Our pasture is a large field with a hill or two and the type of soil we have makes for deep mud in the spring especially the low areas, and usually around the large round bales of hay where the horses stand and eat. Thursday and Friday majority of our horses show so myself and the other assistant trainer take turns venturing out into the pasture to retrieve the next couple of horses to get cleaned up. It’s a treacherous job but we loyal employees wade out without much complaint and navigate our way to the chosen horses; meanwhile the other of us is rinsing off mud caked legs and tummies with a keen eye on our counterpart in the field; less she goes down and is swallowed up by the mud.
On my third trek out to bring in more horses the one I wanted was standing in knee deep mud by one of the round bales; as I approached him one of the other horses decided she didn’t like his close proximity and with laid flat back ears and open mouth lunged at him. He ducked to avoid the assault only to knock me flat on my you know what! Somehow the horses didn’t step on me and the one I had come out to get actually looked down at me like “hey, what cha doin’ down there?” I didn’t know if I should curse, cry or laugh, I might have done a little of all three. I grabbed his neck and got myself upright again. My friend saw only part of the mishap but was soon trudging her way out to help.
Taking the other halter and lead rope from me, I started in with the one I had caught and she went to get the next one. As I got to the gate I hear her cry out “Damn!” Looking back I see her standing in the deep mud holding on to the round bale container holding up a stocking foot. Her boot had sunk and stuck and she walked right out of her boots! She attempted to retrieve her boot only to almost go down much like I had. As I began to hose off my charge I turned to one of our faithful hands and told him she was stuck and he might have to go out to help her. After a moment of watching the situation he trudged out. I saw him reach down to pull her boot out with no luck. He grabbed it with both hands and finally got it out of the mud, at which this time her other boot was stuck. Next thing I know he is leading the horse in and she is walking in barefoot carrying her boots! Did I mention this is all happening in April at 7:30 in the morning??
So after getting horses in we continue to hose them off – it’s easy to distinguish the ones that have been going to shows most of their life – they stand pretty quietly as the cold water rinses away the mud – perhaps they know the more they cooperate the quicker it’s over. However the youngsters perform various dance moves as the cold water splashes over their hind legs and tummies and then some of them spy the new growth of green grass and try to dive for that amongst the dancing. 🙂 Somehow we get them all cleaned up, ones that needed a full bath are now covered in warm blankets until they are dry and the others we are busily getting saddled and ready to lead them to the ring for my boss to show.
Four days in a row of this, moving jumps as we set courses and coaching and I can tell you I didn’t much move on Monday, my day off. I wouldn’t trade my life for anything!!
As my mom used to say “if you don’t laugh you’d have to cry.” I choose to laugh and chalk it all up to life experiences that make it anything but dull!
By the way the show was a “success”, everyone had learning moments and overall a good time.