Schooling for the Soggy Show

I got to the barn, and it was hot and soooo sticky that by the time I had Remy groomed there was already sweat running down my back. When I retrieved his tack, I realized that it was in fact SO humid that all the tack I had cleaned to a shine two nights ago was covered in a fuzzy layer of mildew. Grumbling, I pulled out the saddle soap and wiped down his saddle, bridle, and girth. Still, I was determined to get a good ride in despite the weather. Remy’s been doing so well lately (I’ll have to get into those details in another post though!), I really wanted to keep the momentum going.

Suddenly, it got dark outside and I heard thunder in the distance. Then the light pitter-patter of rain starting to fall.  Shoot!!! Better go get Liam before he gets too wet!! He’s the proverbial sugar-pony that melts in the rain, and at the slightest hint of pony-melting weather, Liam panics if he gets left outside, racing back and forth in front of the gate until someone rescues him, usually to the detriment of his shoes and just as often, his poor old man joints as well. I tossed a half-tacked Remy back in his stall, and began to run as the sky opened up and the deluge began.

By the time I got to Liam, Sarah was already attempting to rescue him as well as her own Derby, who is Liam’s non-melting pasture mate. Derby was waiting patiently while Liam was attemping to curl into fetal position. I grabbed Liam’s rope and started to jog, and he happily followed me. We ran all the way to the barn, as buckets of rain fell on us with each step. Safe in his stall, Liam turned his attention contently to his hay pile, while Sarah and I sat in the aisle in now sopping wet, dripping clothes and watched the storm rage outside.  Thunder rumbled and lightening flashed, each time making Remy leap in his stall. On the plus side, the temperature had probably dropped almost 20 degrees and the humidity had dissipated. A light wind puffed through the barn, bordering between refreshing and chilling.

I toweled off the best I could, and again, found my determination to ride. Then I looked in the indoor arena. That relatively brief storm had dumped a ridiculous amount of water in a very short time, and must have been coming at just the right angle to direct that flow through the single open door, leaving us with an impressive indoor arena water complex.

Indoor arena, complete with small pond

I made an instant decision to make the best of it, deciding that we would be schooling puddle-dressage, preparing us for the wet weather show we will someday attend. It actually ended up being quite fun! With only slight hesitation and a tickle with the whip, Remy stepped into the puddle, gave it a good snort-sniff, then stomped through to the other side. The second pass had only briefest hesitation, and by the third pass he was splashing through with confidence. At the end of the day, both Remy and Liam happily trotted through the oversize puddle, enjoying the new obstacle. We got our dressage work done, but we also had fun finding creative ways of working the water into our regular work. Shoulder-in, straighten, puddle, resume shoulder-in.  Canter, walk, puddle, resume canter. 10 m circle avoiding puddle, spiral out to 15 m circle through puddle, spiral out to 20 m circle going all the way around the puddle, then spiral back in again. The possibilities were endless!

Remy looks pleased after a fun ride

Later, I discovered the only downside to what turned out to be a most enjoyable schooling session. Remy’s boots, legs, belly, and girth all needed a thorough cleaning!

So much sand-splatter everywhere!

Oh well, it was worth it. It was fun finding creative ways to mix up regular ring exercises, and the horse’s seemed to really enjoy having something new and interesting in the arena. Now when we go to a show only to have the weather turn against us, hopefully we will be prepared to handle the aftermath 🙂

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