Friday, February 22, 2008


Not far from Watermark Farm is a town called Calistoga, famous for its mud baths. Legend has it that in the late 1800s, a rather drunken entrepreneur stood in front of an enthusiastic crowd, pronouncing this California town "the Calistoga of Sarafornia!" What he meant, of course, was "the Saratoga of California," but the name stuck.

Clearly, someone has recently informed Argus of the medicinal benefits of mud, and Argus is intent on having his own Calistoga mud bath. This morning, I cradled a hot cup of coffee while performing my morning routine of peering at the horses from the house. This is the one thing I dreamed about back in the days when "horse property" was something I could only pine for. "I just want to be able to wake up," I told my long-suffering husband many years ago, "and drink a cup of coffee and see my horses out the window."

My husband was far less dreamy about Typical man, he said: I just want to be able to wake up and go pee outside without any neighbors being able to see me.


I am standing at the family room window, which faces the barn, staring out at the two white horses standing side-by-side in their paddocks. Except that one isn't white at all. He's, uh, DISGUSTING. And so is his blanket.

Every week something different. We say that all the time now about Argus, for each week is a lifetime to him, full of incredible adventures, terrifying mishaps, and poignant moments that slip by nearly unnoticed. This week Argus has discovered MUD. Not only has he discovered that it feels incredibly good to roll someplace wet and sticky, but he has ventured even further out into his mini-pasture to discover something even better: the drainage ditch.

Bordering our 5 acres is a shallow, wide swale that catches our runoff and diverts it off the property. For the most part, the horses leave it alone. It's muddy and cold, and although it's shallow enough to be safe, most horses are dignified enough to avoid standing in it.

This morning, Argus not only played in the ditch with great enthusiasm, he actually rolled in it! Which meant that his blanket also played and rolled in the ditch. Both of them emerged from the pasture looking rather sheepish, and drippy, and completely brown. Argus had water in his ears, and soupy tan mud pressed into just about every inch of his body.

This is a horse who is drinking up every moment of his life. Every single moment. This morning, when I went to the barn to see him up close in all his muddy finery, he gave me the most comical look, as if to say "Did you have any idea we had this fun mud to roll in? Any idea at all? Why didn't you tell me about this?"

I am in my pajamas, tall mud boots, and the famous thrift store orange down coat. Argus has no idea that we both look ridiculous. Argus holds still, even without a halter, for me to peel off that soaking wet blanket, almost as of the weight of it --- the mud, water, and goo --- has grounded him in a way that only an early morning mud bath can do.


Argus is doing well! He is none the worse for wear since his accident last weekend! He does not allow me to touch the stapled cut easily, but occasionally I can wipe some ointment on it if I act casual and mesmerize him with my forehead-scratching talents.

His neck is still very sore and he'll get another chiropractic adjustment when Dr. Miller comes out next week to remove the staples. Thank you to everyone for your good wishes!

And yes, this is the Watermark Farm in Fulton...


Anonymous said...

I'm happy to see Argus is feeling good and having a little fun in the mud!
Sorry about the mess! How in the world are you going to clean that blanket? Hose it down I guess!:-)

Gina said...

Or you could take it to a laundromat and use a washing machine there. The people would appreciate that. =P

That's terrific that Argus is enjoying himself in the mud! Sounds A lot like my horse. He should be called Mucky, not Bucky....

butterflygirls4 said...

I love it! Argus is quickly becoming a horse with his own personality! lol

BTW, how will you wash that blanket?

Anonymous said...

Oh this just annoyes me. I had a very long comment to leave and it disappeared when I apparently wasn't signed in. Grr!

Anyway the reason I asked if it was the place in Fulton, is because I too live near by. I actually think I had spoken with you through email about coming by and helping you at your barn, about a year ago? Not too long after my laptop took a poo and I lost everything on it.

Happy to hear that Argus is soaking up life! What a ham.
By the way, I send my best to you and the horses during this next storm we are supposed to have! Hopefully it doesn't turn out like they say. Stay warm and dry!

Anonymous said...

That is a terrific tale....but....! We need PHOTOS! heh heh heh

Mikey said...

ROTFL at you and your husband. Gosh, it sounds familiar... I too love my coffee in the morning while watching my horses, and he would love to pee outside. Tooooo funny. And mudponies.... oh yes. I spend hours cleaning them, only to come out the next day and have them look like I haven't touched them in 6 months. Sigh... I feel ya!

Claudia said...

I know it's gross and a lot of work, but it's so amazing to read about him being a real, genuine horse, instead of the prisoner he was.

Anonymous said...

Why does Argus roll in the mud? Because he CAN!!! How wonderful for him. Thank you for the update (o:

Allison said...

I know TB mare that *loves* to wallow in mud puddles. She would roll in them, lay in them and paw around in them; splashing every inch of herself with muddy water. As it turned out, she had some kind of skin condition that caused her to be itchy so the water soothed the itch. Funny horses!

Anonymous said...

Any updates? I agree, more pictures are definitly needed! I'm so happy for him!