'It has been tough -- we've had to beg, steal and borrow water for the horses'
RUNNING a stable with five horses -- who each drink up to 16 gallons of water a day -- is no easy task when the pipes are frozen.
Irish dressage rider and trainer Anne Marie Dunphy expressed relief yesterday as the water finally returned to her farm in Castlecomer, Co Kilkenny.
"It was tough, we've had no water since the start of the cold weather. We've had to beg, steal and borrow. Our neighbours have been great and we've been catching thawing water from the roof and everywhere possible," said Anne Marie.
The horse trainer had to use a tractor and horsebox to carry barrels of water to and from the stables. "The water froze in the mains under the ground. We've never experienced temperatures as low as this. I think we really need to look at putting the mains down lower and look to the rest of Europe and how they're able to deal with cold weather."
Urbanus, Corcoon, Egano S and Vileberrie are the dressage horses kept in Anne Marie's stables. She also has a Shetland pony called Buddy Holly. The horses' diets have had to be changed because they were indoors during the freezing weather.
"They're at risk of injury too when I get them back to work because they'll be exuberant. We'll have to do it slowly and safely."
The animals' automatic water drinkers were frozen. "I had to keep pouring boiling kettles over their buckets and scooping the ice out because they need the chill taken out."
Temperatures plunged to -17C in Castlecomer but Anne Marie hopes the worst is over.