Today I danced in the rain. It’s January here in the Midwest and the rain was cold, just above freezing. My dogs , all three, said “ Nope. Not going out there Ma. I might be a tough ombré farm dog but January rain is not my thing. “ . So I put on my barn coat over my PJ’s, pulled on my barn boots held together with duct tape (every farmer’s friend), put on my gronkiest cowboy hat and out the door I went. I took off down our long, winding drive going west, and singing and dancing in the rain. They stood up on the porch watching. “ She’s kind of weird, nice but weird. Doesn’t she understand that it’s cold and wet? “. I kept dancing and splashing in puddles. I put on my Gene Kelley and off I went right down the drive.
Up on the road were some guys trying to fill a hole they had dug yesterday, putting in some kind of fiber optic tech line. They turned around and watched too. And then one of them put on some music, blasting it from their trucks. I waved and kept dancing. My poor orphan doggies couldn’t take that. They all came running out, splashing and rolling, doing their business and forgetting about whether it was cold and wet. All of us were soaked, muddy and playing in the rain.
And then the guys on the road started pointing and waving. I turned and here comes Lucky, my beautiful, glorious Lucky, running straight at the gate without stopping. And over he came, sailing like he was Pegasus and his wings were carrying him. He’s twenty years old! My Lucky is twenty years old and hasn’t jumped 4 and 1/2 feet for years and here he came, right over the fence. We all stood there, jaws dropped. He foxtrotted up to me and said, “ Whoooohooohooo hoooooo!” He was not going to be left out.
I could hear the guys, up on the road, laughing and cheering. It really was a spectacular leap. Lucky’s take off to landing is always over 17 feet. I don’t show my horses, don’t care for the stress it causes the horses or people, for that matter. But we did jump out on the trails whenever I found a good place for it. And both of us loved it. And there he was, rain soaked and steaming because he had run from the back of his pasture to leap. I had some of his favorite cookies in my pockets so I gave him one. He chomped and chewed, humming the way he does. Everything Lucky does is with a verbal comment. He’s always done that, has cracked friends up when we ride or play together. Lucky’s full brother, three years older than him, was a world class jumper. He even looked like my Lucky, a beautiful copper penny of a horse with one white sock. They both were blessed with spectacular health and perfect conformation. I still marvel at the fact he is mine.
My beautiful stunning boy can still fly! John heard it, came out the door to help if I needed him. He asked if I needed a halter and lead. “ No, thanks. We’re fine. Lucky’s here because he wants to be. He won’t leave me. “ and he didn’t either. We played on the ground out where the old arena was, before the tornado took it, and up and down the drive. The dogs were still playing in the puddles, following scent trails and walking with us. Lucky and I played in the rain, practicing walk/stop transitions, walking circles, walk/stop/back and then just walking together as buddies. He knew when we got back and I took him through the gate there would be another one of those wonderful molasses cookies. He hummed, I sang off key and we all danced together in the rain. I was so cold I was shaking and it never occurred to me to stop.
When we got back to the barn I took time to check his legs for heat, check his hooves for stones since he jumped on gravel and to walk him around a bit more to make sure he was cooled off. Apache, Stony and Willow joined us. I love walking with a herd around me. Maybe I was a horse in another life? I don’t know. It always makes me feel safe to have them there with me.
How many people get to do that? Dance in the rain with three ancient farm dogs, one spectacular aging horse and more waiting at the gates? I don’t have a penny to my name because I spend all of it on my animals, and I love my life! I am married to my best friend, live with three wonderful, aging horses, one fierce bad donkey, three dogs, four cats, seven ducks and seven chickens. We work hard here, love this place we live in. If I had one wish for the world, it would be for people to have this kind of muddy, wet, messy, cold, grey January morning dancing with a horse down the road to some pop music blaring from a truck. If everyone could have these brief moments of unadulterated joy, maybe they would calm down a bit, relax to the rhythm of their lives and enjoy the moments in the real present, not the make believe they see on little glass screens.
We’re so lucky in our lives. We both enjoy living tight to the bone, meeting the challenge that comes with the choices we made. The land we live on is beautiful, off the beaten path. We are the caretakers of the land for the Universities nearby. It’s a preserve we’ve protected for twenty years. Living here allows me the chance to dance in my PJ’s with my dogs and flying horse.
I heard a friend say that they missed 2020 because this year was starting out worse. Not for me this morning, on a classic Kansas Winter day. It’s still grey, cold, raining. We’re in the middle of the day now. Evening chores will start in three hours and I don’t think the temperature has changed or the rain slowed down. It’s going to be muck on top of frozen ground and we’re all going to be sliding around. It’s the kind of day that folks huddle inside away from, waiting for Spring and sunshine. But today, for Lucky and I, my three amigos (Apple, Scout and Sandy) and my husband who hugged me, mud and all, when I came in and said he loved me, for today it’s perfect. I wish everyone could find a way to feel what it’s like to have a glorious 16 plus hands horse jump a fence, just to be with them.
Magic. It’s all magic. I can’t wait to see what comes around the bend for us next.
Isn’t he stunning? I am so in love!
I am, ever yours, Nancy (who forgot to take my phone with me so I couldn’t get images. How twentieth century of me!), smiling