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.