Saturday, November 29, 2008

What To Do on a Nice Day...

Hmmmmm. That's a tough one. I suppose I could ride a horse.

I've given Lostine way too much of my attention lately, so it was Bombay's turn to go for a spin. I walked outside and was immediately stalked by my neighbors. I wasn't in the mood to be stared at, so I looked over at my other neighbor's place to see if I could ride over there. Nope. She had a truck back there and some kind of construction or digging was going on. On impulse, I jumped into the car to go see if the Fairgrounds were free.

The County Fairgrounds are just a straight shot up the road from me, about three or four miles. I was pleased to see that the place was deserted, so I had my pick of arenas to ride in. I hurried back home and hooked the truck up to the trailer. All the horses went on alert. Lostine was trotting back and forth, warming up for her evasion technique that Pony Girl knows so well with her boy. Bombay was trying to hide in the far corner of the paddock, and Gabbrielle was stretching her head over the fence saying, "Pick me! Pick me!"

I did contemplate bringing Gabbrielle along with Bombay, but I really needed another set of hands to assist me for that, and I was flying solo on this trip. Of course, Bombay refused to get in the trailer. I thought about lunging him first, but it was already 11:30 AM and the horses usually have their lunch at 12:30. I twirled the rope at him and got firm with my voice, and he finally stepped in. Then he crapped all over the place and I had to clean it up, which set me behind schedule another 5 minutes.

Bombay certainly has had enough experience in horse trailers that he should be relaxed in them, but he loses his bowels and paws the rubber mat repeatedly every time I close the bar on him. On the way there, one of those long chopper motorcycles pulled up next to us at a stop light, and Bombay had both the trailer and my truck rocking back and forth. It felt like we were in an earthquake. All the other drivers were looking at me with worried expressions.

By the time we got to the Fairgrounds, he'd fouled himself all the way down the back on his legs and was standing in it. I decided to just ignore the mess and get on with the ride. Each time I tried to put the saddle pad and saddle on his back, he scooted away. When I tried to put the bridle on, he lifted his head as high as it would go. When I tried to free lunge him, he trotted to the far end of the arena and stood in a corner to avoid working. He was being very naughty.

Across the road from the Fairgrounds is the animal shelter, so there were a lot of barking, howling dogs. Next to that is a place where people fly their remote controlled airplanes. There was a red one flying around that had an engine that rivaled the noise level of an ATV engine. Bombay was fixated on it.

I felt like I was missing something. Usually, when I travel with my horses, I forget to bring my step stool along to help me mount, but I did remember that this time. I had all my tack. I was imagining the round pen at home wondering what might still be in it that I needed. Nope. I seemed to have everything. Then I looked down at my shoes. I was wearing thin track shoes! I couldn't believe that I had just loaded and unloaded a horse from a trailer without my protective, steel-toe boots.

I worried about riding without my boots. For one thing, riding boots have heels that stop your entire foot from sliding through the stirrup. Track shoes don't. To make matters worse, my track shoes have a rubber gummy bottom that would stick to the stirrup. (I know what you're thinking -- just ride without the stirrups. Sorry, folks, I'm not that good of a rider yet.)

"Just don't fall off and you'll be okay," I told myself.

Note to self: Make a list of everything you need to bring on a ride and post it on the inside of the trailer's tack room door.

I lunged Bombay with a rope for a while just trying to get him to relax his body. He would relax, and then as soon as I would try to mount, he'd puff himself up really big and tall so that I couldn't swing my leg over. I was starting to feel peeved. I came for a ride, and my horse was doing everything he could to prevent me from riding. He walked off and I said WHOA, but he kept walking, so I smacked him on the chest with the riding crop. He skidded to a stop and looked at me like, "Oh, I forgot you were even here. So sorry."

Amazingly, I had no problems with him after that. We rode around the barrels in various patterns at all paces. There was more traffic than I'd ever seen on that road. Tons of pick ups, trailers, and other trucks going to and from the dump. They were revving their engines, speeding, and making crashing noises when they hit all the potholes in the road, and Bombay didn't spook once! It was all background noise to him.

I noticed that a lot of people watched me as they drove past, but no one honked. I think it is because the Fairgrounds are located in a rural neighborhood where a lot of people own horses anyway. The tourists coming in from the big cities have no reason to take that road, and they seem to be the ones, along with bored teenagers, who most often honk at horses.

Bombay balked getting back into the trailer. I stepped out of it and walked to his hip with the meanest body language I could muster up, and that horse RAN into the trailer. I laughed so hard. He likes to jerk me around until he realizes that I mean business, and then he shows his true colors of being a coward.

When we got home at 1:30 PM, the horses had their lunch a little late, but you gotta do what you gotta do to ride when there's so little daylight. Of course, as soon as we got back, my neighbors ran out to stare at me. I hosed out the trailer, because by then it contained at least three dumps, not to mention the two that Bombay left at the Fairgrounds. Sometimes I think he likes to leave a pile just so that he can have something to jump. I was riding him at the posting trot and (just to jerk me around, I'm sure) he veered to the side and aimed himself directly at one of his piles of manure, and then jumped it and launched into the canter. What fun.

It actually was fun, but I couldn't let him know that because he's supposed to be doing what I'm telling him to do, and I was telling him to trot around it at the time. I've got one more glorious day of vacation. Until tomorrow...


Laughing Orca Ranch said...

Sounds like once you got Bombay to focus, take you seriously and respect you, it was 'business as usual' and fun, too. I'm glad that Bombay behaved himself once you got to work in the arena. And I'm happy you enjoyed your ride time.

Baby Doll also poops when she's stressed or worried. In my neighbor's trailer she not only pooped, and got the poo stuck against the door, but then she squashed her butt right in it. Yuk!

So, what I really want to see is your 'mean' look, the one that caused so much fear from Bombay. lol!

New Mexico

dp said...

Haha. I thought you were going to say "there is an animal shelter across from the fair grounds so I took him over and left him there". I threaten our dogs with such treatment all of the time.

Sounds like a good day!

Nuzzling Muzzles said...

Lisa - One time Bombay pooped on the window sill behind him. I thought perhaps I should just open the window and let him poop right out of it. I'm sure the driver behind me would love that.

DP - LOL. That would have made a better story.

C-ingspots said...

NM, So glad to hear that you're enjoying your free time. Very happy to hear that you disappointed your nosey neighbors and went to the fairgounds and did your riding there. Good for you!!

Pony Girl said...

Hee hee, I had to laugh at your "Lostine was trotting back and forth, warming up for her evasion technique" comment! ;)So true!
Sounds like you had a good ride, despite all the manure piles! Our horses always get nervous and poo in the trailer. My sister's mare does it the second she steps in.
Hope you had a great turkey day!

lytha said...

i'm curious what the neighbors tried to feed your horses this year. how did it go?

~lytha in germany
ps why do they call it black friday?

Nuzzling Muzzles said...

C-ing Spots - I am having a good time. I am so happy that we were blessed with good riding weather this holiday.

Pony Girl - I thought you might enjoy that comment.

Lytha - Amazingly, all but one of my neighbor's celebrated Thanksgiving elsewhere this year. It was cold, so I had to leave the horses' blankets on, and I separated them into different pens. Two of them were back away from the street. When visitors started showing up to the one neighbor's house (this is one of our good neighbors, though they do bring their grandchild over to feed and pet my horses on the weekends), I went outside to do chores and keep an eye on the one horse that could be reached through the fence. As far as I know, no one tried to feed her.

I believe the day after Thanksgiving is called Black Friday for the merchants. It means good business. Most people do their Christmas shopping on that day, which helps merchants get out of the red (bad economic zone) into the black (good economic zone). To me, black always sounds bad, because I associate it with death and mourning.

Andrea said...

Sounds like quite an adventure. You sound like me, you get going and get there and you look down and you have the wrong shoes. Sigh....

I rode the other night with my crocs on, and no sturrips. Talk about a work out!

I am glad Bombay ended up being a good boy. Sounds like those lessons paid off.

Fantastyk Voyager said...

I am so glad that you had a good ride today. It has snowed, been cold, and gotten very windy this 4 day weekend, so, wimp that I am, I haven't ridden at all.
Black Friday- yes, I always think mourning, but for stores, it means "in the black', profits, as opposed to "in the red", losses, which I expect a lot of stores will see this season.

Jenn said...

ROFL! He was testing your leadership skills and you passed! They do that in a herd, too. Constantly testing the skills of the top dogs, just to assure themselves they chosen good leaders and those leaders they can be trusted to lead and protect the followers.

I had a mare who not only lost complete control of her bowels every time she got on the trailer, she also lost at least 30 pounds and stood splayed legged and SHAKING the entire trip. Poor thing was paralyzed about traveling in the trailer and no matter what kind of trailer I put her in, the reaction was the same. But she always jumped on like it wasn't a thing. Silly horses.

Nuzzling Muzzles said...

Andrea - You rode with Crocs on? That's outrageous! You deserve some kind of award for that!

FV - I know that weather system hit your area, and I was hoping everyone would have riding weather this holiday.

Jenn - When the horses start shaking and sweating is when I really worry. Are they going to pass out? Do I need to run to the store and get some calming paste or powder? It's like their whole body goes into shock out of pure fear.