Friends, I’m sorry that it’s been a while since I’ve written; things have been a little bit insane around here lately.
I guess I’ll start at the beginning.
The night after I got my new shoes, it started raining really hard. It poured rain all through the night, all through the next day and that night, as well; the last night of the storm was probably the worst. We were all very nervous in our stalls, because the thunder was louder than we’ve ever heard it, and the lightning lit up the entire sky.
The next morning – oh, wait, that was yesterday morning (but it seems like it was forever ago) – the sun was out and the air was warm; we were all glad that the rain had finally stopped. The arena dried up very quickly… but that was the least of our worries. Because the rain didn’t just leave puddles this time; it left much more water than I’ve ever seen at this farm.
Remember when I thought that my favorite paddock had turned into a lake?
Yeah, well, this time it turned into a rushing river… and the river was steadily rising.
Behind the paddocks, there is a river; it’s deep enough that kids swing into it from ropes tied to the trees. Yesterday morning, the river was so high and had so much more water than it could handle, that it began to overflow. And it overflowed right into our paddocks!
At first, it was only the small paddocks, half of the back field and most of my favorite side field that were submerged… as well as the entire pathway that stretched out in front of the entrances to the paddocks. We could see logs and debris floating by on the strong current of the river… in our paddocks. It was unsettling, to say the least; all of us, horses and humans alike, were afraid that the river was going to keep rising until it filled up the entire barn and washed us all away.
Assuming that most of the property – and possibly also the arena – would be flooded before the nighttime, my Mommy decided that I needed to have a long, solid workout that morning. We knew that it might be my last chance to work before moving to my new home.
Mommy was going to work me bareback, but then she thought better of it. I’d had two days off – one because of my new shoes, and one more because of the rain – so I was already pretty wound up; seeing the rushing water coming closer and closer was no great help, either.
Needless to say… I couldn’t contain myself. I was naughty. I tried hard to be good, but after I was warmed up and my muscles were loose, I couldn’t hold in my nervous energy. I took hold of the bit and tossed my head every chance I got; I bucked, I spun, I bolted… and I even reared up once, though I’m very ashamed of myself for that.
Mommy was trying hard to keep her patience with me, but when I took off for the seventeen-thousandth time in a row during a very simple serpentine exercise at the canter, she told me that it was the “last straw.” She got off, grabbed the lunge line, and made me gallop in a circle in each direction until I was so tired that I felt like the entire world was spinning.
And then she got back on.
Again, it’s probably unnecessary for me to say this, but I behaved perfectly after that. I mean, honestly, I was too tired to do anything wrong. I just wanted to behave so I could cool myself out and be done.
I actually felt a bit silly when I realized that my Mommy only wanted me to do the serpentine pattern (with lead changes) one time through, and then I could have been finished. So I worked for a little over an hour, when I could have been done in less than forty minutes! I probably won’t make that mistake again… at least, not at this barn!
Mommy wasn’t mad at me for being so naughty, though. She said that she understood. She even gave me a soapy bath with liniment, because she knew that I would be sore after such a hard workout – especially since I’d had two days off before that. After my bath, she walked me around and let me graze in the sunshine until I was dry.
While I was riding, Daddy helped Auntie Paulette clean the entire barn, since no one was able to be turned out. The horses all got to take turns grazing with one of our humans, but we knew that we would be cooped up for quite a while.
Around midday, Mommy and Daddy left, and said that they would be back in a few hours.
Sure enough, they came back a few hours later with a backpack full of their clothes. Apparently, they were prepared to spend the night if they needed to! Mommy got me out again and groomed me and walked me so I could stretch my legs, and then she, Daddy and Auntie Paulette got to work moving the jumps out of the arena.
You see, in the few hours that my humans had been gone, the water had risen quite a bit, and it had also come considerably closer toward the barn.
Mommy and Daddy had to arrange an emergency evacuation plan with the neighbors across the road, just in case it started to look like we would have to leave the barn. Luckily, the nice neighbors said that we could all camp out in their paddocks, if need be.
By the time it got dark out, the water had come all the way up to the corners of the arena nearest the barn… and a few hours later, it was starting to flood into the arena, as well!
To my surprise, Mommy and Daddy grabbed all of my blankets… I thought they were going to bundle me up and get me ready to evacuate to the neighbor’s paddocks, but instead, they wrapped the blankets around themselves and bunkered down in front of my stall! Daddy laid on the barn floor and Mommy slept in a chair. I just knew that they were there to protect me from the water, should it sneak its way up to my stall. I was so happy and excited that we were having a sleepover, that I kept licking Daddy’s face while he tried to sleep. He laughed and thought it was cute. I would have licked Mommy’s face, too, but she kept her chair just out of reach of my tongue.
I can’t even explain to you how cool it was to wake up in the middle of the night and see my Mommy and Daddy there. And even cooler when my Mommy came into my stall at 3am just to give me a big hug and tell me she loved me!
We didn’t end up having to evacuate, although it seemed for a while like it could have gone either way. At about 4:15am, Daddy got up and looked at the water… and it had stopped rising. It wasn’t yet receding, but it wasn’t getting closer anymore, so we knew we were all in the clear.
At that point, Mommy and Daddy both gave me a hug and a kiss and left… to move their blankets into the tack room, where the heater was on! I didn’t feel cold, but I understood that my humans aren’t used to sleeping outside, like I am. They must have been freezing! It’s a good thing they had my blankets; my blankets always keep me warm when I’m cold.
In the morning, as the sun started coming up, Mommy and Daddy emerged from the tack room to feed us our breakfast grain and make sure we were all alright. After I finished eating, Mommy groomed on me for a while and walked me around to let me stretch my legs. We went to look at the water, and it had actually gone down quite a bit!
But the water was still very high.
I was sad to see that my favorite side field was a deep lake. Or, rather, a river – because the current was still moving pretty strong.
Mommy left to go do her human-work, and Daddy stayed to take care of things at the barn. But when Mommy came back later in the day, she got me out again to graze. I was so happy to eat some grass, I pulled her all over the place, until she finally decided to get on my back and just let me graze wherever I wanted to.
…Little did I know that I was going to get to swim in the flood waters!
At first, I really didn’t want to. I didn’t know how deep it was, and I was a little nervous. Plus, the water was cold!
But then Mommy told me that all I had to do was walk into the water and then walk back out toward Daddy. And you know how I love my Daddy, so I told her it was a deal. And as it turned out, I had a lot of fun! I even stopped a couple times just to splash around in the water! It really wasn’t that cold, once I got used to it.
We walked over to the other side of the property and down the path to the big field in the back, which backs up to the river, to see how it looked. The field itself wasn’t nearly as bad as it had been, but the pathway was still under water. And there was a lot of debris from the river, which Mommy and Daddy said isn’t going to be fun to clean up!
After that, Mommy got off and walked with me into the front paddock – the only paddock that didn’t go under water during the great flood of last night – and she led me around so I could eat some tall grass. Leo was turned out in there, and we said hello to each other before going about our own business of eating grass as fast as we could!
When it was time for Leo to come in, Mommy turned me loose and let me wander around in the paddock on my own so I could keep eating grass. She put my splint boots on, just in case, but told me that I would have to come in immediately if I tried anything silly, like galloping. I told her not to worry, though; I was more concerned with taking full advantage of my limited amount of grass-eating time than I was with getting out my energy!
Finally, it was time for me to come inside again. (Although, I did get in a good roll in the mud before Mommy got to me with my lead rope! I was happy about that… it felt good to roll in the squishy mud!) Mommy groomed on me one more time, then gave me a carrot and a kiss on the nose and told me goodnight. I know I’ll see her in the morning… but I feel sad that I won’t get to have another slumber party tonight.
Anyway, I hope y’all enjoyed my story of The Great Rising River Adventure. I’m excited for my next adventure, which is coming up very soon: moving to another new barn! I promise that I’ll tell you all about it! But for now, I need to get some sleep… It’s been a long couple days, and I’m exhausted! So I think I’ll go hit the shavings. Catch y’all later!