grip. The rest of our body was as covered as possible with everything from Carhartt overalls on top of our jeans to jackets, long sleeves, sweatshirts, hats, neck warmers, warm work gloves, and insolated boots. This seems excessive, but it was vital to surviving the bitter temperatures.

Normally this get-up is enough, but not on this crisp winter morning when the temperature was below zero and the wind was strong and bitter. The two of us worked our best at staying out of the wind while we were doing chores, but we had no choice. We had to feed hay. We feed up against the side of the barn and in the shelters in order to give the horses their hay and protect them as much as possible from the wind. There was not enough space to have protection for all of the horses. As the two of us moved out into the open pasture, the bitter wind was immediately hitting us as we drove the 4-wheeler and the hay trailer into position. As the wind was pounding against us, we spread the hay out around the fence for the 30 horses that were at the barn. We struggled with the bales of hay, praying and hoping that the twine would not become tangled and we would have to take off our gloves while braving the elements. The snow was lightly falling but with the wind it felt like a blizzard and we were unable to enjoy it. Haying seemed to take forever, but it really only took about 20 minutes. It was a challenge to move and spread out the bales, but this is routine.

As Noelle and I spread the bales, I wondered why on earth I was out at the barn in below zero temperatures. Why do I come out early on Saturday and Sunday mornings to feed the horses? Why was I freezing with my toes, fingers, and nose growing numb? Why wasn’t I laying under the covers in my warm bed like normal people do on weekends? Well, it has been known for a long time that Noelle and I are not normal. We are horse lovers. We do chores even in the bitter cold so we are able to pay board in order to ride. We do this because we love it.

Once we were done haying we had stalls to clean. Most likely surprising to many of the readers, this was an enjoyable part of the morning for us. For one, it was warm in the barn and since the doors were closed, it was protected from the wind. Second, there were no horses to interrupt us from drinking warm coffee. Third, this was our prime talking time and we could also listen to music. Lastly, we could finally warm up and regain feeling back in our toes. We turned on the radio and grabbed our coffees, sipping them as we got the wheelbarrow and forks and began to clean stalls. We didn’t stop to sit down because we were sure we would freeze if we did. In the process of cleaning stalls, we warmed up, which is a good thing because we still had riding to do.

Once we were all done we got a refill of coffee and our tack and grooming supplies. We braced ourselves for walking out into the bitter wind and snow. To our wonderful surprise, the wind had died down a little bit. This was a relief because as Noelle and I walked outside, we saw the snow clinging to the trees and creating a spotless blanket across the pasture. This filled us with great excitement. If only the wind would truly die down. We brought our horses back in and got warm drinking coffee and grooming our horses. It is a relaxing tradition and we both become lost in our own world as we groom and tack our horses.

Once the horses were tacked, it was the moment that we were the least excited for: taking off our Carhartt overalls. We left our jackets on but we had to take off the overalls in order to ride. Sadly, we wouldn’t be able to ride properly if we kept the warm work overalls on. We both become chilly as we donned our riding boots instead of the insulated boots and removed the Carhartt overalls. We quickly mounted our horses, double-checking that the doors were closed to block out the wind. We spent a wonderful 45 minutes or so riding in the area. We enjoyed our wonderful time of peaceful relaxation with good friends and horses.

After we had enjoyed our riding time and began to lose the feeling in our toes, Noelle suggested that we see how strong the wind was. I knew what was on her mind and we eagerly looked outside. The wind has died down, almost to the point where it was non-existent. We had renewed energy and our horses were feeding off of our energy and starting to become inpatient while we opened the gate. Have you guessed it yet? We were going on a pasture run to disrupt the peaceful stillness of the snow-white pastures. If you are a horse person, you know what a thrill it is to go out on a pasture run. For those of you who do not know, it is an unbelievable feeling of freedom, strength, energy and beauty. It is an exhilarating feeling. We made sure there was nothing laying around in the area that the horses would destroy and then we walked off into the pasture. We waited until we got out of the other horses’ way and then with a simple look at each other, we gave our horses the signal and off we flew.

We flew across the pasture, enjoying the freedom and the escape that it gives us. The wind seemed to have picked up and it blew against our faces, making our noses and whole face cold. Our wonderful horses were flying us away to another world. We were escaping reality and moving across the snow-white stillness of the pasture. We flew around the pasture a couple of times until the raptures wore off and we realized we needed to go in before we caught cold. It was a wonderful feeling as we rode our horses back into the area where some of the horses had taken refuge. Noelle and I had huge smiles on our faces knowing that that pasture run was exactly what we needed. We brought our horses into the barn and untacked and showered them with treats as they trotted off happily to finish their breakfast.

As Noelle and I began to move in order to gather the grooming supplies and tack we realized that our limbs and faces no longer had feeling. It hurt to walk and put pressure our feet. Painfully, we put everything away and swept the aisle. We gathered our now empty coffee mugs and climbed into the car. Looking at each other we knew only two things would make this day complete: Starbucks and breakfast.

Read past editions of Samantha Strub's Four Years at the Mount