Swamp Donkey

If last year was one of the coldest Texas winters I can remember, this year is definitely turning out to be the wettest. I feel like it started raining in September and basically hasn’t stopped. The lakes are overflowing, the ground is completely saturated, and there’s so much standing water in my backyard (which is sloped downhill) that our shed is an island. The barn has not fared any better. It was already soggy to a point I’ve never seen before, and adding 3″ of rain in the past two days has not helped matters.

this is the barn’s driveway. 

At this point I haven’t jumped Henry since Pine Hill, and in the past month I’ve missed or had to shorten/modify 5 conditioning rides. We’ve cancelled two jump lessons and one XC school. He was so wild for dressage the other day that I had to just abort the mission and let him gallop. I’m cold and I’m wet and I am becoming very grumpy.

This is last week, but honestly everything has just kind of looked like this for a while now.
at least Henry exercises himself?

It finally did stop raining for a few days there, and luckily my barn drains a lot better than most. The area of the big field at the very top of the hill usually only needs a day or two before it’s at least good enough for trot sets, and since the arena is course sand, it’s never slippery even when its under water. Still though, do you know how hard it is to try to keep a Prelim horse from being insane but also still keep his fitness while only using one very small square arena and one long narrow strip of field? He’s going stir crazy inside his own skin, and we’re both going stir crazy inside our own minds.

It briefly stopped raining on New Years, so we tacked up and took the horses out for a long marching walk. It was cold and windy, but hey, at least it wasn’t raining. I can live with the cold, hell I can even live without the sun at this point, but I just need it to stop freaking raining.

Idiots, both of them.
Are we having fun yet?

I know that most of the country is feeling my pain right now, with the east coast in particular having crazy rainfall too. It’s extra frustrating to me because this is supposed to be our best time of year for riding, when it’s actually not 110 degrees and the ground isn’t concrete. Watching each day pass, feeling like we’re losing ground, or that any progress we may have made in the fall is now completely stagnant… it’s exasperating.

My life involves a lot of mud, layers, snorting, spooking, and yelling “HEY, KNOCK IT OFF” at the moment, and very little else.

This is my swamp donkey. He smells, looks, and IS completely disgusting.
That one “dry” day before it rained another 3″. This pasture has never been muddy in the 2+ years I’ve been at this barn.

At this point I have no idea when it will stop raining, if it will ever dry up, if the weather will ever cooperate for Presto to get gelded (not doing that in this mud fest), or if we’ll be ready for the January 20th show. Or a Feb show. Or a March show. The forecast does not look particularly promising. The only saving grace is that Henry retains everything really well and doesn’t need a lot of constant drilling to stay on form. Today I think I’ll set up some more poles in the arena and at least do some “jumping” exercises. And there is one set of standards in there so I suppose I could make one jump, which is all there’s really room for in there anyway.

That is the level of desperation we’re at right now.

I went out yesterday at lunch in the middle of this last solid 36 hours of rain. The “feels like” temp was 28, and I was greeted with water like I’ve never seen out there before.

Presto’s field now looks like this
one of the front paddocks is under a good few inches of water

The ground is just so saturated, there’s nowhere left for it to go. Once all the standing water finally drains off I guess we’ll have mud, but we aren’t even to that point yet. This just… doesn’t happen here.

I suppose I should be thankful that this barn handles water this well at least, because most people I know have not been able to ride at all lately and their horses haven’t been able to get turned out. Our arena is tiny, but it’s always rideable. The turnouts are definitely muddy, but they’re sandy enough to be safe, at least when it’s not actively pouring. The worst part about it is the driveway, which is so trashed at this point that I’m parking at the end of the road and walking in. I can live with that though.

Pretty much all Presto has been doing lately

This type of weather makes me nervous about colic too, when it swings wildly from 30 to 70 and then back again. Especially when they aren’t able to be turned out as much because of the constant pouring rain. I keep shoving as much hay as possible in front of both horses and just hoping it lets up at some point. Neither of the boys seem to mind THAT part so much. They’re having a pretty good time at the buffet.

It looks like we might get a few days here without rain at least, so maybe things will at least have a chance to drain before we get hit again.

I hope everyone else’s winter is looking a little more productive than mine! Are we having fun yet?

24 thoughts on “Swamp Donkey

  1. On the last day of the year, my part of Ohio beat all previously set records for precipitation in 2018, so I feel you. My barn has three arenas but it’s frustrating to ride inside when it’s been warm enough to be out.. because it won’t stop F-ing raining.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. been there got the tshirt. it rained its ass off all yesterday and last night. Today no rain but rain tnite into tomorrow then rain all next week. I just said to Mark last nite (I may have been taking it out on him a bit) I thought WINTER was when I was supposed to be able to ride more moving to TN!). I am pretty bitter and rotten about this nonending rainfall we have had since early October. We literally have not gone a full week without rain since then. In fact most weeks we get more rain days each week than clear days.

    I am shocked my horses still have hooves. i am shocked every tree hasn’t fallen over from saturated earth. I am shocked more people don’t go shit stir crazy in this stuff. UGH

    I mean it is bad up NorthEast for sure BUT at least there I could haul somewhere and ride up there. Here hardly anyone has indoors because (get it, jokes on them) their winters are so mild down here. Um. NO they are not. Not only is it wet it is COLD AS EFF too.

    I am sorry Texas is getting this crap as well. I am so glad the land at the barn seems to drain well. I would kill for that.
    Horses were up yesterday afternoon till this morning when I could finally let them out. Remus actually STOPPED eating hay last nite he was so full and bored and silly. I got worried about colic a few times we have had 40-50 degree changs in a day. RIDICULOUS.

    Hopefully it improves for you.I give up here. My horses won’t even walk out of the stalls anymore. I have to lead them out the barn doors to get them in the field. If that ends up going swamp I don’t know what i am going to do. I think Remus and Tate might be just as tired as I am of the continual wetness and mud. GRHHHHH

    answer: NOPE no fun here:)


  3. KY is just as wet… It’s just getting ridiculous. We have an indoor, which is obviously helpful, and the outdoor holds up really well in rain but… ugh. I ended up hacking down the road the other day because it was the only thing that was mostly dry (and then got drizzled on for a bit). The horses still get turned out (thankfully), but I am so happy I decided to pull May’s shoes a few month ago because there is no way they would stay on in this crap.

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  4. Here in VA, 2018 was the 2nd wettest year on record (63″+ of rain). It’s annoying. Beyond annoying. I feel like I’ve accomplished very little with my guys because of this. I am sure they are enjoying the time off but like you, I find myself saying “sttaapppppp it” a lot. Trainer would love for me to show, but that would require a few lessons, which would require so form of fitness that comes from being able to actually ride. I recently acquired a 3 year OTTB with good intentions of giving him the winter off to decompress but still establishing other important life skills such as lunging, going off campus, etc. That hasn’t happened either. Maybe the tree of knowledge is in his future. I mean, honestly, what amateur wants to sit on 3 year in January?! And today’s forecast = rain. Tomorrow’s forecast = more rain. SIGH.


  5. Yeah VA is the wettest it’s been since like 1894 or some insane crap like that. Frankie’s field is stupid muddy and extremely hilly, so he’s getting majorly limited turnout these days and I feel so bad for him. It’s an actual Christmas miracle that his shoes have stayed on.


  6. Last week in Minnesota, we had a hellish day where it snowed overnight, then rained hard all day, and then snowed and froze overnight. Everything was sheer ice, and all you could do was throw some salt and hay down and hope. My barn did their best, but horses and people were still slipping and falling. The arena was a skating rink. Now we got some more snow, but it’s about to go above freezing again, which makes me worry about ice when it dips below freezing again. This winter is shaping up to be awful.


  7. We’ve been getting rain here in Illinois. Usually it’s snow this time of year, but no no, it’s rain this year. Which I should be grateful for, since it’d be a shit ton of snow… Buuut my pasture has skating rinks in it now since it got cold after raining alllll day and most of the night on New Year’s Eve. I do thoroughly dislike when it’s cold and rainy, because I just get chilled to the bone and can’t warm up. Cold and snow? No problem. But the dampness, ugh, no thanks.


  8. Yep, we’ve been oscillating between tons of precipitation and then freezing temps, so if the arena isn’t waterlogged from all the rain, then it’s completely frozen and unridable. Without an indoor or any type of field to hack out in, riding has pretty much been put on hold. I’m really hoping that we have met our rain quota for the winter and things start to dry up soon!

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  9. i cant with the rain. I gave up literally months ago, and spicy has probably had the better part of the last couple months off. this has been the rainiest year. EVER.


  10. I have the luxury of allowing my three to come and go as they please during they day, but stall them at night – mostly just to keep them close and the resident coyotes and big cats at bay. I don’t think they left the barn at all yesterday after they were turned out, and instead spent the day standing under the shed row just looking pathetic. Hubby texted me when he got home, “The horses look miserable” – which summed it up pretty well. They got more hay than usual, but were very glad to head out to the flooded pastures to graze when turned loose this morning. I’m just hoping the forecasters who are saying it should be sunny all weekend (albeit with a 40% chance of rain) are right.


  11. I god I relate to this. We’ve had so much rain this year the ground is literally unstable. It slides away beneath your feet. The trees fall randomly, even without a breath of wind. Pig has his first first abscess in almost 6 years. I’m so over it.


  12. Perfect description of what it’s been like here as well, 90 miles west of you. Pictures and all.

    Three more inches falling yesterday and today. I’m also concerned that this could be a long term weather pattern, as the source of the rain over the past 12 months or so has changed from what it used to be in this area.

    Looking at the map for a dry spot where I can move with the horse. Amarillo? Arizona? (can’t actually really move though, pooh)

    Wish I could have sent the rain we’ve had since September to California to help with their wildfires.


  13. I think it might be my fault. I signed up two for the Jan 20th show. I need to go ahead and scratch the greenie, no way he is leaving home without a ride in six months.


  14. I feel bad that you’re not even at the mud stage yet, because mud effing SUCKS. Like, literally- it’s a miracle it hasn’t sucked off every shoe in the barn by now.


  15. So much rain, so much wind, so little sun. I need sun, I am a reptile and I can only go so long with grey. And so much mud. The dog is sick of baths, I just gave up on the horse until things dry out and I’m losing my mind.


  16. It has been insanely wet here too. The 4th rainiest year EVER in SC. We had just shy of 70” of rain. The ground is saturated and everything it overflowing. The red clay has a lot of cons but the one pro is that t typically sustains a lot of rain and drains quickly. Not this year. Gross


  17. Sounds like Ohio is on the same page as Texas. I’m ready for the mud to freeze already! Sheesh, never thought I’d say THAT


  18. We have gotten a ton of rain then melted all the ice and snow that a local barn had 3′ (yes FEET not inches) of water flood their entire farm in under 15 minutes! All horses had to be evacuated but luckily, they all were able to find temporary homes.


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