Saturday, April 9, 2011

Rained Out, Stuck In The Mud

Well, it's been two weeks since spring break, so I need to finish off the week for you--not that there's much to tell.
After our ride with KVTR on Wednesday, Thursday dawned clear and pleasant. I should have gone for another trail ride, but instead, Sandy and I climbed in the truck and drove east to Moses Lake, where a farm supply store had put fencing on sale. I have several projects to do (next post), including enlarging the fenced part of our yard for Sandy to have more room to move. By buying four rolls of horse fence and two of lighter weight dog fence, the extra distance was compensated for by the sale price.

We got back to the home place, unloaded the fencing rolls, ate some lunch, then hooked up the trailer. But not for a trail ride.

My friend Anita has a mare who has had on-going issues with laminitis. She has been working with a therapeutic farrier, but there is no electric available for the vet's portable X-ray. The road to her pasture is long and has been a mucky, muddy mess all winter, and the mare has been too uncomfortable to walk out to either their house (power) or the road (trailer trip to the vet's).
So with the infamous Ellensburg wind drying things out a bit, Anita scheduled an appointment at the clinic.
I gingerly maneuvered the trailer in, backwards, almost to the mare's pen. With an extra dose of bute in her, the mare managed the rest of the distance fairly easily. She has only been in trailer a couple of times in her life, and the last time was six or eight years ago, so we left plenty of time for loading. She stood at the open doors of the trailer while Anita wrapped her legs, then leaned forward to check it out...and loaded herself!
Great! Plenty of time to ease our way back to town.
The X-rays were more positive than expected, with less rotation of the coffin bones and more hoof sole still present, so now the farrier knew where he could go next. So we loaded her back up, and turned towards home.
And as we turned south west, the sky turned absolutely BLACK! Every mile we drove, the rain came down harder. By the time we got to the driveway to Anita's pasture, I could barely see out the windshield! And a river had developed in the road. To save the mare any more standing as we tried to turn around, I drove in frontwards, feeling the slop pull at my wheels. We got her off-loaded, then I tried to back the rig out. But the ruts kept grabbing the trailer and pushing it off to one side, trying to jack-knife it. There was a little bit of purchase in the grass on either side of the drive, but the ruts wouldn't let go of my front tires, even in low-low four-wheel-drive! Anita's husband had his tow chain in hand, just about ready to pull the front end around with his old tractor, but first he tried laying the chain under one of my slipping front tires. With just that extra bit of traction, I made it onto the grass, and we slowly and gingerly proceeded to where I could finally turn around and head for the county road. All-in-all, it had been at least forty-five minutes, with the rain continuing to pour down, and the footing getting worse. I was happy to hit the pavement and drive back through town towards home. Half an hour later, the rain had completely stopped (though it started up again and rained all night--Anita could hardly walk to her barn the next morning, for all the additional water, on top of all the mud I had churned up!).

Friday was a recovery day, but Saturday, Pat and I wussed out on the scheduled KVTR ride: it was windy and spitting snow about the time we would have had to load the horses.
Only a few intrepid riders went out......though some more joined in for the chili feed afterwards.Monday, it was back to school, and one of the craziest weeks of my professional life. I won't go into that here, but suffice it to say, by Friday, I needed another week off!

The following weekend, rather than ride with the club, since Pat had her granddaughters with her, I tagged along with them, back to the Army east trailhead, for a sunny, but windy ride. Kate was really good going out, with me riding on the buckle, and her moving in a relaxed and forward (for Kate) walk. She even complied nicely when I asked her to move off to the side of the trail so I could take pictures of Pat, her daughter, and the grand-girls.Unfortunately, when we turned back towards the trailers, we also turned IN to the wind, and Kate didn't appreciate that one bit! She gave me several little crow hops, and one good buck, for no more reason than that she was being a snit. I managed to stay where I belonged, and even was able to keep a safe hold of the big Nikon I had opted to bring for the day. But I was not pleased with her shenanigans.
Sunday and the rest of the week has been cruddy, weather-wise, so not much got done. School was a little better this week, but today the wind came up again, and I decided to stay inside (besides chores) and get caught up on here and on reading other folks' blogs.
Maybe tomorrow I'll get something accomplished.
Then again, maybe not.


  1. Wow, what an adventure with the trailer at Anita's place! Well done.

    I feel so sorry for poor Kate. You are a slave driver. Making her walk back to the trailer in the wind? And you have the nerve to expect politeness?! Tsk tsk, EvenSong.

  2. The work week sounds nutty. I bet you're glad that week is over. But even with all the wind and rain you still managed to get in some riding, and help out a good friend with her mare. What a smart mare to self load so she could see the vet.

    We got some sprinkles of rain last week, but it wasn't enough to make up for 7 months without any rain. We have gotten the horrible Spring winds, though.
    I was working an ACTHA ride today and our winds got close to 70 mph. I have never experienced winds that fierce here in New Mexico. We have two porta potties ad the wind even blew one over! What a mess!
    But even with the terrible, powerful winds, we still had about almost 30 intrepid and brave riders and their horses. And noone dropped out or fell off. That's a good day! :)


  3. Quite the adventure being stuck in the mud, and beautifully described. I could picture it vividly! We both keep our professional life pretty much out of the blog, but it's fascinating sometimes to read between the lines. I'm just beginning my two-week break between semesters. Next one goes to the end of July! As for wind, I'm with Kate. Twice lately, I've had to walk my bike over the Lions Gate Bridge. So much nicer when its behind us:)

  4. I hate a trailer stuck in mud. What a pain. Glad the chains did the trick to get you out of there. It's good that the mare's injury wasn't as bad as expected and can be worked with by the farrier. Our farrier has done wonders for Dusty's very slight rotation.

    Your ride sounds like a good one except for the wind. I'm not much of a wind rider, like Kate I guess. Still it's better than sitting home or doing housework.

  5. Yep, pretty much done with the rain and mud. I was in Yelm at this time last year and swore I would never live on that side of the mountains because it rained every day.


  6. So, not entirely off-topic:

    The Milwaukee Rail Trail Ride is coming to a trailhead near you REALLY SOON! (April 30th!)

    I've decided not to bring Fiddle--it's exactly the kind of trail that she hates unless she is in a group, and she can't safely be in a group at an endurance ride. So, although I'd love to ride this trail someday (with you, perhaps?) I'm going to leave her at home and just show up for the day and volunteer at the ride.

    Come say "howdy" and meet the peeps? Maybe bring Kate and do the trail ride, just for fun and practice (and a t-shirt)? Email me, let me know!

  7. Good news on Anita's mare. Hopefully she'll get all fixed up where she needs to be.

    Sounds like quite a chore backing out of that place in the mud. Sometimes you just have to get into situations like that for the good of the horse. Still it sucks dealing with the aftermath.


    So glad you helped her get the mare to the nice you are!Good results too..that is a very long haul to health!

    Yea...bout now, as I write is getting sunny for us in Oregon..gotta be better for you too!
    I laughed out ould with the crow hops and one-good-buck from had to hvae read my "One on the list"'s all about that stuff..and Frigid wind is on that list!'s jsut gotta be sunny and the posts are almost in by now!