Friday, March 20, 2009

Using My Time More Wisely

I had been waiting for the time to change so that I don't have to spend my lunch hour cleaning stalls. Once the time did change, I started cleaning stalls in the evening after work while it is still light out, but I still wasn't getting the most out of my lunch hour. I found that I was spending it picking up and reading the mail, fixing and eating lunch, and watching a little TV. Before I knew it, my hour was up and I had to return to my desk.

Last night I was dreaming of horses and this morning I awoke feeling frustrated that even with horses in my own backyard, I still have very little time to spend with them. I was determined to reschedule my lunch hour in such a way that would allow me to devote it to the horses.

I decided to eat my lunch at my desk while I was working, so that I wouldn't waste my free time sitting in front of a TV eating and getting engrossed in whatever show happened to be on. If I was doing laundry and the dryer buzzed during my lunch hour, it would just have to wait. If the phone rang, I was going to let the answering machine pick up. If a neighbor stopped me to talk, I was going to tell her I was sick and start coughing all over her.

Come noon today, I did pick up the mail, but didn't waste my time reading it. I went straight outside and started doing horse duties. First on my list was to lay out some poles to remind me to work on pole training. As I was doing that, I noticed one of my neighbor's construction workers was watching me... and watching me... and watching me.

Everyone who reads my blog knows how I feel about people who stare. Rude. Low class. Perverts. Weirdos. It's one thing if you are in public doing something to attract attention; it's another thing if you are on your own private property doing something boring and minding your own business. I decided to yell out a greeting to let him know that I was well aware of his unwanted attention. My hello had a tone to it that said, "What the hell do you want?"

The guy said hi back and just continued to stare as I carried poles around in my yard. Mind you, he was not doing anything other than loitering and staring. I had plans to take Gabbrielle for a walk off the property, but didn't want to risk it if this guy was going to be driving any time soon. He has a pickup truck with one of the loudest souped-up engines I've ever heard. So, I haltered Gabbrielle and walked her behind the trailer where the guy couldn't see us, and I groomed her. Sure enough, he got bored and drove off.

I then took Gabbrielle for her walk. There was a little tugging, but no spooks. Each time she got ahead of me and pulled on the lead rope, I said whoa and backed her up a few steps. Once she waited for a few seconds in that spot, I told her to walk, and we walked until she started tugging again. She was really happy to get out and about. She did not want to go back to the paddock. After I put her away, she kept running to the fence and pointing at the street, because she wanted to go back out.

I then groomed and walked Lostine. Lostine was a dream! It was as if I was taking a walk by myself. Horse? What horse? She walked so quietly beside me and did not put any pressure on the lead rope. I was in heaven. She led better than my dogs do on a leash. This is why it always surprises me when Lostine does something naughty like bucking when I ride her. She has such impeccable ground manners that it's hard believe she can be such a turd under saddle.

I then groomed and walked Bombay. I had no reason to expect any trouble from him, because he's been walked off the property more regularly than any other horse. However, as we were walking, he puffed himself up to the size of Standardbred. I couldn't figure out what he was so nervous about, so I just kept walking. Suddenly, I heard the whisper of a car engine behind us. We both spun around to find one of my neighbors trying to drive up the street in her quiet Jaguar, and we were blocking the road. Bombay knew she was back there, but I was oblivious. Sometimes you've got to trust that your horses know what they are talking about.

My neighbor waved at me as we stepped aside to let her pass. By the time I put Bombay away and fed the horses their lunch, my hour was over, but what a wonderful hour it was.


fernvalley01 said...

Time management, is the strongest theme I have seen latley in a lot of blogs.So many of us are struggling to fit in what we must do and what we dearly want to do .Sounds like you are off to a good start .

Grey Horse Matters said...

That's a good plan for lunch hour and you got a lot done. What a weirdo that guy is.

Katharine Swan said...

What a great lunch break! Even made me happy reading about it. :o)

Your comment about Lostine's impeccable ground manners made me think of something. I'm sure you would have already thought of (and dismissed it) yourself, but have you ever considered that Lostine is uncomfortable with the saddle on, and that's why she's such a turd?

By the way, Panama loves his walks off the property too. Ever since I started taking him out there, he always follows me to the gate when I leave and sometimes tries to slip out behind me.

Nuzzling Muzzles said...

Lostine has been through three saddles (two of which fit her well) and still bucks when she's in a crabby mood. I've had several people including vets and horse trainers examine her for injuries or pain, and they all agree that it's just her attitude. She's been a broodmare most of her life and doesn't want a new job, but she's got to earn her keep. Once I get her into the routine of being ridden regularly, she's fine.

Kate said...

Sounds like you're really thinking about how to use your time in the best way - we could all benefit from that!

Cheryl Ann said...

See, this is why I LOVE your blog! I need to do these things with my horses! Like learning how to lead them properly! Great post! I can't wait for future ones! Your dogs are gorgeous! Years ago we had 2 collies: a brother and a sister. We kept the brother, BJ, and gave the sister, Heather, to my grandparents. She was their faithful guardian for many, many years and didn't let ANY strangers onto their property! They were both very good and brave dogs. I miss them, but not their hair!!! My kids learned to walk by holding on to BJ.