Today there was much craziness as I moved the mare herd back into dry lot and the gelding herd over to the pasture. The mares are in heat - they are very "clingy" to one another, so running and screaming occurred while the herd was momentarily split up as I moved them. Then there was galloping, sliding and bucking and rearing as I brought the last pair down - I had to fend off Dawn and Sugar at the gate, who then took off madly galloping and bucking. Then, when I turned out the geldings, Scout got a wild hair and tore around the pasture for several minutes before settling down to graze. Never a dull moment!
The mud in the pastures and aisleways also means that our fence contractor is unable to get in to begin our (extensive) fence repairs - I'm thinking the earliest he can start is probably next week. The main aisle is also at least ankle deep in water and slippery mud - no gravel or fill for us yet - I'm hoping we can squeeze some out of the budget - which makes leading horses pretty hazardous if we were to try to get to the far pastures.
Due to the universal squishiness - the arena is pretty much under water and the grass areas are slippery - Dawn and I did no work yesterday - although I guess you can call standing ground-tied to be groomed work on Dawn's part, which she did very well. She even offered me a "shoulder rest" for a moment as I was grooming her withers, although then moved her head so that her teeth were resting on my shoulder, which wasn't too comfortable with just a light shirt on - it was in the mid-70s at that point.
Maisie and I went on a trail ride, and did many puddle crossings, including some that were many feet wide and halfway up her lower legs. When I first got her, Maisie was a horse that abhorred water, and would go to any lengths to avoid putting a foot in even the smallest puddle, not to mention something bigger - she would balk, spin, and even rear. At that time, I once had to enter a warm-up ring at a horse show by backing her through a large puddle that covered the gate area. But we managed to solve that problem when we attended one of the week-long clinics in Colorado with Mark Rashid, using a method that I call "presenting the question" - I did this post a while ago on it. Now Maisie is a trooper about water.
Long preamble to a short story. One of the first puddles we encountered was next to some trees and a swampy area where a culvert under the trail had overflowed. As Maisie entered the puddle, I was leaning over to look at the puddle - I'm not sure why. All of a sudden, there was a loud squawking, and a duck flew up from next to the culvert directly under Maisie's nose with a great splashing and clattering of wings. I don't know who was more startled by the encounter, Maisie or the duck. Anyway, Maisie did a sit-spin. Since I was not exactly in the best position, there was a moment where there was a bit of air between my seat and the saddle. I ride in a close contact saddle which has a not particularly deep seat and only small knee rolls, but my seat rarely comes off the saddle regardless of what the horse does. I attribute this to my many, many years as a child and teenager riding bareback, which means my seat goes with the motion and I don't tend to pinch or brace with my legs. Luckily this time I didn't come off, in fact I didn't come close to coming off, although that was partly due to Maisie stopping when she completed the spin. That'll teach me not to look down - it's a good way to end up there! A face plant in a large puddle would not have been a good outcome, and Maisie's big and it's a long way down.
Maisie settled down and we continued. She did start to get agitated a bit further on - lots of screaming children in their yards with loud sports equipment and some people rolling a loud dolly with something on it down their driveway, so I got off and led her for a ways. I think she's trained me to get off and lend her some extra confidence when she gets worried! I was pleased that she was paying close attention to me as I led her and when we stopped and stood for a bit at various point - when I first got her she was a horse that never interacted and never made eye contact, which she frequently does now. I felt like we were having a real conversation, which was nice, especially since I was hoofing it (so to speak).
Here's hoping for warmer, drier, weather.