Sunday, April 19, 2015

Rock 'N Me

The neighborhood was quiet and with it being Sunday, there were no power company employees working along the trails.  We had the desert to ourselves, save the fly or bee that photobombed this next pic...

On our way home, Rock startled and came to a stop.  I looked around and saw my husband up ahead raking weeds behind a bush.  I pushed Rock forward, and he got only so close and then braked and said, "Uh uh.  Ain't going there.  Something behind bush."

I told my husband to say something, so Rock would know it was him, and he waved.  I guess Rock recognized the wave and put it into gear again.  I've been working on not letting Rock stop and gawk, but in this case we were about to cross a paved road, and I wanted him to be totally comfortable with the man behind the bush before pushing him forward.  Usually, if something is going on in the neighborhood that could result in my horse spooking in the street, I just dismount and lead him across, because I don't want to find out how much it hurts to hit asphalt from a height of five to nine feet above the ground.

Rock gave a few big yawns after the ride.

Cleaned Out

When an odd thought keeps popping into my head repeatedly, and it's not logical, I've learned to take notice, because it usually makes sense later on.  For example, I've had this big ball horse toy idea on my brain ever since I saw that huge ball at the dump.  I thought, "What I need is a Toys 'R Us store.  They carry everything."

Then one day I went shopping for something else, and lo and behold, there was this Toys 'R Us store in a location I drive past all the time, but for some reason I've never noticed it before.  I don't know how you can miss a store that big, but I did.  I stopped there and shopped for a different type of ball for the horses, but didn't find one that would work.  The next day I was in the feed store and my eyes were drawn to the beach ball toy with a handle that I already bought for the horses some time last year.  It was still in perfect condition and probably the best purchase I've made regarding horse toys.  My gut was urging me to buy another one.  I thought to myself, "Why?  They already have one.  Why would I need to buy a second one?"

Still, I felt as if something was urging me to get one.  It made no logical sense to me, so I didn't.  Also, my husband had just picked up that playground ball for the horses, and that should tide them over for a while.  They had more toys than most horses.  No reason to get more.

Then one morning I was gazing out the window and it suddenly occurred to me that the horse paddock looked bare.  Where were all the horses' toys?

I could see the new playground ball, but that was it.  Then I remembered that one day a couple of weeks ago I found the piece of drip hose the horses had been playing with for three years lying on the ground outside of the barn broken in half.  It was lying next to the dog bowl where the ravens let their meals marinate, so I figured one of the ravens must have picked it up, flew it out of the paddock, and broken it in half with its beak.  It seemed like an odd thing for the ravens to suddenly start doing, especially since that piece of drip hose had by lying in the paddock for three years, but I tossed it in the trash and didn't give it a second thought.

The ripped up coat that the horses play with was drying out in the sun by the hay barn, because they kept dropping it into Lostine's water trough.  But still something else was missing.  Then it hit me -- their beach ball with the handle was gone.  I walked down to the barn and looked in all the water troughs and feed barrels.  It wasn't there.  I thought back to the last time I did see it.  I thought I had seen it three days before when I was cleaning stalls, and the ball kept getting in my way, so I threw it.  It landed in Lostine's stall, and when I needed to clean her stall, I think I threw it over the railing into the paddock.

I walked the perimeter of the paddock, figuring the horses dropped or tossed it over the fence, but it was nowhere to be found.  Then I remembered the one time I found that very same ball out in the desert while horseback riding.  I thought the neighborhood kids stole it and were playing with it out there, but Christine said that coyotes were known to make off with horse balls and drag them out in the desert.  Both explanations were believable, but I was skeptical that the coyotes would squeeze under the barn railings to get into the paddock.  The paddock fence is 5 to 6 feet high with no gaps or holes where a coyote could get in, so the coyotes would have had to crawl under the barn gate and pass by the horses to get to the ball.  I've never seen a coyote go in there during the day.  They usually see the horses, and cut a wide wake around them.

I remembered that the other night I did hear coyotes in the back yard whooping it up, but I also heard kids' voices down in the arroyo.  I guess I was too busy or distracted to investigate both incidents.  I searched the arroyo for the ball, but didn't find it.  Then I searched the desert, and didn't find it there either.  I don't know why it bummed me out so much.  I guess I'm just feeling frustrated that when I find some toy that the horses enjoy, something or someone has to come into our yard and take it away from us.  Whether it be people or animals, I'm still irritated.  Those horse balls aren't cheap.

Shortly after returning from my hunt for the beach ball with a handle, I discovered that the horses managed to already shred the brand new bouncy playground ball.  Now they had nothing to play with other than the shredded coat, which I don't want to let them play with anymore, because they keep making the water dirty by dipping it in the water trough, pulling it out, dropping it in the sand, picking it up, and dropping it and all that sand back into the water trough.  Bombay likes to get the coat wet, and then swing it in circles to spray water all over the other horses.  It would be funny if I didn't have to keep bailing out that water trough, dumping, scrubbing and refilling it.

At any rate, you can see why I'm not willing to pay a lot of money for horse toys.  If the horses aren't breaking them, someone or something is stealing them or breaking them.

I'm sure it's just a coincidence that my paddock got cleaned out of toys the horses have had for years all within a couple of weeks when snowbirds and campers have been occupying the neighborhood, but I can't help be suspicious about it all.  These people sit up on the hill above my back yard watching my horses play.  Rock and Bombay play-fight over the toys.  Maybe some busybody decided to take their toys away to prevent fights.  Who knows?  I've seen people do stranger things.  If there's one thing I know for sure, it's that most people don't hold the same respect for each other's space that I do.  The sad thing is that when the horses don't have toys to be creative with, they actually do start fighting.  Rock wound up with two hoof cuts above his knees this week.  It was totally his fault, because he kept harassing Bombay after Bombay told him to stop.  At any rate, I prefer to spend my time riding horses and not tending wounds.

The ravens are really becoming major pests.  They kill birds, squirrels, and rabbits every day, rip up the body parts, and drop them into the water troughs.  I have to bail the water out and clean the troughs so that the horses don't get botulism.  At first, the ravens just left carcasses in the dog bowl, so I stopped filling the dog bowl with water.  Then they started dumping their meat in the outdoor water trough, so I moved it indoors.  Now the ravens are flying into the barn and leaving their kill in the indoor water troughs.  I decided I was better off dealing with a dirty dog bowl, so I guess I'll have to start filling that again and count my blessings.  I hate to waste a whole trough full of water.  We live in the desert and need every drop we can get.  Tonight I had to dump and clean out two troughs.  That's 140 gallons of water sacrificed.

I prefer not to waste more of my time chasing off ravens and keeping an eye out for what the heck keeps happening to the horse toys, but I'm tempted to throw another toy out there just as bait.  I really would like to solve this mystery.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Play Ball

I've been looking for one of those super large bouncy balls for kids, thinking I'd throw it to the horses and it would be too big for them to stomp on, but they could kick it around.  However, all the kids' balls I found were very thin and flimsy, and not even a quarter of the size of the ones I recall from my childhood.  I remember walking into toy stores and seeing huge cages filled with such balls, but I guess they take up too much space for the toy stores to carry now.  I don't want to spend the ridiculous amount of money that equestrians are expected to pay for ball toys made specifically for horses.  So, my husband brought home one of those little bouncy playground balls, which is stronger than the balls I was considering.

Rock whispering sweet nothings to Gabbrielle and nibbling on her neck while she reaches for the ball.

It must be love.

Rock sticking his tongue out like the ball tasted funny.

They dug their teeth into it, but weren't able to pop it... yet.

I threw the ball around, bounced it off each of the horses, and rolled it under their legs, but couldn't get a single spook out of them.

I was picking up the horse's feet and swinging their legs forward to kick the ball, hoping they'd catch on, but everyone just kept yawning.  I guess it was too close to their bed time.

I suspect that between the campers slamming doors and the coyotes howling all night, the horses didn't get much sleep yesterday.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015


I know.  That's an odd title for a post, but it fits with what has been on my mind lately.  Just yesterday I was taking Stewie out to do his business, which is not always and easy task despite him being potty trained.  He still has this dependency on having other dogs with him when he goes outside, because in his mind they guard for predators while he poops.  For some reason, he hasn't quite made the connection that I, his human, do even a better job guarding for predators, so he has nothing to worry about.

Every once in a while I insist that he take care of business on his own without a guard dog.  He usually runs from the leash and tries to drag Midge by the ear toward the door.  I got him outside without her yesterday, and he did take care of business, but what really impressed me was that the air conditioning unit turned on right beside him and he ignored it.  For the longest time last year, I could not get this dog to go potty if that air conditioning unit was running.  I had to train myself to turn the thermostat off on our way out the door.

In fact, every little thing distracted him, and I would loose patience, take him indoors, and he'd immediately make a mess on the carpet.  So, it felt good to finally be making progress with this dog.  Thinking back, I don't know how I kept from going completely insane during that potty training period.  I was telling my husband this story when something came on the TV that showed people changing diapers.  He said, "It seems like we were just changing diapers yesterday.  This really brings back memories."

I looked at the TV, and sure enough, all the movements and tactical feelings of changing a diaper came flooding back into my mind.  Then I started wondering how we survived that with two babies.  Yet parents do it every day.  Over the past twenty years, give or take, there has been this trend of grandparents raising grandchildren, because the parents need a joint income to pay the bills, but can't afford daycare.  I always wonder how these grandparents do it, and how more kids don't end up in hospitals because of people who don't necessarily have all their faculties taking care of babies and children.  I'm just middle aged, yet I space out a lot, forget things, drop things, fall down a lot, am on pain killers most of the time, and if I don't get my sleep, my entire body protests, leaving me sick, run down, and grumpy.  I just hope my kids don't have kids and leave them at my place for overnights.

Sometimes when dealing with the dogs and horses, I feel like I'm (symbolically) changing diapers in the middle of the night, always having to sacrifice something in order to get them through some phase that disrupts my life.  And just when I think I've nipped the problem in the bud, it starts up again, like Gabbrielle pooping in my face every time I walk into her stall.  That's her way of saying, "Stay out.  This is my hay.  If you come in here, you have to step in my poop to get to it."

I was telling my farrier about that behavior, and he refused to believe that horses can be that manipulative.  He said that if I moved her food trough over by the gate, she would probably start pooping at the back of her stall because she wouldn't want it near her food.  My husband did move the food trough to the gate, and she's still pooping in the entrance.  She backs her butt up into me and lifts her tail while I'm walking through the gate.  So, I have to start remembering to grab a whip before approaching her stall to get her turned around and facing me.

Anyway, while I was marveling over Stewie getting down to business despite the air conditioner turning on next to him, I remembered what a pain it was having to deal with those people camping in my next door neighbor's back yard last year.  The man was super hyper and kept running between the camper and the house, slamming doors all the way, which distracted my dogs from doing the deed outside.  Then they'd start barking at him, and I'd have to drag them inside.  I spent that entire month scrubbing the carpet, because all three dogs couldn't concentrate on getting their basic needs taken care of outdoors.

With the big trucks dumping equipment, drilling holes, and raising power poles along the bridle trails, I thought, "Well, I can still ride the horses in my arena and round pen at home."

Within just a few hours of me having that thought, those campers showed up at my next door neighbor's house, and they positioned their car and camper in the shape of an L, like circling the wagons for protection and privacy.  The other snowbirds on the other side of them have no air conditioning, so they sit outdoors on the porch in the shade all day long just a few feet from where the campers are camping.  The way they set things up, the bay windows of their camper are overlooking my round pen and arena.  So, there goes my privacy, and I also get to deal with my horses being distracted from their training by every little thing those people do.  I always know when we are being watched, because the horses stop their feet and pop their heads up to see what's going on.  Then I become invisible to them, and if I want them to respect my requests for them to keep moving, I have to utilize a riding crop, which usually gets them bucking.  So, I can't have a pleasant ride anywhere these days.

I was going to take Gabbbrielle out to inspect the power company's equipment via halter, but Bombay asked nicely if I would take him instead.  I thought, "Why not?  Bombay is just as spooky as she is, so he'll need to be desensitized to it too."

There this one pile of pipes and poles and metal that is around a blind corner on the trail.  I took him there first, figuring he'd jump at the sight of them since it was something different that wasn't there before.  But he didn't react at all.  They put yellow tape around the perimeter of where they've been drilling holes, so I stood him next to the tape while the wind was shaking and flapping it.  I expected him to jump and snort, but instead he wandered over to the poles, sniffed them, and upon realizing that they were wood, he tried to take a bite out of them!  Ewwww.  They were covered in tar.

I thought, "Well, since he's not afraid, maybe I should lunge him and see if he'll jump the logs."

But then I realized that since two logs were lying side by side, he could get his leg stuck in between them, and it wasn't worth the risk.  Today I'll take some other horses out there and see if they handle it as well as Bombay did.  I've learned the hard way, though, that just because the horses aren't afraid of something when I lead them past it doesn't mean they won't be afraid of it when I ride them past it.  They always have more confidence in me when I walk in front of them or beside them than when I'm on their backs.  I think part of it is that they can't see me on their backs to read me, and they feel more out of control when someone is holding onto reins that are connected to a bit in their mouths.  Bringing the subject back to diapers, I feel like I'm taking the horses back to kindergarten by hand-walking them out on the bridle trails to desensitize them to all of the power company's equipment.  But I can see they have come a long way since last year and the year before that.

Last week I had a bone density test run on myself, and am still waiting for the results.  I know that I have been developing arthritis in various joints.  It seems that every few weeks another joint starts aching.  My mother had osteoporosis and one simple misstep could result in turning her bones to dust, so if I start losing my bone density on top of the arthritis, I may have to quit riding horses.  I doubt that will happen any time soon, but as is, my rides are getting shorter and shorter.  Of course, the best defense against osteoporosis is exercise, so I'm still hiking and mountain biking every day, at least until my boots or shoes start rubbing blisters on my feet or my knees and hips start screeching in pain.  This is why I always tell young people to ride horses while they are young, because while there is a good chance they will have more time to ride horses when they retire, there is no guarantee their bodies will let them.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Bump in the Road

It seems the obstacles just keep on coming regarding my ability to ride horses as often as I would like.  If it's not the weather, it's my health.  If it's not my health, it's someone else's health.  If it's not someone else's health, it's me being too busy with other things.  If it's not me being too busy with other things, it's the neighbors.  If it's not the neighbors, it's construction...

And they all tend to string themselves out, one right after the other.  I feel like a motorist who has been stopped at a stop sign waiting for a break in traffic so that I can merge onto a main highway, and that break just never seems to come.  So, then I start thinking that maybe I just need to gas it and cut someone off, otherwise I'll be stuck here on this side street forever.  But then that is risky, because I could cause an accident, and if I'm hurt or tied up in a lawsuit for hurting someone else, I can't be going where I want to go anyway.  So, I just sit here and wait for my break.  Ever feel like that?

If only it would start raining when I'm sick and the horses are injured and I'm busy running errands while sick and the neighbors are having a party in the rain and the construction workers are working in the rain, then I'd be happy because all the annoying stuff happened all at once.  You know what I'm saying?  But, of course, no one wants to work or party or get out and do obnoxious things in the rain.  They all wait for the best horseback riding days.

So, this morning I was looking forward to going on a trail ride, thinking today was the day to take young, spooky Gabbrielle out without a buddy horse to use as a pacifier.   I was feeling good, both mentally and physically up to it.  I jumped in the shower, and when I got out, the whole house was vibrating from some low rumble going on outside.  Damn it!

I figured some neighbor brought in another slew of tractors and dump trucks, because that seems to be the theme of this year in my neighborhood.  Everybody's changing the topography of their land after the big flood last summer.  I looked around, but didn't see any trucks out back or in my neighbors' yards.  But I could still clearly hear the rumbling of very large engines, and the horses were agitated.  Then I heard voices yelling and turned to see power company trucks and workers out on the main bridle trails.  Didn't we just go through this last spring or fall or something?  I thought they were done replacing power poles.

The trucks eventually drove off in a caravan, so I thought that was my chance to take my trail ride.  However, instinct told me to bicycle out on the trails first to find out what those power company workers were doing.  It turned out that they've been busy...

It was a good thing I didn't just hop on Gabbrielle and ride her out, because I'm sure she would have spun and run toward home as soon as she saw all this strange stuff along the bridle trails.  I can't ride out her trot and canter.  She's just too off balance, so I would have been doing one of my flying dismounts and hoping for a soft landing.  I'm considering calling my old horse trainer who has ridden her at the faster gaits and is familiar with her spooky runaway behavior.

It turned out that several of my retired neighbors hiked and bicycled out onto the bridle trails to see what was going on too, so there was more traffic than usual.  One guy was out there inspecting the boxes of parts, and when I rode up from behind him on my bike, he bolted -- (pun intended).  He acted like he got caught stealing nuts and bolts, but I knew it was more a matter of me catching him being nosy.  He was wearing a big floppy sunhat and carrying a walking stick.  I know if I rode up on him crouching down digging through the boxes when I was on any of my horses, and then they saw him spring up and take off like that, they would have had a heart attack.

So, it looks like I'll be spending the next few weeks desensitizing the horses rather than enjoying pleasant, relaxed trail rides.  I'm starting to think that the summer heat is my friend, because its the only thing that makes all these people go away so that I can ride the bridle trails without man-made surprises popping up all around me.  In the meantime, I'll be working on getting my horses to look less like this...

...(startled), and more like this...

(dum de dummm, just sitting her chewing on my toenails.  Nothing to fear.)

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Rattlesnake Photo Shoot

It was a cool, cloudy day, so I sat on the porch to read.  I looked up to see purple flowers on our Jacaranda tree.  I went inside to get my camera, and on the way back out onto the porch, I looked up to see this:

The wasp kept re-positioning itself as I moved around it taking pictures, so it could keep a close eye on me.  Creepy.  I didn't need a wasp's nest above my head when I sit on the porch, so we had to get rid of it.  I  walked down the back steps to get a picture of the purple flowers on the tree...

Then I heard a knocking sound and got a picture of this bird pounding away at the one saguaro cactus in our yard...

On my way up the back steps, I spotted this...

 Here's a picture of the Lantana in relation to the steps...

The rattlesnake was almost all the way out from under the Lantana when I was walking down and up the steps.  It could have easily bitten me.  Because every spring I almost step on a rattlesnake in that same spot, I've gotten into the habit of looking around the corner before stepping off the bottom step.  However, because the purple flowers were to the left, I sailed on around the corner without checking to my right, which is the direction I usually walk in.

It froze in the same spot for quite some time, so we went inside the house to give it a chance to move along.  I happened to catch it crossing our back drive.  It was about three feet long.

Pretty tail...

Snakes prefer to hug walls so that they will be less likely spotted by predators...

Seven rows on its rattle...

It kept slithering into holes in the rock wall, and then turning around and coming out the same hole...

See how well it blends into our rock wall?  If you aren't paying attention, they are hard to see.

It held still and looked at us while we followed it, but it never coiled up or rattled at us.  I was making my presence known, hoping to discourage it from hanging out around my place.  Last I saw it, it was headed toward the house that's up for sale.  I suspect that when someone moves into that place, they'll find a lot of rattlesnakes, because they like to go where it's quiet.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Getting Creative

We always keep a supply of store-bought water on hand in case our well breaks, runs dry or we lose electricity.  However, those plastic jugs don't last long.  If they sit around for more than a year, they spring leaks.  I noticed that one of our jugs was only half full.  I picked it up, and sure enough, there was water damage on the wood shelf it had been sitting on, so I tossed it outside.

This morning I poured the remaining water into a water trough.  Rock and Gabbrielle were fascinated with what I was doing.  Rock wandered up and stuck his nose in the stream of water I was pouring from the jug.  When it was empty, I dropped the plastic container into the water trough to see what Rock would do.

At first he mouthed at it, trying to get a grip on it, but it just kept slipping away, so I set it upright and he grabbed the handle...

That allowed him to pull it up out of the tank.

He eventually decided it was more fun to bang it against the sides of the trough, and soon he was making "music."

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Today's Horsey Adventures

I tired of guarding for trespassers pretty quick, and wanted to get some exercise.  I debated between taking a bicycle ride or a hike.  I wanted to go far, and my knees usually start aching as soon as I have to pedal uphill on a bicycle, so I opted for the hike.  As an afterthought, I brought Bombay with me to keep me company.

As we were walking up the driveway, the snowbird neighbors fired up the engine on the old truck they keep parked in front of their place year round.  The truck breaks down when it is not used, so every spring when they vacation here, they have to get it running again.  The engine revving goes on for weeks.  I don't understand what they are doing, because the engine is obviously running, but they never actually drive the truck.  I guess they just sit in it and press the accelerator repeatedly to flush buildup out of the lines and engine.  Regardless, it was bad timing.  Bombay halted and went on alert, then tried to run back to the barn.

Nope.  Not going to happen.  I forced him to walk past their noisy truck and out into the street where we ran into some strangers parked in the middle of the street in front of the house that is for sale.  People were just sitting in the car with their doors open.  I considered going over there and warning them that they are stopped on a blind hill, and if my neighbor comes roaring up from his house in his diesel truck, they will be flattened like a pancake, because he won't be expecting a little car to be just sitting there in his path.  But they looked like they were about to move on, so I minded my own business.

I led Bombay along a trail that the power company had been working on.  They set out equipment and little pink flags that wave in the wind and mark where they plan to dig and install new power poles.  Bombay acted like none of it was there.  He just plodded along beside me like he was napping in between steps.  He got me giggling because he kept trying to rest his nose on my shoulder.

On the way back, I saw movement off in the distance ahead of us.  It looked like a man galloping a horse toward us.  I sighed, knowing I'd have my work cut out for me.  We were so far from home, and I knew I would have to keep control of a jigging horse on a lead rope for at least a mile once Bombay spotted that galloping horse.  Then I remembered, April is about the time when the shirtless man on the galloping horse with the dog off leash takes over the desert in the middle of the day.  He's my nemesis, and Bombay is the worst horse to have to handle when I run into him.

I just kept walking like nothing was going on, because I knew that if I tried to cut across to a different trail to avoid a head on with this guy, then Bombay would start looking around to see what was up.  He came galloping through the bushes right at us, Bombay threw his head up, froze, and started shaking.  The rider was looking like he was veering off the trail to gallop around us, but I think when he saw Bombay's state of mind, he slowed his horse to a walk.

He said, "Aren't you supposed to be on top of your horse?"

That question is getting to be as predictable and obnoxious as when people walk up to Gary Coleman or Todd Bridges and say, "What'cha talkin' bout, Willis?"

I said, "No, I'm out for a hike.  This is my friend.  He's helping me hike."

I meant to say he was keeping me company on my hike.  What I wanted to say was that had I been on top of my horse, I would not have been any more the way the man came up on us so fast and scared him.

All of the sudden that equipment and those little pink flags we walked past earlier became terrifying to Bombay, all because the galloping horse set off his nerves.  He kept balking and pulling back, but I have to give him credit, because he didn't jig, and he did settle down faster than usual.

On the way back across the street, those people were still sitting in their car in the street.  I don't know why home shoppers don't just get an agent to let them into the house and give them a tour if they are that interested.  What are they going to learn about the place sitting in front of it for an hour?  If they were watching the neighborhood, they needed to be more stealthy.  I thought maybe they were waiting for an agent, but as soon as I finished leading Bombay across the street, they drove off.

At dinner time, I spent an hour cleaning up manure and filling water troughs.  The ravens keep dropping dead animal parts into both the dog bowl and the outdoor water trough for the horses.  I'm tired of constantly having to clean that outdoor water trough to get rid of botulism, so I moved it into Gabbrielle's stall.  That meant she would have two water troughs.

However, Gabbrielle was not happy about that extra water trough and she refused to go into her stall.  She commandeered Bombay's stall instead.  I kicked her out of his stall and she started to walk into hers.  Bombay walked into his and I began closing his gate.  What happened next happened so fast that it was like an explosion.  I wasn't totally aware of what was going on.  I just knew that something bad was happening and my instinct screamed at me to drop the gate and jump out of the way.

In retrospect, what happened was that Gabbrielle stepped on the hose when walking into her stall.  That caused the hose to hiss, which frightened her and she jumped back.  Upon releasing the flow, water hit the end of the spray nozzle so hard that the entire hose flipped up out of the water trough and sprayed Gabbrielle directly in the face, which she hates.  She spun around, hitting her gate and sending it flying into the wall panel.  There was this metal on metal explosion and Bombay spun away from his food trough and would have plowed me down had I not jumped out of the way.  He hit his gate which caused a second metal explosion, and both horses took off at a gallop across the paddock.

Both Rock and Lostine just kept on eating like nothing was going on.  At least I've got two level headed horses.  Two out of four isn't bad.

I looked up to see two men standing on the roof of my neighbors' house staring at me to see if I was okay.  We made quite a ruckus.  Of course, the hose had to fall on this place where I had spent hours building up a wall of sand to prevent water from flooding the barn.  So, now I have to rebuild that wall of sand before the next rainstorm.  It's really amazing how quickly things can get out of control where horses are concerned.