Well, this past weekend was the first horse show of the season.
I worked for my girlfriend as her groom and go-fer and do whatever is necessary person. I like doing that because I don't ride and show anymore, so I help where I can.
Friday we arrived at the show facility and got all the houses settled in the barn, with hay and water. All the tack was put into two tack stalls close to the horses. Then horses were tacked and saddled for warm up rides in the arena. I spent the day there and wandered home around 5 pm.
For some of the people (and horses), this was their very first show ever. That's where I came in. I helped with advice on show etiquette, wrapping horses' legs, adjusting tack, calming nerves (mostly people) and going in 25 directions at once all day Saturday (for about 13 hours) and all day Sunday (about 11 hours).
Now, it would have been a bit stressful for all involved simply because it is the first show (of the season and for some, of a lifetime). But the organization wasn't the greatest. There were computer glitches in their new system, there was poorly timed (or non-existent) warm-up times for people to get their horses moving after standing in stalls (the horses, not the people) before having to ride in their class.
And there was the weather. Temperature-wise, Saturday was nice. It got up to 21C. That's perfect for both riders and horses... not too hot and not too cold.
However... and this is a really big, mega-sized however... Mother Nature decided to be quite evil. Over the course of the weekend, we got about 100 mm of rain. And not just a steady rain. Nooooooo... it came down from sky-blackening, ground touching clouds that spewed massive amounts of rain in bursts. Winds howling, skies glowering, lightning flashing and thunder cracking kind of rain. Tiny funnel tails were spotted from clouds, threatening to form tornadoes, but to my knowledge we didn't get any in our area.
The barn where the horses were stabled is a metal building. Non-insulated. So you can imagine the noise of that rain hammering on steel... and the fear it would cause some of the horses. After a while, a steady rain just becomes white noise that you can live with and kind of tune out. But when it comes in sheets, accompanied by the cracking and booming of thunder, that's a completely different story. And because some horses were scared, some of their people were also, which just feeds into the loop of 'ohmygod ohmygod!' that some of the horses get into. Needless to day, lots of them were bouncing off the walls.
Even the indoor riding arena, which is also a metal building but is insulated, became deafeningly noisy during the hardest downpours. And you KNOW that's a lot of rain if you can hear it through the insulation! We could watch it cascade off the overhang of the roof over the arena door... it was literally a waterfall. Running the 75 feet between the barn and the arena meant being soaked to the skin. My jeans were wet and mucky almost to my knees from the trips I made back and forth, and because the floors everywhere are sand.
The entire area went from being relatively dry to having standing water everywhere, including inside the barn in areas where it either leaked through the roof or came in under the doors. Driving to the barn Saturday morning (before the worst of the storm) there were a few puddles here and there, but driving home Saturday evening (taking my life in my hands but I had to go because my dog was in the house), the surrounding fields were under water. All homes were now lake front properties. Fields where crops were just starting to show green were drowning under a sea of fresh rainwater. And in the city (which is usually only a 10 minute drive away), streets were flooded, underpasses became swimming pools and water filled everything.
I was concerned that my basement would be flooded but thankfully that was not the case. I'd recently built up the earth around the house and extended the downspouts away from the building, and it looks like it's paid off. I can't get my grass cut, however, because it is still raining (Monday morning) and it's down about 8 inches tall... Does anyone have a goat I can borrow? Or maybe I should just move to Arizona. I hear real estate is easy to come by down there...