This was my baby beast competing at Stoneleigh-Burnham several years ago. Take a close look at the slop I’m competing in. Of course event riders compete in rain, shine, mud, sleet, etc. Nobody would ever blame an event on the conditions that Mother Nature dictates. However, I chose this picture because this is precisely what Tamarack Farm looks like right now. There’s basically mud everywhere with more mud right around every corner. Obviously these conditions are not unique to THF, every neighboring farm has a similar appearance. New Englanders actually joke around that we have five seasons: spring, summer, fall, winter and mud season.
Here are FOUR reasons why Mud Season is not conducive for stress free days:
1. Spring Cleaning. In the real world, spring cleaning has a rather different connotation. Spring cleaning for normal people consists of scrubbing windows, cleaning the house from top to bottom and doing some yard work. For horse owners, or anyone living/working on a horse farm understands that spring cleaning requires a great deal more than a little windex and spot remover. Currently I am hauling heavy and sloppy manure and hay that has been accumulating over the course of six months. Every time I think I am getting closer to finishing, I take a look around and feel like I am attempting to dig myself out of a 40 foot tunnel comprised solely of horse crap!
2. Everything looks disgusting. I can’t even take a picture of the farm right now because it’s embarrassing and it’s not how I want the farm to be seen. In the meantime it will be hiding behind rows of trees and maintaining a low profile until the NC crew returns. It’s not just the mud, branches, and slop, but the horses look pathetic too. Their coats are half way gone which makes them look like unidentifiable woodland creatures. All in all, the conditions are border line revolting. I would not recommend any sightseeing this time of the year.
3. Pulling shoes and muddy legs. Oh does Mud Season have its perks! Horses are pulling shoes left and right. Some of us want our horses out as much as possible, and yet we need to get these paddocks and fields dry at the same time. It’s definitely a catch 22. Leave ‘em in, or turn ‘em out? Not only is a muddy horse gross to look at, but mud caked on our horses legs is not beneficial in any way. I am constantly vacuuming and brushing my horses off and attempting to keep their legs clean and dry.
4. Competition Anxiety. For all those upper level riders who have gone to 5 or 6 events so far, you can stop reading now. For those of us who are digging out our show clothes, and scrubbing our tack in anticipation of our first event, keep reading. I have entered two sanctioned events so far and am seriously stressing out over not being prepared enough. It’s one thing to have a month or so before the event to hack, and jump outdoors, but it’s another thing to have your first outside jump school the day of your first event. Not to mention, the snow has JUST started to disappear, but the fields are too wet for any trotting or cantering.
I have more than four reasons why the fifth season is stressing me out … but you get the picture! Can anyone relate with this ultimate state of grossness?