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September 1, 2010

When Fish Attack!

Wading in the pond is a lovely way to spend the day, until the fish attack!!

We had a clinic with Scott yesterday, and it was great, and you'll hear all about it tomorrow. Today, though, I present a harrowing tale of intrepid adventurers, fell beasts, and a soggy end. Let it never be said, dear readers, that dressage riders are not hard-core.

My wonderful working student Nicole had just finished schooling a client horse named Wicked, who is anything but—he's a fabulous athlete and a fun, doofy guy. It's gotten hot here again, and as I'm trying to let Midge have some well-deserved down time, I decided to hack him, and invited Nicole and Wicked along with. Tra-la-la, out into the world we go, and we find ourselves down by the pond.

Those who know me or are longtime followers know that we are not DQs here at Sprieser Sporthorse. We hack and play and swim our horses, bareback, through one of my Clearwater Farm's ponds. We are fully tacked up, so swimming is out of the question, but the temperature was rising, and both horses really love splashing around. On a loose rein, Wicked practically dragged Nicole over, and so we decided to let the horses go in up to their knees.

They splashed and played, and we giggled. We were having a perfectly nice time, on our two very well-mannered and obedient horses.

And then, it struck.

The Beast From Below.

The pond is man-made, but we added some fish a while back, to be bio-friendly. Little weenie fish, nothing carnivorous or dreadful. So when a few of my students complained about fish coming up and biting them while swimming, I called baloney. Apparantly, this is my karmic retribution.

Someone put a piranha in my pond.

And it bit Wicked.

He was in the air so fast. Ka-BLOUEY! Nicole, who is a VERY good rider, was gone in a flash. Wicked leapt so high and so hard his front boots came flying off. And with a hefty splash, he was halfway across the pond, fleeing the scene of the attack, and submerging one of my saddles (of course) in the process.

(Midge, not being a rocket scientist and, therefore, not having the presence of mind to fear a second attack by The Beast, stands like a statue. Good boy.)

Nicole was, thankfully, totally fine other than an unintended soaking, and while Wicked did make a beeline for dry land after he returned to his right mind, he stood under a tree and calmly waited for someone to get him. No marks from The Beast, either; no physical trace of a bite of any kind. Apparently, in addition to being a fearsome foe, The Beast also has Magical Powers. Ruh roh.

All's well that ends well, though when Midge and I waded in to try and retrieve one of Wicked's escapee boots without getting soaked, Midge spooked at the floating boot and ended up pretty successfully submerging my tack, too, the dolt. A frantic call to Colleen, my saddle fit sponsor and very dear friend, gave us a plan of VERY thoroughly cleaning and conditioning the tack, and to worry about the wool flocking drying carefully so as not to mold (and she managed to do all this without cracking up at our wayward tale, which I find very impressive and mature).

So, horses and riders are well, and we have only three problems: the saddles may need reflocking. And The Beast From Below is still out there.

But worst of all? NO VIDEO EVIDENCE! Aww, man... if ever there was a time for a camera!
Sprieser Sporthorse