Thursday, December 16, 2010

Junkyard Dogs

I've been trying to take the dogs out for a run every sunny afternoon I can get.  First I took them to the canyon where I ride the horses.  Then I took them to a local dog and horse park, and we took the dog-walking trail that is more toward the center of the park.  By "park", I mean it is a huge vacant space filled with sagebrush, and someone ran a tractor around it and laid down pebbles and decomposed granite for trails.  That's a Nevada style park.  No green grass.  They do have playground equipment for the kids, a few scattered benches, and tennis courts, though.

This time I ran with the dogs on the horse trail, which is around the very outer edge of the park.  I talked about this park last year, wondering how I would squeeze a horse through those tight openings they make to keep out ATVs and motorcycles.  Obviously, it can be done, because I see horse prints in the sand all the time.

I know I would have to have the time to desensitize my horses to squeezing between posts, though, and I've never had the opportunity to try it.  My horses go through gates at home, move in and out of their stalls, and sometimes get in and out of the trailer, but every new space brings out their prey instinct and I have to start all over in their training just to get them through a new gate in a new place.

Anyway, jogging with the dogs around the outer edge of the park was an eye-opening experience.  The trail is lined with the back yards of some very seedy homes.  Most of the back yards are filled with broken down vehicles and garbage piles.  Four of the homes had vicious dogs that lunged at us through the fence.  I was out of breath from having to pull Scrappy back.  He was ready to engage in any challenge.  I started thinking about how my horses might react being charged by large barking dogs with deep voices.  I'm sure that if I were leading them, I wouldn't be able to hold onto the rope.  If I were riding them, I'd probably have the ride of my life.  At one house, the dog nearly cleared a 7-foot fence in its effort to get to us.

Needless to say, our exercise was far from relaxing.  I think I'll stick to the interior trails for my dog walks from now on.  On the way home, I came around a bend and an oncoming driver got right up to me and then crossed over the center line right at the side of my truck.  I had to swerve onto the shoulder and honk.  I see people on the upside of the curve bank down into the oncoming lane on that corner all the time, but usually if they see a car in the oncoming lane, they move back into their own lane.  This is the first time I had someone actually aim their car at me.  Sometimes I think half the people around here are on drugs.  All I can say is thank God for anti-anxiety medication, because without it I'd have a hard time getting in cars at all.

Oh yeah, and there is one property at that park that has a horse.  I remember the horse owner put up a sign that read, "Please do not feed the horse."  I also remember having to chase off some kids who were ignoring the sign and feeding the horse sagebrush one day, which can be poisonous to horses in large amounts.  Today when I passed that house, the fence was broken, the horse and the sign were gone, and the horse trailer was being used as a storage unit.  I worried that the horse might have died from colic, but hopefully the owner just had to board it someplace else for its safety.  I know that if someone constructed a public park right up against my horse paddock, I wouldn't sleep at night wondering what stupid things people are doing to my horses now.


JanLou said...

You won't be in a rush to ride your horses there then I guess but still I guess it was worth checking it out so now you know.

Mikey said...

I wouldn't walk there either. Nor could I sleep with a park right next door. People are just too much sometimes.

Rising Rainbow said...

I hope the horse is ok too. I must admit the more I listen to you, the more I think I never want to live in Nevada. Sounds like there are lots of strange people

Annette said...

Yipes! I don't think I'd go there again - it doesn't sound safe for dogs or horses. Be careful out there-

fernvalley01 said...

Sounds like an exciting run/walk! I hope the horse is boarded elswhere as well,I would hate that idea of people messing with him/her

Katharine Swan said...

NM, I remember you talking about whether you'd be able to get your horses to squeeze between those posts. I don't remember whether you said before, but do you have as much room as you would have going through a regular person-sized door, or is it even less than that? You ought to be able to get your horses to go through a door-width, but less space than that would be awfully tricky, especially saddled!

Laughing Orca Ranch said...

Going through narrow gates makes me nervous because I've had my knees banged and my jeans ripped from thigh down to ankle while squeezing through narrow gates on a horse.
Baby Doll was always very careful with me going through gates. She would take baby steps going through.
Apache isn't as mindful of her rider's legs, and will ride right up against gate posts, trees, bushes, whatever. ouch!
She even helped tear a hole in a brand new pair of breeches last Spring, so I will always wear half chaps with her from now on.

Phooey on Nevada and their strange parks....there aren't even very many letterboxes in that state. You really need to move to New Mexico. I'm sure that a plot of land, with plenty of space for the horses, is calling your name. :)