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Saturday, January 21, 2012

Rate this on the fun scale

Please rate this scenario from 1-4 on the “we are having fun” scale.

It’s dark, raining, and windy.  The pasture has a layer of water on it and is slick as snot because of the gazillion inches of rain dumped on it.  The horse is cold, shivery, and trembling.  Your equipment - a flashlight too big to fit in your mouth, a water resistant coat, rubber boots (muck boots with no tread), and a heavy weight turnout blanket.  On second thought you grab a halter and lead rope.  Wind is gusting, sustained at a gazillion mph. 

It took me 5 minutes to catch Farley.  At first it looked like she was going to come right up to me - we’ve both been through this drill and she knows that a blanket means comfort, but then she couldn’t decide if I was actually crazy enough to try and ride her, and played keep away around the pasture’s “island” of fenced off trees.  Finally I was able put a halter on her, get the gate open (no easy task in the gale that apparently decided to start up, and lead her to an area less slick. 

I’ve put blankets on in the wind and I know it’s a b*tch.  Usually you *almost* get it on, the wind picks up and flaps it all over the place, the horse steps sideways, the blanket drapes over you and you run around like casper the ghost.  Farley hadn’t seen a blanket in a year.  It was dark, raining, and slick.  With her behavior over the last couple of weeks, I was really hoping she didn’t spook and then squish me into the mud, damaging various parts that would require me to find out how good my health insurance was.  Did I mention that my hands were so cold and I was struggling with the blanket and could not hold onto the lead rope? 

Farley stood absolutely still, our butts to the wind.  To do anything else would have been a battle.  Just as I found the front of the blanket and tossed it over her back, a sustained gust of wind came up.  The trees bowed, the roofs creaked, and the blanket attempted to invert itself over both of our heads.  Farley stood still.  I had chosen the heavier blanket in part because I thought it would be easier to put on in the wind.  But the wind of was strong enough it picked this one up, no problem. 

The wind continued to blow and blow and blow.  I stood there with my arms around Farley's neck, trying to hold the blanket in place, slipping in the mud, and it was at this time that I contemplated that I might need help to get this done.  Getting help would have required me to take the blanket off, struggle with the gate to put Farley away, and then find someone (turns out Dad was asleep in his chair so I was out of luck).  I decided to just hold on.  The blanket flapped around her flanks and around her poll while I struggled to hand onto the front and try to smooth down the back.  She stood perfectly still. 

Finally the gust broke and I started fumbling with straps.  I got one chest strap on, and then went to the back.  Finally got all the straps on just as another gust picked up.  I got her put away (d*mn aluminum gate catches the wind and then pushes you through the slick mud), threw her a fat flake of alfalfa and called it a day. 

It’s moments like these that make me think there’s still a rock solid relationship there.  When it counts, Farley behaves.  She didn’t hurt me, didn’t spook - didn’t do all the things she had a right to do considering the circumstances.  It gives me hope that the solid little mare that I rode through Tevis is still under all that naughty behavior and that we will see the endurance trail again. 


  1. Yeah, I went out at 10 pm with the Bobbing Headlight of Doom and got Dixie blanketed. We had steady light winds, and she did swing her butt around to try to squash me once, but otherwise it went just like your experience. They're good critters... usually.

  2. I'd rate that as a -50 on a scale from 1-4. Blanketing in the cold, dark, windy rain always sucks, but I'm glad you got it done with no mishaps, and I bet Farley appreciates it too!

  3. I am glad you got it done by yourself too. I was really enjoying my nap and would not have enjoyed being out to help you.


  4. I'm glad my husband does the blanketing in a timely fashion, before dark! In the winter I'm always home after dark.


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