I sit here at my desk, waiting for rain. Like much of the south and southwest, California could really use a good soaking. Unfortunately, the best I can hope for, according to the almighty weatherman, is some heavy drizzle.
Drizzle would be nice, too. Drizzle puts a light frosting on the tips of my horses' ears and wets the ground to prevent dust, but it's not so wet that I can't ride. And it's not so wet that arenas and showgrounds end up like the one in the photo, above. That was taken a few years ago at the Del Mar Fairgrounds (and racetrack) near San Diego, California. We were all gathered there for our big year-end championship show. My sister, Jill, is there someplace. I was holding the camera so that I could forever immortalize the scene. It rained for three days straight, relentlessly. But since the footing was the same that speedy Thoroughbreds careen around on, regardless of the weather, we kept riding and showing. Slipping or stumbling wasn't an issue. Getting soaked and soggy and miserable certainly was. Competing at that show really tested my committment to showing. Each time I rode in a class with my hunt clothes sopped to my skin I asked myself, "Is this really worth it?"
Of course, being a rabid competitor at the time, all I had to do was glance at the tri-color ribbons and the prizes and I'd immediately answer to myself, "Yes!"
So we had a hair blow dryer hung inside the tackroom. We dried our hunt coats as best we could between classes. We prayed that our tall boots would dry out overnight just enough so that we didn't come down with some crazy flesh-eating toe fungus. And our horses traipsed around in coolers and dress sheets. They were warm and dry, trust me. Us? Not so much. I can recall riding my young gelding down to the first fence in his baby green hunter class, the raindrops slithering off the brim of my helmet, and struggling to see the jump. Finding a decent take-off distance was no longer an issue. Finding the actual jump was!
It was a memorable show to say the least.
So again, I say I'm hoping for rain. I just wish I could get the rain minus the mud.
Have you slogged through the mud and sloshed through rain to ride? Let me-- and the other readers know-- by clicking on "comments" below or emailing me at email@example.com