Friday, November 18, 2011

Crazy Winds, Sandstorms, and Wildfire

I went out just before sunrise to feed the horses in their stalls and the air was perfectly still.  By 8:30 AM when I went outside to let the horses out of their stalls, we had wind whipping around in all directions, unpredictable gusts, the aluminum stall roof was shaking, the horses were nervous wrecks, and large pieces of plywood and sheet metal were flying around in my neighbor's junk yard.  It's not enough that they send their dog over to do its business on my lawn, but now they are trying to decapitate people.

I wasn't sure about letting the horses out of their stalls with so much debris blowing around, but the noise from the barn roof was deafening and they desperately wanted out.  I figured they are alert enough to sense if debris is flying at them and run out of the way, so I decided to let them out.  It's cold enough that I wanted to leave their blankets on, which means I can't let them co-mingle, because they rip each other's blankets.

I let Bombay out and left all the gates open so that he could choose where he wanted to go.  Then I realized I had another dilemma.  When I put on the horses' blankets in their stalls, I only attach the left leg strap, because I can get the blankets off faster in the morning.  However, I couldn't let them out in this wind without both leg straps attached, or the blankets would blow up over their backs.  I've walked outside in windstorms and found blankets up over the horses' withers, or just hanging from their necks as they are standing on them, because the force of the wind literally rips the leg straps and blows the blankets right off them.

Bombay was fairly calm once he got outside, so I attached his other leg strap, and then he chose to be in the round pen.  I closed him in, and then let Gabbrielle out, which was like standing next to a starting gate in a horse race.  She galloped all over the place bucking, which got Bombay rearing, and I had to yell at them to settle down, because they were going to hurt themselves or break a fence.

It took me multiple tries before I could attach Gabbrielle's other leg strap.  Each time a gust of bigger wind came up or a sandstorm hit us, she'd spin and gallop off.  I didn't want to get kicked, so I had to be very careful.  One time when I attempted to attach it, a bunch of fire trucks came racing past the house with their sirens and lights on heading up to help with the Reno fire.  That sent Gabbrielle into another tizzy.

Then, of course, my nosy neighbor had to come out to walk her dog behind the barn another time while I was trying to attach the leg strap and Gabbrielle ran off snorting.  I finally got it attached and tried to herd her toward the back pen, but she wasn't having any of that.  She wanted to be with her herd.  So, I took a chance and let Lostine out into the paddock with Gabbrielle and the two of them galloped around bucking.  Now they've finally settled down and are hanging out in a huddle at the round pen railing with Bombay.

Bombay has the newest blanket, so I'm glad that I was at least able to separate him out.  The east valley is engulfed in one huge sandstorm.

I don't know what's worse -- the horses freaking out in their stalls because of the noise or them standing outside getting sand in their eyes. This is what greeted me when I walked outside. You don't ever want to step on one of these tumbleweeds. They have a gazillion little thorns. I tried to step around it, but the wind blew it into my leg, so now my leg is scratched up.

This is literally the worst weather conditions to have a fire, so I'm feeling the pain of those Reno residents. 20 homes have been lost already, one evacuation center is full and they are opening a second one. There are some amazing photos at the Reno-Gazette Journal.


Mikey said...

Goodness! It looks like our sandstorms down here. Except colder.

fernvalley01 said...

Sounds like a terrible day .I hope they get the fires under control soon

Linda said...

What a nightmare having to do that in the wind. Horses get crazy under those conditions and usually dangerous. I've been following the Reno fire--very sad.

achieve1dream said...

Sheesh you guys have some rough weather don't you? I would have been freaking out too lol. I'm glad everyone is safe. I hope they got the Reno fire out and that no one was injured.