Storm Warnings

The storm pushed the corn sideways.

There were storm warnings that morning.  But we had been promised rain so many times in the last drought-laden year that we did not take it too seriously.

But first some background to my story.

In the country, you have a water well.  Our well is in the pasture-not the best of planning but the way it is. I had some work done on the house last summer.  While the guys were at my place, I asked them to build a well house.  It would protect the well from the horses bumping up against it and also offer some insulation against the cold (the pump and well will freeze). A great little well house was constructed complete with a shingled roof.   However, when Feather came from Florida, she decided it was fun to eat and pull the shingles off the little well house roof.

So, a couple of months ago, we had hired a father and son (because it is always hard to find someone to do work for you in this town) to complete a couple of what we thought were simple projects.  First project was to build a fence around well house and then to put some concrete around one of the wooden bases to the stall walls that was not standing straight after five years.  We should have checked out their building credentials more thoroughly.  They built a lop-sided fence that didn’t extend all the way around the enclosure.  They assured me that I could tie a rope around the remaining area.  I had the next (the good) fence guy fix that when he came.

On the post project, where I had visualized them digging around the listing post that supported the stall wall and adding some concrete to help secure it, they instead poured six bags of Quikrete into the stall in a mound resembling a sleeping doberman.  It was just lucky that I got there before the concrete set up or we would have never opened the stall gate again.  As it was, I used one of Jordyn’s sand toys to scrape the top off the concrete doberman mound so that the gate would still close across the top of it.  The concrete has pushed against the stall wall and today Lauren went out to find the giant mound of concrete in the middle of Kid’s stall and wall falling down. 

Good times.  Additionally, Feather was tied to front of the tack room where we have successfully tied up horses for five years and she decided to “set-back”.  Set-back is a term used to describe an animal weighing over 1000 pounds suddenly and with great power (think horse-power) pulling back while tied to a fixed object.  In this case, the tackroom door frame.  She completely pulled the door frame five inches out of the existing wall before breaking her leadrope and racing to the pasture.

Did I mention there is a storm coming?  When the barometric pressure starts to fall, horses go a little nuts.  Must be some ancient internal response that saved horses millions of years ago.  Not so helpful to us now.   It usually just means high-strung horses jazzed up as the pressure falls. 

Then Lauren went to ride Feather. A few entries ago, there is a picture of Feather jumping an “X” set up on two barrels.  Today, instead of jumping across the center of the “X” (which is the center of the jump)-Feather decided to just head straight for the jump at a full gallop.  Lauren barely stayed on her.  Feather doesn’t really have a “go” button-you have to urge her forward.  But today she had the accelerator to the floor.  Not satisfied with the speed racer approach to jumping, Lauren took her back over the jump, starting her at a trot.  Just prior to the jump, Feather ramped up, swung out to the side and jumped the barrel instead of the poles.  Good news was, it was further proof this mare really has scope.  Bad news, Lauren was almost sent flying in the dirt. 

Next horse to be worked was Leo, the clouds were darkening and gathering.  Leo while big and strong is usually pretty complacent.  Not today.  Apparently, Leo thought he had just come out of the bucking shute at the Houston Rodeo.  Lauren was in for a rough ride and already tired.

Once she finished the workout with Leo, the rain started.  Gently at first, the rain came, then with 40 mile per hour winds and a horrendous downpour.  The horses took off in that instinctual “fight or flight” response.  They raced through the rain soaked, slick pastures while Lauren stood by helpless to stop them.  Leo was headed to a horse show today so all Lauren could think of was shoes pulled off in the mud, torn ligaments or strained muscles. 

Lauren, now soaked to the skin, under the brutal thunder and lightening, finally managed to get each horse settled into their stall.  Kid’s was missing a wall but she rolled the giant mound of concrete across the muddy paddock to the fence.  It would serve until today when we could get someone out to help rebuild the wall.

By the time I got home, the rainbow was lighting up the sky.  It was cool, calm and the air was soft.   As I looked across the road at the corn, I realized the storm had moved the corn.  Instead of standing straight and tall in late sunlight, it was all on an odd angle, pushed by the wind in the storm.

Lauren had weathered the fallen stall, the mighty mound of concrete, the set-back with the mare, the crazy jumps, the bronco Leo and the herd’s desperate run through the rain.  Lauren had weathered the storm.

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