…it could be raining.
Oh wait. It IS raining.
My friend Hilary parked her car at work, and they haven’t been able to get in to tow it to higher ground yet.
We’ve been having stupendous rain. The amount of rain is high, but not unusual. What is unusual, is the way the rain is falling. I decided to name it. Hey if there are more than 100 words for snow…
- Sheet rain: imagine pouring water out of a bucket: it falls in one wide smooth sheet. Now imagine that sheet is a miles wide and a miles long, and say, you’re driving.
- Slat Rain: sheet rain cut into slats whose width varies from 3 inches to 1/2 inch. Comes in at an angle.
- Flood Rain: heavy and comes pounding down unrelentingly for hours. There is a foot of water on Bella’s patio. Her house is on top of a hill.
- Ark Rain: So heavy it pushes you to the ground. There was Ark Rain at the barn. Instantly soaked to the skin and smashed into the mud, I simultaneously prayed for help and tried to remember how long a cubit is, exactly.
Flooded freeways, mudslides, downed trees – all from rain, there’s no wind…NONE.
I made the most excellent decision not to ride on Monday. I was there, and right about the time I’d be swinging my leg over, an immense electrical storm exploded overhead.
Wednesday, I trekked in with supplies: extra clothing, boots, carrots, bunny graham crackers (Hudson has a new favorite cookie) and enough rain gear to last a month in the Amazon. I felt silly. It was normal old rain-rain. Wordless rain. Nothing to worry about rain. Stopping rain. I didn’t have time to ride, so I got Tiny set up for lunging. The plan was to keep it undemanding. Structured, but not work-work. I seriously doubt any of the horses have slept well. Just enough excercise to relax and tire him out, to give him a shot at a good night’s sleep.
The second he hit the end of the line on a 20 M circle, the heavens opened and Ark Rain poured forth. I now comprehend the phrase “The Wrath Of God”. It came down so heavily that the arena roof (generously slanted) couldn’t keep up with the runoff, and ominous metallic groaning noises broke through the sound of a kabillion ball bearings slamming on aluminum. I froze, momentarily terrified the roof would collapse.
I’ve ridden Tiny through wind/rain/thunder storms. But the sheer volume of water was creating such frightening sounds, I was uncertain how he’s handle the situation. I had to get to his head. There were two other horses in the arena on lunge lines. One huge gelding, greener than grass, the other a yearling who was melting down at light speed. Tiny was rolling his eyes, bucking and kicking, but thankfully not trying to break away. I wasn’t worried about the greener-than-grass gelding. He had an experienced trainer handling him. I was extremely worried about yearling, whose owner was “learning” along with him. If the baby got loose, he’d make a beeline for Tiny – the calmest horse- which was total disaster potential with four lunge lines involved. Thus the need to get to Tiny’s head. The yearling broke away just as I got to Tiny. I pushed Tiny into the rail with one hand on the bridle, trying to get his throat latch unbuckled to free the reins. I needed to lose the lunge line, still have some management potential, and do it fast.
In his panic, the yearling didn’t register Tiny out-of-the-way against the rail, and went straight for Green Gelding, who was being seriously worked with two lunge lines, dressage style. Yearling’s flat nylon line was slithering after him, scaring him further. Owner is helpfully flapping his arms up and down, yelling for yearling to come back. Um yeah, if I was scared, I’d want to go right back to that, wouldn’t you?
This is the point where no available decision is a good decision. If it goes right, we can pat ourselves on the back for being smart. If it goes wrong, then we’re partly responsible for the carnage. It’s all chance. I unclipped the lunge line from Tiny’s bit. The trainer threw up her hands at the yearling to try to stop him without spooking her Green guy. There was one second when everyone stopped. I walked away from Tiny praying he wouldn’t move, and stomped on the loose lunge line before picking it up, and reeling in the yearling.
I am grateful I actually listen to myself occasionally. One of my rules: always wear gloves when lunging. Always leave the Velcro unhooked. If the lunge line caught, there is a chance it would rip off my glove, not my skin. Yearling yanked, lunge line sliced open my glove. (I’m a big believer in padded lunge lines. I’ve seen a flat one take off a finger. It’s horrific.)
It ended well. Tiny trembled in place, the yearling’s owner thought to take hold of Tiny, so all we had to do was trade. And get the HECK out of the arena.
That little voice? It’s right.
Before we went in, it said: “Gee. I know Tiny needs exercise and all, but Jane: yearling and green owner, another green horse and trainer, thinking not such a good idea?”
New rule: listen to little voice no matter WHAT.