The Rose Story

Are we all familiar with this one?

A lady is given a rose.  It’s beautiful.  She goes home, washes a jar, polishes it till it sparkles, fills it with water, and puts the beautiful rose in jar on the center of the table. Stands back.  Admires.

Beautiful rose.

Filthy table.  It would look a lot prettier if she cleaned around the rose.  She cleans.  Stands back.  Admires.

You know, it would look even better if she cleaned the table.  She cleans.  Stands back.  Admires.

Turns to walk out of the room, sees sparkling table with beautiful rose out of the corner of her eye, while walking by a sink full of dirty dishes in her filthy kitchen.  You guessed it.  She cleans the kitchen.  Now the rose looks really good.  How much better would it look if she did the next room?

Yeah yeah.  We all know how it ends: clean house.  Annoying moral: start where you can, and the rest will follow.  All you have to do is start.

(Jane’s take: I want to find this woman, invite her over, and hand her a rose.  At which point I would sit back with the remote,  and make encouraging noises.)

Disclaimer for the following: because I know the rose story, I am not absolved.

Warning for the following: it’s simple, DON’T START.

I decided to take Thursday off for my birthday, and spend it at the barn.  Bella texts me on Wednesday:

Bella: wanna ride Hudson 2morrow am? Leaving for Nationals at 2 pm.

Jane: Sure!

Bella: (she knows my sense of time) Out of driveway at 2 pm.  Load hay, throw pony in.

Jane: Got it!

It is a long haul to the venue, and a nice stretchy walk would get him loose, relaxed and trailer ready.

Day was gorgeous: T-shirt weather, blue sky, 79-80 degrees, birds singing.  I had to resist  looking around for the Disney Animation Crew.

Hudson and I knocked around the access road, and walked around the outside of the barn, following the trailer loop, which winds past the wash racks.  Two horses were on the wash racks already, drying in the sun. They’re nearly dry: I look at my watch.  Yup, we started half an hour ago, soap was just getting rinsed off.  Must be warmer than I thought.  We clop past the temperature gauge: 81 degrees.  I ask Hudson to halt.  A young mare is quietly  rearing at one of the hitching poles.  I know her.  She doesn’t feel like standing there to dry, she’s bored.  I yell at her to knock it off (Poor Hudson freezes, thinking I’m yelling at him.), and she quits.

I call out to the trainer, who must be digging around in the tack room 10 feet away: “Flower is rearing again…”

I’ve already soothed Hudson.  Now that he knows he’s not the problem, (and can sense we’re stationary for a while) he cocks a hoof, starts dozing.  Flower knows me.  She’s not going to move a hoof while we’re watching.  The harried trainer comes out with gear:   “Is she dry already?”  We chit chat.  The rearing while tied is a fairly new development.  I explain she isn’t freaking-out rearing, she’s rising in front (think prairie dog), using the room in the short lead.  Trainer thanks me, and goes to get Flower.

Hudson snores.  I think this may be a hint.  Aw heck, I feel sleepy too.  As I untack, it strikes me that his white socks are dull.

Gears turn.  (This is not good, in case you’ve never read this blog before.)  I have two and a half hours before Bella gets here.  Wash racks are empty.  How long can it take to wash socks?

This is where I do not remember The Rose Story.

I text Bella:

Hudson: Mom.  It’s me.  Auntie wants to scrub my socks.  Wants to know if I am allergic to any shampoos?  Do I have to?

Bella:  Go for it Jane!  Sorry H, white is good.

I make a batch of whitening shampoo, and scrub the heck out of his socks.  Let them sit for a few minutes in the sun.  Rinse.

Stand back.  Admire.  They look great!  Bright white.  All done.

My eye travels up.  Tiny mud balls are hanging off his stifle like little bells.  How did I miss that with the curry?  Can’t hurt to wash his legs.  Scrub scrub scrub rinse.

Stand back. Admire.

He looks so…clean…from the legs down.  Kinda makes that green stuff in his tail stand out.

You’re all ahead of me already, aren’t you?

In a half hour he’s brilliantly clean, mane and tail are tangle-free and drying, he’s slick and shiny after being squeegeed.

Bella will come home in an hour and a half to a show ready horse.  I feel all warm and fuzzy.  Nice way to say “thanks for letting me ride Hudson”.

I leave him on the wash rack in the sun, and go dig around in the tack room.  When I check on him a few minutes later, he’s still…wet.  Very wet.  Warm, steaming, but soaked.  Hmm.   Check my watch.  An hour and 15 minutes to Bella’s ETA.  Better hand walk him, get him drying from the inside out.  After 30 minutes of  walking in the hot sun, I think I spot a dry hair on his neck.  How can he still be WET?  His mane and tail are completely dry.  His body looks like I just ran a hose over it.  We jog to my tack room, I grab a couple of towels, and do a pretty good imitation of “Wax On, Wax Off”.


Now he has crop circles.

You do not load an older wet sport horse on a trailer for a loooong drive through the Sierra Nevada mountain range and hope they will arrive dry, shiny, warm (not stiff), and ready to knock ’em dead in National competition.

I’m speed walking.  And walking.  Hudson is jigging to keep up with me.  I’m sweating.  Dry, dang it, DRY!   Bella is so going to KILL me.  I wonder if I can jimmy her lock, and ransack the bathroom for a blow dryer. How is it possible to walk in 80 degree weather for 45 minutes, and still be damp?

Look!  High water marks are starting to appear.  If I could stop long enough to kiss the ground I would.  Whew.  He’s gonna be dry by 2 pm.  And I’ll have put in about 8 miles of walking: good exercise!  I snag a dandy brush  as we power walk past the wash rack.  Maybe I can jog and get rid of the crop circles before they dry in place.  I brush and run.

Hudson’s ear’s prick.  I hear a familiar rumble up the driveway.  I check my watch.  It’s 1:30.  CRAP.  Bella got off early!  I don’t stop.  She has to load hay bales and get the big rig hooked up.  That will buy me maybe 15 minutes.  She can do this in her sleep.  She probably HAS done it in her sleep.  DANG.  Here are the words I do not want to come out of my mouth:

Hi.  The good news is your horse is spotless!  The bad news is he’s still soaked.  Have a good time!

I underestimate Bella’s prowess in loading and hooking up a gargantuan rig: 12 minutes, including brake check.  I jog Hudson off the access road and up the hill to the trailer, where she’s checking tire pressure.  I explain while she pulls an air compressor out of the garage.  He’s now dry except his belly.   Lotta high water marks, but those will brush right out.  She runs her eye over him, hugs me and says  a genuine thanks, don’t worry about it, he’ll dry in the trailer, it’s going to be full, he’ll be warm.

You gotta love friends.  Did she just THANK me for near disaster?

When people ask me “How was your birthday?”

I reply “Everything came up roses!”

7 thoughts on “The Rose Story

  1. Totally laughing my butt off…and sending the link to Jim, who has a bright chestnut horse with tons of chrome. He doesn’t know the rose story and wouldn’t “get it” even if I told it to him…he figures that his beautiful red-and-chrome horse is beautiful enough without having pristinely clean socks. Maybe it’s a guy thing?

    As for me, my horse is BROWN. She is the same color whether she’s clean or dirty–thank heavens.

    1. I had a lot of practice with my first horse: she was green, brown, yellow, white, pink, and occasionally blue, when I was a little too liberal with Mrs. Stewart’s in the shampoo bucket.

      One time, the Mrs. Stewart’s was in perfect ratio, and she came out beautifully gleamingly white on the body.

      Unfortunately, I neglected to read the conditioner ingredients. Yellow Dye #42 hit the mane and tail that were pretreated with Mrs. Stewart’s bluing, and I was the laughingstock of the barn for a month.

      Brilliant white horse with equally brilliant neon green mane and tail. No amount of re-washing took it out. It had to wear off.

      1. Bahahahahahahaha!

        Oh great, now there’s hot tea all over the keyboard.

        Thanks, Jane!

        (maybe you could do the same stunt again this week and call it a Hallowe’en costume?)

  2. Too funny.

    I’m the kind of person who puts the rose in any old vase, looks at it and thinks: “Gee that really distracts you from the mess!” I guess you can imagine what my horse looks like!

    1. I’m betting (if I were you) he has *really* nice accessories.

      Busy people scrape off a clean spot for their saddle and bridle and RIDE. The less-busy run a brush over their horses. The non-busy scrub socks blindingly white and jeopardize their friends chances of winning!

      I’m liking your approach. It’s working for me. I may spray paint Hudson’s socks next time…

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