Thursday, March 12, 2009

Queen of the Universe

Every spring I wait for a weekend that contains warm dry weather, and I call in sick for work one or two days around that weekend in order to get some time to fertilize and reseed my pasture. I am not a deceitful person, so I don't like calling in sick in order to work, but the company has rules about so much advance notice for so many days of vacation time, and I have always been very unfortunate when it comes to scheduling vacations. It almost always rains or snows on the days I take off from work. My annoying neighbor also usually manages to schedule something at the same time that ruins my vacation, such as construction around my horses or loud, obnoxious visitors who take over the neighborhood and drive my horses to the looney bin.

So, I just have to wait for the right day and grab it. Today was that day, or so I thought. I looked out the window first thing in the morning and saw it was going to be a beautiful day. I also noted that my neighbors' main car was not in their driveway. Any time that I can get a few hours without my neighbors, I run outside and do yard work and whatnot, enjoying the peace and quiet and privacy of not being watched.

Unfortunately, as soon as I called in sick, my neighbors showed up and the man dragged all his power tools out onto his driveway and spent the majority of the day out there screeching and pounding and killing me with his construction noise pollution. My father was an engineer, and he loved to make things out of wood, only he had the courtesy to keep his power tools in the back of his garage and even closed the garage door in order to create a buffer for the noise, thus sparing the neighbors from having to share his hobby. This guy who lives next door to me can't see past the nose on his face, and all he knew was that he wanted to enjoy the warm, sunny day too, oblivious to the fact that I had taken the day off to work outdoors and train my horses.

Have you ever tried to train a horse in the middle of a construction zone? Let's just say there is a lot competing for your horse's attention, so the lessons can't be terribly productive. The only bright side I can find in this is that it is helping desensitize my horses to loud noises. I don't know if I will ever be desensitized to them, though. I moved out to the country 20 years ago, because I wanted peace and quiet.

You'd think most construction workers would choose some other neighborhood to live and work in besides one filled with horses. Apparently, the county gave this guy a license to build cabinets out of his home without consulting his neighbors. Anything for a dime. My county has never been good about looking out for the best interests of its residents. With the number business licenses they have handed out to people in my neighborhood, it may as well just be deemed a business district.

Anyway, by mid-afternoon my neighbor finally packed up and left. I debated over which horse to work with. Gabbrielle was on pins and needles, I had recently ridden Bombay, and if any horse was going to give me a hard time, it would be Lostine. I was at home alone and didn't want to take risks, but I wanted to use the time to get some horse training in. I chose Lostine.

I saddled her up and lunged her in the round pen. Just as I was about to catch her to mount, a loud truck turned up my street. The driver wasn't even trying to go the posted 10 MPH, but gunned his engine long and hard as if in a drag race. All three horses stampeded in the same direction -- the one I was standing in. I jumped out of the way as Lostine charged me. To make matters worse, the driver HONKED at me despite my horses stampeding!

It was my hay farmer delivering a load to my neighbor. I was shocked at his insensitivity. Had I been in the saddle when he drove up, I'm sure I wouldn't be in the saddle anymore. I was ready to ride, but knew it wouldn't be safe until he left. The problem is that my hay farmer likes to talk... and talk... and talk. I waited... and waited... and waited for him to drive back down the street, and gave up. I mounted my horse.

Of course, that very second he decided to leave. I quickly dismounted while Gabbrielle and Bombay bolted. Fortunately, Lostine stood for me while I held her reins. Once he was gone, I mounted again and worked on a variety of maneuvers. Lostine was choppy and difficult to control. I was just blaming it on her being out of practice, and I was trying to be patient.

However, when we moved up from the posting trot to the lope, she launched me into the air with the biggest buck I've ever experienced from her. I came down twisted and sideways with one foot out of the stirrup. Usually, she just crow-hops into the lope and that's the end of her hissy fit, but this time she continued to buck while loping.

I remember thinking, "I'm going down," but then memories of my broken arm and thoughts of Lisa and her horked up knee ran through my mind, and I said, "Nope. I'm fighting to stay on."

I worked my body this way and that and eventually righted myself and brought Lostine to a halt, then I let loose on her with my "bad horse" voice. My timing for the reprimand was awful, as she did what I said by stopping, but I couldn't punish her while I was trying to regain my seat. She was MAD. She hunched her back up and was ready to send me to the moon.

I worked on pushing her forward into the walk. She fought me, so I petted her on the neck to let her know the fight is over, and she walked forward. I continued working on all paces, whoa, and side passing for a while until I felt that the bucking incident was way in the past, and then I dismounted. I have to go through this with her every spring. She gets a few weeks or months off from riding, and she thinks she's the queen of the universe.

15 comments:

Leah Fry said...

Wow, what a day you had. I'm so glad to hear you're okay. I'm afraid I'd have to get into it if I had neighbors like that. We're lucky not to have any close ones to have to deal with.

sue said...

Oh wow... I am so sorry that your neighbors won't be more "neighborly"... I'll tell you, I don't miss the ones that we left behind. Glad you weren't hurt and major congrats for staying in that saddle!!!! Days like that do make me wonder .."I have horses because????" and even though the lesson didn't go as planned, you have to be pleased with what you were able to do..... hang in there....

fernvalley01 said...

Ride em cowgirl!!!
Sounds like an interesting day. The noise with the nieghbors must be irritating, but you could be right the horses should be less sensitive to odd noises from it . Tell old Qweenie there not to forget who is the boss!

Fantastyk Voyager said...

Oh my!! I'm glad you managed to ride her out.
That is the time to get MAD. Pull her head up and stay on! Then trot long and hard, with some light contact on the reins, until she's tired. Horses don't seem to buck from the extended trot as much as from a canter. I guess it's the leg movement.

Show her that she's lost her crown to you.

I don't want you to get hurt!

Andrea said...

Uhg, what a day, and those neighbors!! I always love it when my father in law feeds all the horses while I am riding just one horse. Then my one horse just wants to go back to the barn and eat. Neighbors.....sigh.....

Girl, look at you staying on your bucking mare!! That is so crazy that she is so spunky at her age. The queen, LOL!! I am glad you stayed on, that is great. I am glad you finally got in some horse time.

Oh, and I hope you are feeling better, with your sick day and all!! Cough Cough, :)

Cheryl Ann said...

Oh, my! That's what I'm scared of, too..further injuring my back while on Beauty! I think I'd be like you, though, and hang on for dear life! Glad you made it off okay! At my age, I really don't wish to hit the ground!

Nuzzling Muzzles said...

Oh yeah, I forgot to mention in my post that the full moon is still in effect. Not only did I almost get bucked off, but my husband had a deer run out in front of his car when he was leaving for work. He slammed on his brakes and just missed it. What was so bizarre about it is that it happened just one block from our house, and we never get deer this far out in the valley. They usually stick to the foothills.

Laura said...

Yikes! What a wild day - good for you for sticking with those bucks! Glad you didn't fall...

Your neighbours are the strangest people I have ever heard of. It is a bit surprising that your horses aren't a bit more used to all of the noise and commotion...

Shirley said...

Cowgirl up! Good job riding out the buck! Anytime I think my horse might buck I am ready to go down one rein and bring its head up and back to my knee, it usually keeps me in the saddle- I'm lousy at riding bucks!
It seeems that you have no joy in the place you live, is moving an option for you? I sure would be ready to head to a more secluded place if I had neighbours in my face like that!

ranchette said...

Glad you landed back in the saddle. Like Fantastyk Voyage I've had good success with punishing bucking with lots of long trot work until they are good and tired out. When bucking = working my lazy horses have usually gotten the message. Watch out for that moon, it's still around for a few days isn't it?

Nuzzling Muzzles said...

Shirley - Moving is not an option. This house was a gift to us from my parents because we couldn't afford one. I can see us moving if we inherit some money or another house, or when we retire. Right now all our money goes into putting our kids through college. Moving is very stressful and time consuming. I have to call in sick just to get a day off from work as is. I'd just assume run the obnoxious neighbors out. I was here first. The other thing is that I definitely would have to move somewhere where it is secluded and there is no chance of anyone building near me, because I find that bad neighbors have followed me everywhere I go. I can move into a neighborhood with great neighbors, but within a few years the good ones move out and the bad ones move in. It's like they are attracted to me.

Lulu said...

Phew! I sure am glad you were able to stay in the saddle!

Callie said...

EeeeGads! Glad you were able to stay on! Holy moly!

Katharine Swan said...

Good for you for staying on! But I have to say, in response to this:

Have you ever tried to train a horse in the middle of a construction zone? Let's just say there is a lot competing for your horse's attention, so the lessons can't be terribly productive.

Actually, I was thinking that sounds like the subject for a lesson. Not on Lostine yet, though -- better wait until she gives up being queen of the universe!

...For this year, at any rate! ;o)

Laughing Orca Ranch said...

Sheesh! You go girl! Funny that thinking of me and my knee helped you to focus on staying on. hehe I wonder if something like that could have helped me stay on better?
Thing is that I think I would have just done better had I simply fallen off. By trying to stay on I ened up torquing my knee as my leg stayed on the horse and my body shifted sideways as Baby Doll jigged sideways.

Oddly enough I think I coul sit a small buck much better than a sideways jig/teleportation. Our bodies just aren't meant to move in that direction so fast. But, of course, don't put me up o that test! lol!

Either way, I'm glad you showed Lostine that she wasn't the Queen afterall. Good for you, my friend :)

~Lisa