Bruno to Dry Ground-A Bruno Story

Lauren as we headed to the barn to assess the water level in the stalls.

Lauren as we headed to the barn to assess the water level in the stalls.

I didn’t think it was possible but now I know that even in the middle of the winter, without a tropical storm or a hurricane in sight, mother nature can drop six inches of rain on you in south Texas in just a quick afternoon. 

Lauren called and said we had been hit hard and the rain was still coming.  I headed home knowing I was driving my low to the ground Volkswagen directly into the line of storms.  I didn’t feel like there was much of a choice.  As bad as being home in the storm was, being home alone is much worse.  Situations arise fast and it is overwhelming and bleak.  I wanted to be home to be with Lauren as we rode out the storm. 

About 60 miles from work, I hit the Wharton County line. I saw the crop rows filled with water.  I saw houses and trucks surrounded by water.  I prayed I would not hit a deep patch of water with my car and I was lucky not to do so.  My mind wound anxiously around what we would do with Bruno.  How would we get him out to the trailer without getting his hoof wet, ruining his surgery and the subsequent recovery days we had already endured?  Like your tongue over a chipped tooth, I went over and over the situation without any apparent solution.  Okay, I was freaking out!

As I made the final turn for home, I saw houses isolated like islands amid the storm waters.  I saw cars with water up to the wheel wells.  I kept driving.  My little house was surrounded by water.  Typically even in the worst floods we have had our driveway stays above water.  The flood waters had crested the drive. 

I just couldn’t believe the water that had fallen.  I know, I know, I had been told, six inches of rain.  Six inches of rain is crazy.  It lapped around the base of my house.  There was a current in my front yard.  The trailer (seen in pictures yesterday on an island of green) was now in the water which was quickly approaching the trailer floor.

A trailer standing in water is difficult for a horse to load into, even with four good feet.

A trailer standing in water is difficult for a horse to load into, even with four good feet.

I was out of ideas and afraid as we headed to the barn (which just as a point of clarification, is not a barn but a giant run-in shed with stalls).  Our evacuation plan was to cover Bruno’s hoof with the nifty duct tape boot the staff at Texas A&M had taught us to make.  Then we would double bag the leg in heavy-duty trash bags over the duct tape boot to keep the hoof dry.  No doubt in moderately muddy, slightly wet conditions this would have been a successful plan.  When you can go fly-fishing next to the trailer door, loading a horse while trying to keep his feet dry is impossible.  And those of you that know horses, know that no matter how well this horse normally loads, he may completely object to “water loading”. 

As we got to the barn, I was pleased and surprised to see the dampness stopped just a foot or so from the stalls.  Every stall was dry but the outside stall belonging to Kid had taken some airborne water (it had rained into his stall) but the floor was still mostly dry.  The flood waters had not reached the stalls. 

More rain fell this afternoon but finally some weak winter sun edged its way over the horizon around dusk.  More rain is predicted for tonight, but I think we have seen the worst of it. 

Each time we make it through one more trial on this farm, we come up with another new plan to make things better.  We now will try extending the shed’s roof line out about ten feet and add more of the rock sand that has proven effective in thwarting the water’s advance. 

I am thinking that the arena may be rideable again in March or so (I am sort of kidding about this but not sure).  We are okay with that.  While we want to work Mimi and Feather the clock is not ticking and we will accomplish what we can, when we can.  This evening Lauren changed out Bruno’s bandage again.  The new hoof and flesh look healthy, pink and vital.  Wow, this is not easy but we are making it.  No one ever said it would be.

From the corner of Kid's and Bruno's stalls looking out to the arena and hay field beyond where so many of you have driven in to pick up hay.

From the corner of Kid’s and Bruno’s stalls looking out to the arena and hay-field beyond where so many of you have driven in to pick up hay.

Please send us some prayers and wishes for sunny days ahead.  God bless you and thank you to the many of you that called, texted and messaged your support.  It helped us make it through.

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