Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Horses & Mud

Not having lived my life around horses until recently, there have been quite a few things I've learned in the past 4 years about them and their behaviors. The one little item I never realized about horses is that they LOVE to roll in the mud. Honestly, I never knew this! Makes me laugh now. It's really a very simple concept. New rain produces muddy field. Target for horses to go for it!

This morning when I went out to feed, my guys were a little wet when they came in to eat their morning grain. I sort of expected them to already be muddy and was a little surprised they hadn't been at it yet. We've been dry around here for the past month. It's been getting dusty dry. Grass is near nothing. We definitely needed the rain but I was enjoying not having to deal with mud yet.

Fed them their grain, gave them their hay for the morning and then I left to go get some groceries. I was gone for a couple of hours. When I got back, my two boys were waiting at the gate, and yes, covered from ears to hooves in mud! They actually seemed proud of themselves and seemed to be showing me what they'd been into while I was gone.

My illusion of most horses had come from seeing them in shows I'd attended as a spectator or some other event where the horses were always cleaned up and pristine. The thought never once crossed my mind that horses would enjoy mud. Shows how much I didn't know!

We had one little black pony mare, Gloria, at the ranch where I worked. She would always, and I mean ALWAYS, run into the field after we'd bathed her, and roll in the mud or dirt. None of the other horses did it right in front of us, just Gloria. Yeah, we finally figured out that when we bathed her, she needed to go back into the stall for a while and not out to the field right away. It's just so comical when I think about it now.

Then there was big Kleo. She was a 17 h sorrel QH, with a nasty personality but that's for another time, who would literally come in from a rainy night covered in mud. My guys this morning reminded me of Kleo, but even they hadn't gotten anywhere close to being as mud caked as what I remember Kleo. Kleo would have mud caked and baked into(so it seemed) her coat. She had to have rolled with all her weight more than a few times. I hated cleaning Kleo up after one of these episodes, which seemed to be constantly during the rainy fall and spring seasons and just before weekend programs, of course.

Then there was Dusty, who did not like to get muddy. Imagine that! She was always the cleanest horse in the barn. Evidently she didn't care to roll in the mud. We were never quite sure what breeds Dusty was crossed with, but she was a big bodied, almost draft-like mare with the fullest main and tail I'd ever seen. Dusty seemed to pride herself in her cleanliness. She was our little princess as well as our drama queen. But, of all the horses, I don't ever recall seeing her having her way with the mud in the fields or coming into the barn with much more than a small splatter of mud on her coat.

I guess I'm just lucky to have a couple of mud dogs for horses. They do like to roll and get covered in the stuff. Maybe they have a plan in their heads. Maybe they just get covered in mud because they know I'll eventually come out and clean them up when it quits raining. Which works right into their plan of running out and rolling in the mud, again, when I walk back into the house!

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