What is the only fever a doctor can’t cure? The same fever everyone gets after a long, bitter winter. Spring fever is a very common thing in North Dakota. After being cooped up in a house for seven months, everyone is waiting in anticipation for that first nice day of spring. Mother Nature does not want to spoil us of course by just letting us enjoy the sunshine; she likes those first couple of sunshine filled days to be some of the coldest. When you have a bad case of spring fever, especially when you are a teenager, you won't let the temperature stop you.
I woke up one spring morning to the sunlight illuminating up my room for the first time in a long time. All I could think about was going horseback riding. The only problem I could see for the day was to decide on which horse to ride. The final decision was on Cabella, the old reliable one. I figured that I better take the horse that was less likely to buck me off. Cabella, is a black Paso Fino with two back hind socks.
After I was done getting ready inside, I poked my head out the front door to the very unwelcomed cold air. Maybe it was too cold to go riding that day? Well, my mom and I had to at least give it a shot. After bundling up in all of our winter clothing available, we went outside to face the cold.
Getting the horse tacked up with bulky gloves was a little bit of a challenge, but eventually we were both able to get on and we started our first ride of the year. Riding along the gravel road was fine since most of the snow had already melted. The prairie road was entirely different though. The first snow drift we came across was a couple of inches deep, but Cabella crossed over it like there was nothing there. Then there was a second and third drift about a foot high. That was a little bit of a challenge, but the horses made it through. Then came the big drift, a three-foot deep five- or six-foot wide drift crossing our path. The spring fever was not going to let neither of us turn around and end our ride after 10 minutes, so I grabbed ahold of the saddle and Cabella’s mane and hoped we would make it through. He lunged and jumped and slowed down for a second before one final leap to the other side. My mom’s horse had a little easier time getting through because of Cabella's tracks he left behind.
On the go again, we did not experience much until we rode around by an old stock pond. The plan was to go up on the little hill off to the side where the snow did not look deep at all. As we rode up to the snow, it was no more than six-inches deep. A few more feet into the white blanket, and boom. Cabella sunk down into the snow up to his belly! He attempted to charge forward but could not get up and over the snow. There was a splattering and sloshing noise from the wet slush underneath the deep solid snow as his hooves jerked and slammed into the ground trying to push himself up. He stopped moving for me to get off and walk out of his way, so he could get unstuck. As I was sidestepping away from him, the snow under my left foot gave way, so I fell thigh deep into the snow. I had to let go of the reins to push myself up out of the snow. Once I got out of the “sink hole” of snow, I carefully walked over to the “short end”. Meanwhile, Cabella managed to get himself out of the snow, and I was grateful that he did not run me over while I was stuck off to the side of him. He walked over to my mom and her horse and stood patiently waiting for me to come back over to him. I dusted the snow of him and myself, and we decided that was enough riding for one spring day.
I still blame spring fever for all of the sticky situations that we had gotten into that day even though no one got hurt. No doctor in the world could have helped to get rid of my spring fever, so I had to go about it the hard way and get myself into trouble. From the cold to almost getting stuck in the snow on a horse and on foot, I was able to take the nagging feeling away for a little while by going outside in the sun. The decisions made that day were definitely not the greatest, but spring fever often leaves us making bad decisions.