Monday, April 18, 2011

Mud. Only it's not just mud. If you know what I mean.

Long ago in a different kind of life, I loved mud.  I squished it between my fingers and formed it into shapes, which I then put into a fire until those shapes were hard.

Yeah, it was fun, but my future already included one career notorious for being a hard living.

So I gave up the clay thing.

These days, I curse the clay on a regular basis.  Like, daily.

When it's dry, it's rock hard, much like those pots became after sitting on a shelf for a few days.  When it's wet, it's a sticky, slick, sucking mess - much like those pots became after I decided they weren't good enough to fire and tossed 'em into the wet clay bin.  When clay is so dry it's powdered, anything with nostrils is in danger of getting a case of silicosis.  Potter's lung. How about riding instructor's lung?

I just don't love mud like I used to.

Right now I can't look at the corral without disgust.  It's wet.  Most of it is a six-inch deep bog of manure and wasted hay.  Three sets of hooves churn it into a blackened stinking mess pocked with dark poisonous looking water.  The horses sink to the fetlocks with every step and I worry about tendons and stifles.

Have I ever mentioned that spring is NOT  my favourite time of year?

I'm not proud of this, but I have not yet been on horseback this year.  I can't face it.  I don't want to sink to the ankles before I even get onto my horse's back. I hate thinking of the result if the horse slipped in the mud and landed on top of me. I keep thinking I could finally get these horses out of the corral, out onto the hay field and down the road, except that two out of three are not very road and trail experienced yet... and after a long winter is really not the best time to try it out.  I won't ride in the pasture because the grass is too young and the ground too soft.

Also.  It doesn't smell very nice outside right now.

One of my neighbours will be over this week with his skid steer loader and all that crap will be pushed out and over the hill.  Then that clay will at least be just mean ol' clay, without the nasty layer on top.

I hate spring.

I like my neighbour.

We are going to talk more here about the best kind of footing for a riding area.  I'm kind of obsessed with the concept and I'd like to hear other horse-people thoughts on the subject.  Next I'll tell you about The Estimate for turning this corral into a well drained, non-dusty, reliable riding ring.

This week I'm watching the grass turn green and waiting for the ground to firm up.

(Dude.  Boring.)


Anonymous said...

Hey Heidi! Can't wait to hear what you use for a riding ring. I'm in the same boat here with the foot sucking, boot devouring mud hole that was once a very nice paddock area!!!! OIE!!! I too worry about scratches and sore feet and injuries to legs because of slipping or just trying to walk in this stuff!!! I'm looking for quotes now on what to use. Keep us posted!!

Heidi the Hick said...

Oh I've been meaning to write a whole post on this for MONTHS!

I'm just not sure what I'm going to do, and I'm still researching options as well.

But you know I will keep you posted! Hopefully we can all give each other advice. We must all be smart if we put our brains together eh?

Paul Tee said...

On the subject of mud: Last week I spent 3 hrs extricating my car from the grip of mud. The tires drilled into the ground turning it into a slurry. That it was a 4-wheel drive meant that I had four holes instead of two, right up to the axles. I had to jack the car up, fill the holes with bricks (59 of them), before I could drive out, slithering, slinging mud all the way to solid ground.

The thing is, it wasn't the first time and I should have know better. The ground only looks firm--until you drive over it. So I know what you are talking about. Add a few horses to the mix and you have what you got, an evil smelling witches brew.

Last year I had to leave my rubber boots embedded in 10 inches of mud, and I came close to walking on water to escape being trapped myself. I didn't dare return to get them for near a month, then had to dig them out with a pickax.

What you're going to use for a surface I don't know, but likely have to put in some pipe drainage. Good luck.

Heidi the Hick said...

Aw man, paradise bit you in the ass again!

Remember when I got my truck stuck in my backyard?

59 bricks. A century from now someone will be trying to figure out what kind of strange little building that foundation is for. They won't guess that it was to hold up a jeep!

And the boots... I totally remember my red rubber boots sticking out of the mud with my socks hanging out of them. And that was just the beginning..

I think I know how I would set up that corral but I don't think the cost is in my reach right now. Especially since I don't know how long well be here.

One Red Horse said...

Today I was working in our rescue's pasture and got trapped in knee high, boot-sucking mud. Would NOT let me go. Tripped me, and over I went just avoiding a mud face plant. Do not like mud.

Heidi the Hick said...

Well, it's nice to know somebody else understands my predicament!

Heidi Willis said...

We are sitting in a mud-pit right now, too. The red clay is tracked in the house and I'm constantly on my knees trying to scrub it out of our white carpets. Yuck.

Also, allergies. Spring is pretty, but come on summer!

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