Photo by Audrey Pavia
It doesn’t often rain where I live here in Southern California, so when it does, it’s a big deal. The weather is the top news story, over and above whatever else is going on in the world.
While most urban farmers hide indoors during our rare rainstorms, I like to go outside and enjoy the rain. Today I took it to the extreme — I mounted up Milagro and went out for a ride.
I roped my friend Michelle into it, and we saddled up in a light rain, wearing water-resistant jackets and riding helmets with visors. Milagro seemed un-phased as I tacked him up, but when I got on, it was another story. As I rode him down the driveway, he snorted and spooked at the shiny pavement. It was then I realized I’d never ridden him in the rain before.
As Michelle and I rode along the bridle paths, the rain continued to come down lightly. Puddles were already forming on the trail, and my horse, who usually goes out of his way to avoid getting his feet wet, had no choice. He was tense for the first 20 minutes, but after awhile, he settled into his usual relaxed state.
Michelle and I chatted, enjoying the solitude of the streets. No one was outside. The usual lawn mowers, leaf blowers and chainsaws were quiet today. Less cars than usual passed us as we rode, giving us the feeling we were the only ones outside in this weather.
The best part about our ride was definitely the smell. Eucalyptus trees are particularly fragrant in wet weather, and the air was filled with their aroma. The scent mingled with the smoky smell of firewood. No surprise, as a 55-degree-Fahrenheit temperature and rainy weather will cause Southern Californians to crank up the fireplace.
As we rode past the urban farms in our community, we saw donkeys, horses, goats and pigs huddled under shelters or deliberately standing in the rain. We wondered about all the horses that chose to get wet rather than stand under their metal coverings. It was good to see; it made us feel less guilty about forcing our mounts to get soaked as we strolled down the trail.
We rode for a good 90 minutes and were pretty much sopping by the time we got home. Michelle’s horse had steam rising off her coat, and Milagro was no longer a light dun but had turned nearly bay. The horses didn’t seem to care they were drenched — and neither did we. It was worth it.
Keeping farm animals in the city can be a real hoot. Follow freelance writer Audrey Pavia’s adventures in Southern California with a yard full of urban livestock, including horses, chickens, a Corgi and an urban barn cat. She somehow manages all these silly critters by herself while working full-time. And you thought “The Simple Life” was out there?