Today was one of those brisk, windy and sunny days. Doodle had a day off yesterday- as did everyone else, because we got "rained out". I know, I know, rained out is for sissies. But it wasn't my fault. Cowboy, my exercise rider called me super early to tell me that the track is shit, totally washed out and under water in places. No one is training and he's heading home.
Fine. I'll have another cup of coffee before I get all bundled up and head to work. Some mornings work out great that way, don't they?
Well, the rains stopped. Good thing, too. It's been getting way too chilly too fast these last few days. Just when you get used to the 90 degree weather with the 90% humidity, guzzling gallons of water, someone decides summer is over and here comes fall. Only fall seems to be jumping right into winter here. I guess I'm still spoiled from the years of living down south. I'd rather bake any day than freeze my buns off.
So this morning, I was expecting a load of shavings. But since I could no longer store them in an empty stall, I had to find a different place to dump them. Which required my buying a huge tarp. Which put me behind schedule by 10 minutes. Which I knew would happen, therefore I called my Shavings people and left a voicemail early to let them know.
When I arrive at the barn, I see MY shavings being dumped at the OTHER side of the barn by ANOTHER trainer's shedrow. Grrrrrrrrrrr there goes the slow mo, easy mood.
"Oh I'll come back in a coupla hours with another load" the man tells me.
In the meantime, Rick, the other trainer is grinning at me:
"I didn't mean to steal your load of shavings..."
"The hell you didn't! What were you thinking?"
He laughs and promises to make up for it. As if he has anything I might want or need.
I get to working on Doodle's stall, still grumbling over how this is going to put me behind a couple of hours and how I really wanted to make it home by 5:30 pm to see the Breeder's Cup Turf and Classic when Cowboy sticks his head around the corner and says:
"You're next! Get Doodle ready! I'll be right back!" and out of the shedrow he rides on Anne's frisky little gelding (this little horse has run two seconds in MSW races back to back and Anne thought the first time he was in way over his head. The boy went off at 86-1 and came in second! I was a shouting fool, watching him on tv)
I yell back- "Nooooo- take another one first. I need more time so that I don't have to run myself ragged not having everything ready by the time you get back with Doodle."
While Cowboy's out there, the Russian rolls in.
Ha! I'm saved. Cowboy will have to go do some other bizarre shit for the guy probably, so I have more than enough time to finish the stall, get the bath water ready (no, I don't do the fence tying, hosing and drip drying thing, sorry).
Cowboy gets back, gets on Doodle.
There are days when Doodle is walking out of the shedrow and slowly up to the track, alert, looking around, ready to do his exercise routine. There are days when Doodle is supposed to walk out of the shedrow to the track and just stops- looking left and right across the drive, putting off going out there, but still in a happy mood, at which point I usually literally get behind him and push with both hands and all my weight (I tell you, this has elicited some real laughs on part of other trainers).
Then there are days when Doodle is so happy that he can't wait to get out there.
Today was one of those days.
Going up the path to the track, a horse was coming down the stretch and Doodle rears up and bucks, spins and wheels and whinnies his loud, very hoarse stallion whinny and wants to take off.
Cowboy is arguing with him and gets him back in hand.
He goes out there and once he starts jogging, he's collected, pushing forward and arguing with Cowboy to let him have his head.
This usually means- Dude, I want to run, just get off or let me run with you on top.
But today's routine isn't calling for all out running. Jog a mile and a half, gallop a mile. Let him have fun but make sure he uses his whole body.
See, Doodle is one of these epically lazy horses. Whatever least amount of effort he will get away with, is what he will put forth. To see him put something like real energy and enthusiam into going, is a very joyful moment.
After the jogging part is over, they come into the near turn. Doodle all of a sudden grabs the bit out of Cowboy's hands and goes to take off like he's coming out of a starting gate. Holy mackerell, when that doesn't work out to his plans, he tries to wheel on him and dump him.
Not! Cowboy gets him back in hand.
In the meantime, Anne and I are watching and commenting on how well the Doodlebug is moving out. He is feeling good and it's obvious to any onlooker.
As the galloping gets underway more calmly, I figure, well, let me make sure I have everything ready. I step around the corner back to my shedrow and bath area.
When I come back, Cowboy is on his way back off the track with Doodle. As they approach, I can tell Cowboy is talking but I can't tell what he is saying. He comes across the drive and looks at me- Doodle looks extremely self-satisfied, Cowboy is red in the face:
"You know what? He is a common asshole!"
Anne and I both start laughing.
"No, seriously, did you see all that shit he tried to pull out there? He is an asshole! He thought he had one of these kids you teach to gallop on his back! Asshole!"
And as he enters the barn to give him a turn:
"A COMMON asshole!"
Well. What do you say to that? I'm trying not to smile. I go in and catch Doodle, put his halter on and whisper to him how well he did, how proud I am of him. Cowboy can't hear this. Good thing, too.
But Doodle hears it. He always hears me. While I bathe him by myself (he just stands there for me not being tied), I continue praising my boy and while I dry his face off with the sponge, I give him a big kiss on the side of his muzzle, grab his huge head in my arms as he rubs it against me and tell him:
Gosh, I just loooooooove you, you bestest bestest racehorse in the whole world, you!
Funny how the harried mood I started the morning off with completely changed simply by my horse showing me the wonderful mood he was in.
Rest of the day went just peachy.
Thank you, Doodle.
Pity the fools who actually pay humans for therapy sessions....