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The night we nearly drowned

flooded road
Written by Andrea Parker

There are days when you feel like Midas, everything turns to gold, everything goes just as you’d planned. And then there are the other type of days. The ones where nothing goes right. If your lucky you’ll be with someone pretty cool. If you even luckier you will know even in the moment that kind of sucks that you’ll be able to look back on it one day and laugh. It’s a moment that will turn into one of those stories, ‘Hey Tash, remember that time we nearly drowned at Nebo?’.

The day started perfectly. Although it was forecast for rain, it was a sunny, if humid North Queensland day. Not a cloud in the sky and a bright sun. The perfect day for a twighlight t-shirt hack day. And after all, local school know that it doesn’t rain in Nebo.

I left home at about 11am conveniently forgetting I had to get feed for Nonie, food for myself and wash and plait Nonie. By the time I got out to my agistment centre Tash was patiently waiting for me. I quickly saw that she was wearin the distinctive two long sleeved layers, that indicated she was fully dressed with breeches and show shirt on underneath.

Between the two of us and a packet of ‘Quick Knots’ we had Nonie sort of washed and plaited in an hour flat. A practical miracle.

It was as I went to load Nonie up that I realised the second thing I’d forgotten. As I normally travel Nonie alone she has an extended rump bar which gives her a bit more room to move. It’s great unless you plan on putting two horses in the float. This meant we needed to make a diversion back to my home to pick up the two regular rump bars. Not five minutes down the road I started to slow down. As I started to pull over Tash asked if everything was ok? After jumping out of the car and running around to the back of the float to find that there was in fact a second pair of pins available for the extra rump bar. I let out a sigh of relief!

After a 15 minute drive we arrived at Tash’s horse Tundra’s agistment, only to be met what was nearly our next stumbling block. With both rump bars in place and Nonie on the left side of the float we started to put Tundra on the float.

Now Nonie is not the friendliest of mares, but I have floated her with other horses in the past without incident. But as soon as Tundra started to walk up behind her she squealed and tried to kick poor Tundra. We started to wonder if our trip would be over before it started.

A quick introduction face to face, featuring a lot of squealing from Nonie, a bemused look from Tundra, and the idea to put Tundra on first and we were off and away. The remainder of the trip to the competition went off without a hitch.

No sooner than we had arrived and unloaded the horses than it started to rain. It was over pretty quickly and we’d nominated for our classes Hunter for Nonie and show horse for Tundra. After a few finishing touches to their turnout we were on and ready to warm up.

As I was warming Nonie up I heard what was either the skies once again opening up or truck driving through. The latter was clearly wishful thinking. Riders and horses were rushing across the arena to get under a nearby shed to shelter from the down pour.

[bctt tweet=”As I was warming Nonie up I heard what was either the skies once again opening up or truck driving through. The latter was clearly wishful thinking.” username=”eqballerina”]

We were soon able to get back into the ring and get through the first part of the program, the working horse classes. With the sand ring flooded by the rain so far it was over to the grass. These days Nonie is fairly reliable and we were able to win both the working horse mare and open working horse class. She was also named Champion Working Horse.

As we were about to get ready for the next classes, it once again started to rain. We decided to call it a night knowing that we had a one and a half hour drive ahead of us. Before we even made it back to the float it once again started to pour down. We quickly untacked and then took refuge inside the float. We stood in the float for about 10minutes watching our horses getting wetter and wetter, Nonie still wearing her champion sash. With the rain showing no sign of letting up and the water pooling around the ramp of the float we made the decision to brave the rain and get the horses on the float, and this was where the fun began!

The two horses who normally walk on the float without a question decided that now was the time to ask why they should get on. So it took a good 10 minutes to get both horses on the float in the pouring rain. Very frustrating. The next problem was that by this time we were both soaking wet and facing a long drive home. Luckily we both had a change of clothes in the car.

Normally, I don’t like driving in the rain let alone towing in the rain. On the drive home the torrential rain barely let up. It was a slow drive home as we sat on an average speed on about 75kmph. Better to arrive safe and slow though. We made it home safely and without incident other than missing the second to last turn off to home, only to be met by winds which could have rolled in from the Arctic Circle. Not the most idyllic circumstances for unplaiting and putting away your float. With the basics done, the ponies put to bed and the float put away it was time to go home, have dinner and get into bed.

It was a trip I wouldn’t want to repeat in a hurry, but even now just 24hours later it does seem quite hilarious. And I couldn’t have picked a better person to experience it with than Tash. I think we’ll always look back on it as the night we almost drowned.

[bctt tweet=”It was a trip I wouldn’t want to repeat in a hurry, but even now just 24hours later it does seem quite hilarious.” username=”eqballerina”]
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About the author


Andrea Parker

Andrea is an Adult Amateur dressage rider who competes at medium level on her 13-year-old mare Mon Ami. Andrea shares her journey through the equestrian world on her blog The Sand Arena Ballerina and is working on an equestrian podcast called Equestrian Pulse.