by Laura Crum
The skies outside my window are a VERY dark gray as I type this. Rain spatters down and wind tosses the branches of the big trees I can see. And this is a lull in the storm. By my rain guage, we have had four inches since yesterday, accompanied by high winds. The rain is increasing as I type, pounding on my metal roof. It’s a pleasant sound—usually. But right now I can’t get my mind off my horses.
I’ve been down to feed them this morning and all seem healthy enough. Nobody lame, all eager for breakfast. But I have never had more mud than this. All the horses have shelter and a dry place to hang out, but there is muck everywhere. My riding ring looks like a holding pond. You should see the ruts that the storm has dug in my driveway in just one night. And we were pretty damn wet here before the latest deluge.
This sort of weather is more or less typical for March here in coastal central California, but this is an extreme version of it. The weather guessers say that it is going to rain pretty much non-stop for the next week. I can’t imagine what things are going to look like after that. And I actually have a pretty good setup here compared to those in low-lying areas. My property is sloped and faces south; the ground is sandy. We usually dry out pretty readily and don’t have a big problem with mud. Yeah, right. Tell that to the horses.
The rain pours down outside; I just want to whine a little. Usually I try to write interesting posts worth discussing, or upbeat posts about the joys of horse ownership. Not today. Today I want to whine. So please forgive this self indulgence and feel free to click that little X if you don’t want to listen to me complain.
I believe I have ridden my horse all of three times in the month of March. All through January and the first half of February we had sunshine and I rode a lot and posted lyrical pieces about the beach and the trail. That seems like a pleasant dream or a distant memory to me now. Since the middle of February it has rained pretty steadily. I caught a cold. On those few days that it was sunny and dry enough to ride, I did not feel up to it. Frequently after spending twenty minutes cleaning up and saddling my little boy’s horse, I was just done. I sat and watched my kid exercise his horse while Sunny stared at me accusingly. But I simply didn’t have the energy.
I have been through periods like this before, and for me, it sort of becomes a self perpetuating cycle. I get out of the rhythm of regular riding and pretty soon I feel like I don’t even want to ride. On sunny days (if there were any), I’d rather putter around the garden looking at what’s in bloom, or sit on the porch and drink a cup of tea. The horses begin to seem like more of a burden than a pleasure. Something I ought to do but don’t really want to.
I give myself the usual pep talks. I point out that the weather won’t stay like this forever (I hope), and that when I start riding regularly again I’ll enjoy it—I always do. And our steady horses are just as good after a month off as they are if we ride them four times a week (and this is true). I remind myself that I don’t have to ride if I don’t want to; our horses live in big corrals where they can run and buck and play (and they do—not at the moment though), and they are happy when I turn them out to graze (which I do most days—but not in the middle of a storm), and that if I want to just enjoy them and not ride them its fine. I think about how much my son enjoys riding his horse and what a gift this has been for him. I feel a little better.
Then I contemplate the fact that my next novel must be turned in at the end of April and I still have half a dozen chapters left to write. The well seems pretty dry right now—unlike my corrals. Maybe I should make it storm in the story. Hmmm…
Anyway, Jami is sick today and I offered to post in her stead—I hope you all don’t mind my whining and rambling. Do you, too, go through these periods where (dare I say it) the thought crosses your mind that maybe horseback riding is more work than its worth? (I know—I don’t really mean it). With all this rain it will be quite awhile before I can get out on my beloved trails—some years it is late May or early June before the north slopes dry out enough that they’re not slippery. That’s a long time to wait.
OK—rather than typing blog posts, I ought to be working on the book. I hope you all are having a good day with your horses. Thanks for listening to me whine.