Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Pony Me, Please

Remnants of our big windstorm from last week...

Riding Bombay...

Gabbrielle beside us...

It was a juggling act holding the reins, the lead rope, the camera and the riding crop all at the same time. Lovebirds...

Actually, I think of them more like a brother and sister because they come from the same bloodline...

Sniffing my knee...

...or more likely sniffing for treats in the horn bag. Standing quietly where I left her after tossing the lead rope over her neck while I dismounted...

Hey, Mom! Get this snake off my neck. It's tickling my ears and you know how sensitive my ears are...

Bombay half asleep after our ride...

It was much easier to pony Gabbrielle in younger years when she was just a filly. Now that she's a bossy mare, she pinned her ears back at Bombay as we led her. I had to correct her attitude a few times and praise her when she put her ears forward and walked in a comfortable spot with her head at my knee.

My neighbors came home from church early while I was finishing up the ponying lesson. They parked next to my paddock and watched me, as usual. I put the mares in the round pen and rode Bombay some more around the paddock. As soon as I started talking to Bombay, they rolled down their windows so they could eavesdrop on what the crazy lady says to her horses. Eventually, they cracked their doors open, but didn't get out. They sat in that car staring at me for a good half hour to 45 minutes. I got tired of the unwanted attention, so I rode Bombay to the back of the barn where they couldn't see me from their parking spot at their drive-in movie.

Bombay and I just hung there for a while relaxing and enjoying the view of the snow-capped mountains. Then Bombay went on alert. I thought he was watching a horse off in the distance, but it turned out that someone was moving about in a dark alcove of the house across the street. I was hoping the person would come out into the open so that Bombay would relax, but she just came out and stood behind a tree. Bombay looked like he was ready to break the sound barrier to escape this creature in the shadows that appeared to be sneaking up on us, so I clucked and squeezed to move him out of there.

He completely forgot I was on his back, and when I squeezed his sides he jumped, then lurched into a jig to get away from our supposed stalker. I had left a pile of newspapers in the paddock that had blown in from a neighbor's trash can in the last windstorm, and the wind was blowing them around. Even though I had ridden Bombay right up to that trash earlier, he was so intent on watching the person in the alcove that the newspapers took him by surprise and he spooked sideways.

When his fear turned into blowing snorting warnings through his nose to get the mares riled up, I decided the ride was over. There was no place I could ride without people around. I had my nosy neighbors watching me from their car on one side, the lady in the alcove on another side, and some other neighbors trimming their hedges on another side. I need to ride earlier in the mornings to make the best of my time, but my photography class is starting to interfere with that riding time. I also need to take pictures early in the morning, which means getting in the car and driving someplace else, away from my horses.

Many of my class assignments involve underexposing and overexposing images, and I find that out in the desert the sun just gets too bright in the middle of the day and I hit my dynamic range limits too soon. In the late afternoon and evening there are just too many people around interfering with my photographs, so I have to get out before most people wake. I did have one young couple stop by to ask why I was taking pictures. I explained that I was taking a photography class and had to take pictures of landscapes at different ISO, aperture and shutter speed settings. They thought that was really cool. I suspect they were doing something illegal or very personal up on the mountain and wanted to make sure I wasn't taking pictures of them. ; )

7 comments:

Fantastyk Voyager said...

That sounds like a great class. Photography is something I've always wanted to be better at.

I really enjoy ponying and riding my two horses, Scout and Nadia. It's like a cozy little threesome when we go on trail rides together.

I get this crazy visual of all your neighbors hiding in the shadows, in cars, and behind trees, watching you work with your horses. I guess you could think of it as insurance, if something should happen to you, there would be somebody there who could help you, hopefully. I always worry when I ride and work with my horses that no one will see me get hurt and I'll just lay there until the cows come home and we don't have any cows around.

Nuzzling Muzzles said...

Fantastyk - Although in the case of my neighbors, they are usually the reason why I get hurt. My nosy neighbors have pulled stunts that have spooked my horses resulting in me having broken fingers and toes. Fortunately, I haven't fallen off a spook yet, but it could be worse. Just yesterday I had a guy move in to my other next door neighbor's guesthouse who likes to do woodwork in the garage next to my round pen. He was one of the reasons why I couldn't get Gabbrielle trained last year. Every time I started to mount her, he started up his power tools. I think I'd opt for being alone, even when injured, as opposed to having to dodge situations that could cause injury every time I work with the horses.

Lulu said...

Yep, you need more space!! That's all there is to it!

Katharine Swan said...

Sometimes I think I probably have more peace and quiet at a boarding stable than you do at your house! I usually ride on weekday mornings, and although there are a few people who come about the same time as me and we often ride together, for the most part it's dead. And I've discovered weekend mornings (earlier, around 9-ish) are usually pretty dead -- I was the only one out there when I took off Panama's rain sheet last Saturday morning!

Grey Horse Matters said...

I guess on the plus side it's good you got to ride at all before all the interruptions. Why don't you start taking pictures of your nosy neighbors when they show up and act rude like that, it's worth a try.

fernvalley01 said...

your neighbors are certainly creepy! Sounds like it went well with Gabrielle though

Jen said...

We don't have too much trouble with our neighbors (although there was that one time with the rocket...yeesh). What we DO have a problem with is dogs - there are three big ones in separate backyards along our property on the west side. They rush the fence barking like mad anytime we ride in the pasture (and so much for a relaxing ride). It's totally annoying and I have recently found myself having strange thoughts about duct tape and dog hobbles (Ha :o)