Saturday, May 23, 2009

Saddle in the rain

Ah! Rain sweet rain! Greening up our pasture and filling the creeks with the sweet flow of spring from which the horses drink.

I suppose the horses all must be singing about the Mud, sweet mud. They must be loving it: they are covered in it! Why bother even running a brush across their backs? I groomed up my little stud today before a ride, then rubbed him down nice and shiny after when I unsaddled. Only to have him roll in the best mud patch he could find within one minute of being put back out to pasture. No exaggeration. I should have known better.

Saddle in the rain. For better or for worse (I’ll try not to be judgmental here, but I don’t know anyone who is fond of doing this) we have to do this a lot. Some years we get numb to it, day after day with the rain pouring in a solid stream from the brim of my hat, soaking my jeans before I have a chance to get my slicker and chaps on. I can’t comfortably saddle up a string of horses and get a pack string together running around in heavy leathers. It’s awkward, cumbersome. So I wait till that work is done before getting my gear on, and all that’s left for me to do is sit in the wet saddle for the next four hours or so.

Sounds like I’m whining, doesn’t it? I’m not. I actually love it. It’s weird (and/or I’m weird) because I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been out there soaking wet in the saddle all day, and I look around at the soft, lush green of the mountain rolled up in the heavy clouds, and I can’t believe I’m so lucky to be out here, riding, working with my horses and my husband and son, as my soggy dog follows close behind. Calling this a job! At times I love it so much I could cry, and if I did, I’d be so wet already no one would notice and tease me for being so sappy.

Saddle in the rain. I know, it can be a bummer, it’s true. Starting the day off soggy, and knowing your saddle will be soaked before you even have a chance to get up in it, isn’t really great. But nothing that can endure the ropes and rubbing and leathers and brush of a day in the saddle that I know of is truly water proof. So you learn to be wet and dress warm. Silk scarves are good. And wool socks. I’m not beyond wearing Long Johns in July. I have these re-usable hand warmers along with a few pairs of extra gloves handy in my horn bag. You do what it takes.

Saddle in the rain. To me, that means get over it, and get it done anyway. And once you’re on your way, chances are pretty good you’ll find it’s not so bad. You might even find it’s wonderful.