Ah, spring. What a wonderful time of the year. The snow begins to melt, the ground begins to thaw, the insects come back out to play. Your trailer has mold in strange places and it is a great day if your boot doesn’t get pulled off in the mud. The sun begins to shine past 5 p.m., and you begin to realize you can finally take your ring sour horse outside. You leave the barn with an extra coat, the one your horse has begun to shed. Oh spring, how wonderful you are.
Surviving spring might seem easy, you finally don’t look like a Willie Wonka character when you go to ride your horse. You begin to dream about tank tops and giving your filthy horse a bath. The cross country fences you’ve been telling yourself you’re finally ready to jump…well…they look a bit bigger than they did surrounded by snow, but you’re still game! You would attempt any fence or movement if it meant you didn’t need to ride in the indoor again (if you’re lucky enough to have an indoor).
For some of us, spring is filled with as many terrors as there are blessings. I personally have two OTTBs, although one of them is incredibly calm most days, the other sometimes thinks that he is not a horse, but rather a kite. When spring rolls around, we leap, we snort, we rear, and we buck. I wonder if in a past life either of them were a rodeo horse. Some days I also wonder if I am a glutton for punishment as I realize I forgot to use a neck strap…again. Other days I wonder if I will ever be able to leg yield again. Then, there are the days I wish we could just canter nicely in a circle on the bit. Despite the wild beasts the warm weather has unleashed, some days we can ride outside. I might still be wearing two coats to make it happen, but it seems an insult to the sun to turn down its extended hours on recently thawed ground. We may even hack around that cross country fence eyeing down fences thinking “it can’t be THAT much bigger without snow around it.”
Walking out to the field is a terror in and of itself. I will never forget one spring where I lost my boot and stepped in mud every single day. No matter what shoes I wore, I ended up with at least one foot covered in mud. Thankfully, those days have given me reason to celebrate knee high boots and every day that instance does not occur. I often take my celebrations to the level of: “I didn’t step in mud, this is reason to have a glass (read: bottle) of wine!”
Spring is also the time for colds, wind, and chapped lips. Chapstick goes perfectly with shedding season. I had always wonder what I would look like as a man (or werewolf) and now I get to find out on a daily basis. The continuous battle of dry lips versus horse hair mustache is a treacherous one. Don’t forget the wonderful accent it adds to all your apparel.
There is nothing better than spring after a long, miserable winter. Despite the mud, the shedding, and the wild ponies, you can finally put your arms down without having your coat bounce them back up. It is only a matter of time before you can take your trot sets and gallops back outside. Hacking with barn friends is a thing again, and nothing beats the chit-chat with your comrades in insanity. Your ponies may be wild, but if they’re that athletic, I bet we really could jump that fence…eventually. I can’t justify the mud except it gives me an excuse to have that glass of wine. So cheers to spring and all the joys (read: terrors) that it brings!