Calm, Forward, Straight

Calm, Forward, Straight

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

In the Arena # 78 - All's well that ends well...

So, last winter I posted about emergency repairs to the well pump that brings water to my barn. Dead well pump. Not fun - again...

There's the inconvenience of having to take things apart, purchase new parts and put them together... I know I shouldn't complain too much as my handyman (who also happens to be my father - love you Dad!) does the real work. All I really have to do is fetch tools and run back and forth turning spigots on and off. Then there's the worry about what we would do if suddenly we don't have the well. Dad does the fixing - I do the worrying.

I was right to worry. For the last month or so, the well not been reliable. Uneven, surging water flow that will sometimes peter out after being used for more that filling up a bucket - horse rinsing, or watering the garden. We checked out possible mechanical causes, but there may be another factor. The water table is as low as I have seen it since living here. Lack of rain in general, and lack of tropical systems that really dump in particular. I woke up this morning scheming about transporting water in the back of my truck, and siphoning verses carrying buckets, trailering Val to my house for bath time...

Good news is that handyman extraordinaire got the mechanics taken care of so we can bring what water there is to the surface - let's pray for rain!


Progress... Dad and I laid out the boundaries of the new arena over the weekend, as well as shot levels to get an idea of how to move around the material we have, and how much sand I'll have to bring in for the project. It looks like rearranging what sand I have already will make the cost more manageable. Next step - planning. I have to take all the info we collected and transpose it onto a large copy of the site drawing. Ugh - math. I had to pull out the pythagorean theorem to make sure the layout was square. Within inches as it turned out, although a calculator was necessary to accomplish the ciphering ;) Getting closer all the time. Once we have our proper arena with proper footing there will be no excuses Val!


Val and I had a "play date" yesterday. I hooked up with the only other dressage rider in the area - D,  a summer visitor. She borrowed a horse and brought him over for some schooling as I have the only "arena" around. Val was happy to have horse company - Cowboy pulled his patented scary jump out from behind the run in when they go by move. Twice. Thankfully Charlie, a pretty little refined chestnut quarter horse, was unfazed. 

We had a nice first session, although Val took advantage of my lack of focus. It was the first really hot day and he didn't feel like moving at all, so it took a lot of effort - mental and physical - to get beyond a walk. To be fair, the arena sand is very deep right now, making it all the harder to work. I can barely push the manure cart through it at the moment. Our trot transitions were labored and took way too long, with even some popping up in the front end as protest. (Yes - I was blocking with my hands at the time) ;) We finally got some round 15 meter circles at the trot, very good work on the buckle before it was over, and we ended on a high note.

It will be a good challenge for us to focus on working with other horses and distractions around. D's arrival is very timely. We have plans for more rides, with photos and video to come.


A final note - with the sudden temperature rise come the snakes. This little pretty appeared between me and my destination - Val's stall window as I left last night. She may have been laying eggs under the wash rack concrete pad when I disturbed her. She hissed, coiled, struck and rattled her tail at me. An impressive display, but bluffing none the less. Hopefully this will be as serious as our snake interactions get this summer :)


  1. Is that a rattlesnake? Good you're not afraid of them, I'd have jumped out of my skin!

    Looks like the arena is shaping up nicely. Just wondering if it's level enough maybe you don't need sand and could do a grass arena? A lot cheaper than trucking in sand or footing materials.

    Nice that you had someone to ride with. I can understand Val's reluctance to go forward, it's really hot here too. Good luck with the water situation, maybe doing a rain dance would help.

  2. It's true that there are two sides every coin, and the flip side of having well water is definitely the fear of pump breakdowns! A few years ago when we had 3 back to back hurricanes, power was out in our area for weeks. We had stocked up a lot of water prior to the storms, and all the rain filled our outdoor waterers and troughs up, thankfully, but it was touch and go for a little while. We almost had to start hauling water in ourselves! Not fun at all... But the arena project looks super fun and very motivating!

  3. Glad you figured out a temporary well fix. Yay! for arena progress! It has gotten hot here this week and I have to agree with Val it is no fun to work in. YIKES! That snake is scary!

  4. Take my rain, please. I haven't been able to ride on a dry trail all year.

    These weather patterns are really getting crazy, aren't they?

  5. If you decide to move inland, I have just the farm for you. :)

    Sending good thoughts for good, clean, plentiful water. Stay cool! It's 96 here right now and I am drenched with sweat and water from hosing horses!

  6. Not having access to water is scarier than that black snake, especially with 90 degree weather beginning. For sure!

    I saw one like that just outside the barn last week. I knew that it would not hurt me, but those unblinking eyes still make me uneasy. Great photo.

  7. Is it a rattle snake? I assume so since oyu siad it rattled :) Then why weren't you scared??? Nice picture though.
    Depending on well water can be a little nerve wracking at times. We have lots of rain, but also lots of power outages.
    Glad you have a dressage riding buddy. It's so much easier with someone to watch and comment, take pictures and video, etc. Sounds like Val is going very well, especially given the heat.

  8. The snake is a black racer. When cornered they pretend to be a rattlesnake and will lunge and strike. Luckily it's all an act :)

    I certainly wouldn't get near a rattlesnake if I could help it!

  9. GHM-

    I wish!

    Where the arena is planned to be, is a swamp half of the year. We have to raise the whole arena area, as well as grade the back third of the property to run the water off correctly. I'm learning a lot about whatever you call grading / levels / drainage stuff lol :)

  10. Isn't that called it a "little pretty"NOT!!! Oh..I'm with Arlene jumping out of my skin looking at her from here!Great Ride play day!!

    Well, drat the pump and all. You are a trooper and I know it'll get taken care ofshortly, with your gumption. Love the sounds of the Arena too. A series of well placed French drians under, is what they do around here.
    Too bad you couldn't find a way(knowing you-you will) to save the water drainoff in recepticles-for watering the arena when you need to!

  11. Who knew Pythagora would get involved in building a ring ? Turns out my high school math teacher was right all those years ago.

    A lifetime's experience watering livestock tells me wells suck, but not as bad as springs which suck worse.


  12. You would hear me screaming all the way from here to your barn if I ran into a snake like that! I'll be doing a rain dance for you too - we just had a near miss with a tornado this week. Wish we could send all our wet weather to you.

  13. Beautiful little snake! I'm glad you're a snake fan too - I think they're cool little critters, unless they're poisonous.

    My condolences on your sick well!


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