Friday, October 21, 2011

How It Went

Taking back my time in order to be able to ride some horses and walk some dogs turned out to be more complicated than I expected.  I grabbed my little camera to take on the trail ride and found that the battery was dead, so I decided to let it charge for however long it took me to the Lostine in the trailer.

But before I could pull the trailer out, I had to move a bunch of obstacles that got piled in the way.  Once I succeeded in pulling the trailer out, I contemplated taking down the chains and poles at the end of my driveway so I could get out, but decided to wait until the horse was in the trailer, so that no truck would turn around in my driveway while I was trying to load my horse.  Nothing stops a horse from climbing into the trailer like the sound of an 18-wheeler engine bearing down on it.

I entered the trailer and noticed a couple of wasps mating on the ceiling.  Oh oh.  That must mean there is a nest nearby.  Sure enough, I found the mother load.

I wanted to get some pictures, and the second camera's battery died, so I didn't get much.  I had to go back in the house and hunt down the right battery charger for that camera, but couldn't find an unused electrical outlet to charge them.  I finally got fed up with how much trail riding time I was losing, and I just ripped the first cord out of the wall that I found, so I could charge this second set of camera batteries.

I spent quite a while hunting down the wasp killer, and wasn't wild about the idea of being in such tight quarters with them, knowing that what I was about to do would make them very angry.  Amazingly, the spray dropped them all to the floor and I was able to step on them before they could fly up and bite me.

Then I had to hunt around the house for a broom to sweep the dead wasps out of the horse trailer and knock down the nest.  By then the laundry was done, so I had to swap out loads before leaving on my trail ride.  I stepped down into the garage and stepped right into a huge puddle of water.

Panic set in.  Was my washing machine broken now?  Please, please, please, oh God, don't let me spend another day trying to get a repairman out to fix a broken appliance.  I can't take it anymore.  I opened the garage door to let in more light to see where the water was coming from.  It turned out to be from a broken gallon container of water.  My husband stocked up on bottled water back in 2001 when it looked like we might go to war on our own soil, and now the plastic bottles are breaking down and spilling their contents all over the garage.  This is the second one I've had to throw out.  Whew!  At least it was just a $3 bottle of water and not the washing machine.

While moving loads of laundry, I heard an engine approach me.  Dang!  It was only 9:00 in the morning and the insanity had already begun.  I turned to see a random truck driver idling at the end of my driveway, looking at me like he wanted me to remove my chains and posts so that he could turn around, or like he wanted directions.  Uh uh.  No way.  I am not the corner gas station.  I pushed the button and closed the garage door to clearly communicate that I was busy and the driver needed to move on.  Sometimes to take back your time, you have to be rude.

I had a number of other delays including Lostine running from the halter and refusing to load in the trailer, but finally hit the road around 10:00 AM.  We were the only horse and rider on the trails.  This is the first time I've ridden alone on a week day when my husband wasn't home to rescue me from the various problems I run into when trail riding.  He doesn't go trail riding with me, but if he's home he's close enough to call if I need help.  If he's at work in the city, I have to bum some help off a stranger.

I love how relaxed Lostine is now that she's familiar with these trails.  When I lead her, I almost don't even have to hold the rope.  She just walks beside me like a friend and enjoys the view.  When I ride her, she's well behaved except for when something makes her nervous.  Then she refuses to move forward.  She either spins or runs backwards.  However, I've learned that in every case where she has refused my directions to move ahead, she had had good reason.  Her senses are much better than mine and she can pick up on danger way before I can.

I was trying to videotape my ride, but I kept pushing the wrong buttons.  I can't see what the LCD screen says because of the sun's glare, so I think I'm recording when I'm not.  Unfortunately, that was the case when a Golden Retriever came around a corner.  Lostine spooked the dog and the dog spooked Lostine.  She jumped straight up in the air and came down with her legs locked.  The dog barked at us and ran back to its owner.  The dog owner was upset that her dog spooked my horse.  She said, "He only barked because you startled him."

I said, "So we spooked each other."

We talked a bit about the sagebrush is so overgrown that you can't see what's up ahead and around corners.  The trails association needs to get out and start clearing some brush.  We went on our way in opposite directions, and I was riding by the river, thinking I was filming again when I wasn't, and Lostine ran backwards and spun on me.  This was the most panicked I'd ever seen her.  I scanned the trail up ahead to see if there might be a deer or bear, and something made me look down.  There was a snake beside us.

It was dark green or black with yellow stripes down the length of it -- probably either a two-striped garter snake or some kind of water snake.  I like snakes.  I haven't seen one in years, but they were all over the place when my family used to vacation in the Eastern Sierra when I was growing up.  My brother and I used to catch them and play with them as long as they weren't rattlers.  When I spotted this snake, I got excited and wanted to look at it, but Lostine just wanted to get out of there.  The snake was looking up at me as if saying, "Please don't hurt me."

Lostine spent the rest of the ride with her nose to the ground studying every stick along the path.

When we got home from the trail ride, my good neighbors across the road were having some kind of get together and cars were parked up and down the street. My neighbor brought her little grandkids over to watch me unload Lostine from the trailer and I invited them in to pet her. Unfortunately, my neighbor let the toddler walk right up to Lostine's butt to pet her there. I guess she liked her tail. I told the little girl to watch out, because she could get stepped on. Lostine has never kicked anyone, but I wasn't taking any chances.

I untied her and turned her toward the kids so that they could pet her face. The little boy approached her with his hand in such a way that she thought he was giving her a treat, and she lipped his fingers. So, I pulled her head down to his level so he could stroke her face without having to contend with her mouth.

I fed the horses, let the dogs out to do their business, skipped my lunch, and raced over to the animal shelter to walk some dogs. My girl was still there, believe it or not. A couple of people asked if she was a Min Pin. I wasn't sure. I thought she was a Chihuahua mix, so I checked her records today and she is listed as a Chi X. I suspect she is either crossed with a Min Pin or a Rat Terrier. I saw a gorgeous Rat Terrier on the trails, and asked its owner if it was a good breed to own. He said she was a little hard headed at first, but now that she's older, she's a great dog.

I took the little Chi X for a walk, but first had to wrestle to get her tiny harness on. She kept running between my legs, so I had to sit on her bed, pull her into my lap and put on her harness while she French kissed me repeatedly. I thought she might be a puppy, but she's actually about 2 years old. I sure wish I could talk my husband into meeting her.

The end.


Katharine Swan said...

Glad you got a nice ride in!

fernvalley01 said...

Atta girl! Sounds like a great day ,except for the wet foot. I need to get things going too. You are right our posts today (your earlier one esp ) are mirrors

Laughing Orca Ranch said...

I'm really glad you managed to still get out for a relaxing ride, despite all the interruptions and delays.

Wow! The photos in those post are really beautiful, especially the last two! These are some of my most favorite trail photos you've ever shared here on your blog!

Interesting how the wasp nest resembles the vent in your horse trailer. Good thing you noticed the wasp lovers in there first before you loaded Lostine inside. gah!


lytha said...

what a lovely ride - thanks for taking us along. (jealous!) i can't believe you still have wasps alive when it's so cold out. (isn't it frozen there yet?)

i had so much fun killing three wasp nests after they hurt baasha this year. die, die, die!

so you've reminded me i need to see if that mare i like can load into a trailer. they say yes but they said she can lunge too and that was shown to be an exagerration.

Mary said...

I have a sneaky feeing that there might be a Chi X in your future...

Fred is the smallest dog I've ever had, (17 lbs) and he's probably 3 times that little ones size if not more. I'd be scared that I might hurt it. They seem so fragile. But oh so adorable.

I'm happy that you finally got some alone time with Lostine, I bet that was nice for a change.

Cheryl Ann said...

What a great day! Glad you got a nice ride done.

Leah Fry said...

It does sound like a nice ride. I like the photo of Lostine craning her neck down to see the imaginary snakes.

I was hand grazing Jaz outside the fence at Iron Ridge when a couple of small kids across the road asked if they could pet him. Their grandparents were right there, so I walked him over. Imagine my (and Jaz's) surprise when they ran up and wrapped themselves around his legs. I about had a heart attack, and poor Jaz got all dancy and snorty. Their grandmother grew up with horses, so I don't get why she made no attempt to control their approach. I learned my lesson for sure.

achieve1dream said...

I'm glad you got to ride!! Sometimes it's a lot of work getting around the obstacles, but the peace and relaxation of a good trail ride is so worth it. :D

Lostine is such a good girl. It was cool reading about how she was with the kids. :)

You had me laughing over the snake episode. I can just imagine Lostine walking along scanning the trail for snakes. Too cute!!