Wash Day

Summer 2007: The heat, the flies, the dry, dusty days. We find respite in the wash rack, putting the hose on its mist setting. That’s the only way to sprinkle the top of a horse’s head. Pickle and Buster, with their long Thoroughbred necks, throw their heads up in the air to avoid the spray of water. However high we aim the nozzle, they lift their muzzles higher.

But little Lacey, on her short Arab legs, falls victim to our ministrations. Though she doesn’t want water in her face, we know what’s best. It’s 95 degrees out, after all, and who wouldn’t want cool drops trickling down their furry ears?

She closes her eyes tight and makes a face. We turn the water down to a dribble and try to get Lacey to drink from the hose. She’s done it before, and it made us hoot with laughter. But today she grits her teeth, and wont part her lips. So I splash the hose over her back, washing away the sweaty, saddle-shaped evidence of a half hour ride in the small arena.

Finally we’re done; Lacey heaves a sigh of relief, and carefully backs out of the wash rack, carefully placing one foot at a time. She always remembers the time she slipped and almost went down. That is the only reason that she stands so still in the rack.

I barely need to lead her back to her stall; she propels me along the path. She walks with her neck low, her head by my side, velvet nose checking my hands for carrots (she knows there aren’t any, but is always hopeful).

Back in the stall. No matter how refreshing her baths are, she’s always happy when they’re done.


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