So it's that time of year again, that time when we are all enthusiastically looking forward to spring, the weather is changing and lulling us into a false sense of security that spring is indeed on the way, before kicking our ass with another 'Beast from the East' just to remind us that it is in fact still February!
I for one am grateful for this drier weather as I am fed up of the mud! Yes, I am well and truly sick of being filthy! That suffocating film of mud dust that covers our faces and the constant squelch underfoot, with the reminder of how desperately you need a new pair of boots when the mud oozes through the cracks in your once highly polished, leather boots!
Therefore I am re-posting this little blog 'The Funny thing about Horses' that I originally wrote for KA Equestrian as a comical reminder of the gloopy stuff!
50 Shades of Mud!!
Some of you know me as Emma Rocca Art, some know me as Emma and most likely most of you don’t know me at all. I have spent my life around horses, as a hobby and professionally and I am lucky enough to be owned by my gelding who I have had since he was a foal. I am a self-employed business consultant, which allows me the time to paint, mostly animal portraits and I try to spend as much time as I can at the yard with my boy, where I also work part time.
As someone who has always been on DIY, I have the day to day challenges we all face, especially at this time of year, it’s not always smooth sailing and it isn’t the glamorous life that people often think it is……….
Mud! It’s everywhere right now and it doesn’t matter what we do there is no escaping it, well not in Scotland at this time of year anyway. We put hard-core around our gateways, rotate our grazing in the hope that this year it won’t be quite so bad and we pray for those slightly frosty days that make walking around just that little bit less precarious. There is no way to get around it, it doesn’t matter what we do, although I have been given ‘suggestions’ on how to eliminate the mud in the winter from well-meaning non-horsey people but we all know better, horses and turnout equals mud and there is nothing to do but accept it and trudge on through the winter, waiting for the clocks to go forward and spring to arrive.
And then there is that awful moment when you are turning out, or bringing in from the field and you can feel your body moving forward but your feet don’t! That brief moment of panic when you see the ground coming up towards you and you know there is nothing you can do!
I had such a moment last weekend. It starter as a normal uneventful day like any other, horses had been fed and were all waiting patiently to go out. Most of the horses are quite used to the turnout routine, however when a new horse arrives and is a little unsettled, as you would expect, it can add a little bit more excitement that we would like.
Picture the scene, two new horses who are used to being together and have only been on the yard for a few days. When one goes out, the other gets his knickers in a knot and they haven’t quite grasped that the other hasn’t gone far. So, after turning the first horse out, I was getting ready to open the stable door and walk the other calmly to the field, he on the other hand had other ideas. The stable door opened and out like a rocket he went, dragging me with him into the small paddock in front of his stable, not normally a problem, however add mud to this equation and you can start to see how this picture unfolds.
After composing myself for about 2 seconds, he pulled a second time and at this point I knew I had reached the point of no return. My feet remained firmly planted in the mud having been sucked into that cement like substance that we all love so much. I could feel the top half of my body moving but my feet didn’t correspond, they were well and truly ensconced in the ground and not even a half ton animal having a small fit to himself was going to remove them from the comfort of the gloop!
When people talk about their life flashing before their eyes I can understand what they mean. It wasn’t quite images of my life that flashed through my brain, more the feeling of being warm and dry and the knowledge that this was going to be short lived. Down I went, arms flailing, trying to grasp anything to stop me hitting the quagmire, a few expletives escaping my mouth at a volume I didn’t intend and in the blink of an eye I was flat on my back the middle of the field with a slightly freaked out horse now dancing around me.
Now this, you might think was the end of it, but no, not comfortable enough with me being covered in wet mud all down my back, the lovely boy decided that me falling in the mud was quite possibly the scariest thing he had seen in weeks and proceeded to rear and leap around like a thing possessed, leading me to have to commando roll out of the way to stop being trampled into said mud!
So there I was, kneeling in the mud, which was now dripping from almost every part of me, trying really hard to compose myself, grateful that the rearing and throwing himself inside out had stopped, soaked through to my skin and still holding on to the end of the lead rope, that cold wet feeling now emanating through my body. Yep, I was soaked through to my pants, mud down the inside of my boots, glasses splattered with mud droplets which were now dripping onto my face, gloves drooping off the end of my fingers with the weight of the mud, water pooling around my knees as I was still sitting in the middle of the field. To say it was unpleasant would be an understatement but all I could do was laugh, almost hysterically, a mixture of relief at not being trampled or caught by a flailing hoof and at the ridiculousness of how I must look and how now being soaked through, how bloody miserable my morning was now going to be.
The poor boy went out to field still freaked out by my mud bath and not having the luxury of having my horses at home I had to face the drive home in soaking wet clothes or at least finish mucking out and come back later to finish everything else. So that’s what I did, I squelched my way around the yard, caked in mud, feeling a mixture of discomfort and complete numbness as my legs and bum lost all feeling due to the cold.
So to those of you who think having a horse means our lives are all glamorous, filled with competitions with shiny horses, dressed in white jodhpurs and black jackets, think again! On a daily basis we are fifty shades of mud!
I really must remember to put a change of clothes in the car from now on!