My wife and I and some friends were going to ride our horses on a trail at a county park near St. Louis, Missouri. Our day began around 5:00 A.M.
It is about a forty-minute drive from our house to where we board the horses. Once the horses were in their trailers, it would take about one and half hours to drive to the park. The hope was to be on horseback and riding the trails by 10:30 ish. I learned it is always “ish” time when planning to do anything with a horse.
We wanted to have the horses saddled and on the road no later than 9:00 A.M. We would bridle them once we arrived at the park. Generally, no one has problems loading their horses and that day was no exception. But there was a necessary problem to address before leaving.
CJ and I wanted to groom our horses before putting their saddles on, which explains our early wake up time. Emirah, CJ’s horse usually is not so bad, but Aztec, my horse, has a tendency to find a mud puddle somewhere and roll around in it. Not that we particularly want them to look spotless when we take them away from their normal environment, but we don’t want them to look uncared for either. I am pretty sure most people would clean their kids up a little before taking them out in public.
Emirah would have passed for presentable enough. Aztec, of course, did not meet the muster. Before we left it was my job to make him a bit more respectable, which I accomplished. I on the other hand, wasn’t. Sort of! I was having a crappy day.
It had rained for several days before our trip. Our horses were in the paddock area. The ground was the consistency of mashed potatoes. Some spots were softer than others. But no worries. I had my muck boots on. Riding boots do not work in the paddock after heavy rains. They occasionally get lost somewhere in the muck while trying to retrieve your horse.
I am not sure if I mentioned this before, but Aztec, my buddy, sometimes is not real interested in leaving his playground. Sometimes he makes me follow him around for a few minutes. I think he thinks it is funny to watch his human trying to muddle through slop. He is right. I have personally seen humans muddle through slop. And it is funny.
As soon as I entered the paddock, I saw Aztec eating breakfast at the hay bale with several of his buddies. He looked like he had been playing football in the mud. I had some concern that I might have to walk around after him in the muck.
Aztec’s natural color is white. That morning his color was yuck! Of course, I was not too happy. We were on a tight schedule and I was not about to take him out in public looking like that.
When I walked to Aztec, he was not ready to give up his spot at the breakfast bar. They were eating nose to nose. So, to put the halter on him meant I would have to move a horse or two out of my way. None of the horses wanted anything to do with moving. They were probably concerned that moving meant losing their spot and therefore their breakfast.
Needing to get Aztec out of there and presentable in a hurry, I put a hand on the nearest horse to Aztec and pushed. I managed to get between the two horses and get the halter on Aztec. The next thing to do was to get my horse away from the breakfast bar. Since there was no response to my gentle tug on the lead rope and my voice, I had to use a little more persuasion.
I tugged a little harder on Aztec’s lead rope and also tried to push a nearby horse out of the way. I attempted to make a step, but my foot was stuck in the mashed potatoes. Actually, it was more like quicksand, so I leaned on Aztec to regain my balance.
I think Aztec sensed something funny was about to happen. He stepped to the side just as my hand touched his side. His friend next to him joined in on the fun and gave me a slight love tap.
Yep! You guessed it. The end result was that Aztec and his buddy were instrumental in planting me into a pile of crap mixed with a sludgy pond of crap. On my way down to the pile, I at least had the forethought to put my hands out in front of me. Those hands prevented my face from getting embedded into the sludge. My entire front except for my face had been submerged.
I swear Aztec and a couple other horses laughed at me. What would make me think they were laughing? I saw their heads bob up and down. I picked myself up out of the slim, grabbed the rope a little closer to Aztec’s head, and told him firmly it was time to go. He followed without any more resistance. Fortunately, only my pride was hurt. So, it literally was a crappy day.
My wife and I originally planned to follow the horse trailer to the park. Who knew I was going to take an early morning mud bath? Not me. So, I had no change of clothing. All I could do was hose myself off a bit.
Unfortunately for me, CJ and our friends had no interested in allowing my smelly body in her car. I thought they were only joking when they told me I would have to ride in the trailer with the horses if I still insisted on going to St. Louis with them.
They were serious! I was not allowed in that car!
Fortunately, the driver of the truck hauling the horses allowed me to ride with him. He said he had things worse smelling than me in the truck before.
Other than me being paraded around St. Louis in all my crappy glory, the ride itself was good.
Well at least I didn’t actually have to ride in the trailer with the horses.