Sunday, November 27, 2011

Year End Assessment

I'm still doing something on a daily basis to help settle my mother's estate, but the number of hours I've put in have been cut way back since the sale of her house.  I'm hoping to be in the clear in March or April so that I can bring my focus back to my family, my pets and my life.   

In the time I've been able to spend with my horses I can see that Bombay will be my biggest challenge.  He used to be my most often ridden and most well-trained horse, but after he started panicking on trailer rides and mutilating himself, I put him out to "pasture."  I didn't have the time nor money to deal with his psychological problems.  I guess I was kind of hoping that time would heal him because I couldn't find any trainers in my area who had experience with his problem, but now he's being a jerk, always testing me and even biting the mares -- something he's never been brave enough to do in the past.  He parades himself around with a boner like the horse paddock is his kingdom and the mares are his concubines.

My goal was to trade in my tight, well-padded luxury slant-load trailer for something more open and basic with plain metal walls and more room.  If he didn't have rubber padding to rip off the walls, then he wouldn't have bolts to cut himself on.  It's kind of hard to climb a metal wall, but easy for him to climb a rubber wall.

However, if I was going to get a cattle trailer, I wanted it to be long enough for three horses, and my 10-year-old truck doesn't have enough horse power to haul my 2-horse trailer uphill, none-the-less a 3-horse trailer.  That meant I needed to buy a new truck.  So until that happens, Bombay just sits and waits.  I'm not willing to risk another vet bill by even trying to take him for a trailer ride.

I've been researching pickup trucks, but can't find a single one that I like.  There was this cobalt blue Dodge Ram 1500 Quad Cab with a lot of power and towing capacity sitting on the local dealers lot all year and they dropped the price in September to $8,000 below the original asking price.  I had planned on buying it once some money came in, but of course, they sold it before that happened.  Now the only trucks the Dodge dealership has are black, white, gray or silver.  I know the color shouldn't matter, but if you are stuck with a truck for 10-years, you may as well like the color.  I've had a hankering to own one of those cobalt blue Dodge vehicles for years, and wouldn't you know it?  As soon as I'm in the market to buy a truck, they discontinue the color.  So, I've been looking around for a slightly used one, but haven't had any luck.

I don't want a diesel truck because they are too noisy and I resent my neighbors who allow their diesel trucks to idle for nearly an hour before driving off.  Fords are too expensive, but I can get better gas mileage with them.  My priority is hauling capacity and power.  I also would like to pay off my husband's vehicle before seriously looking into trading in my old truck for a new one.  These things take time.

Lostine is cranky.  She tries to make everything as difficult as possible for me, hoping that I will give up and choose not to ride her.  She runs from the halter, dances when I try to put on her boots, pins her ears back when I approach with the saddle, evades having the cinch buckled, refuses to get in the trailer...

I've heard breeders brag that they can put their horses out to pasture for several years after training, and they come right back in remembering everything they were taught where their training left off.  I have a hard time believing that.  Horses get used to the easy life and cop attitudes when you want them to return to work.  They may remember all their training, but that doesn't mean they will cooperate like good little soldiers.

Gabbrielle tries to be good but she's a cross between a halter horse and a racehorse at heart, and neither of those skills serve me well for my riding goals.  She can be completely calm one minute, hanging her head low and enjoying her grooming to having her head straight up in the air, tail curled over her back, prancing around and snorting one-second later.  There's no warning.  That's why she has accidentally knocked me down a few times.  I'll be standing near her, something will spook her, and she'll just break into a full-on gallop not watching where she's headed, which is usually right into me.

As a result, I'm a bit nervous around her, which makes her nervous, because she's so in tune with my feelings.  I can be working with her, and simply wonder if my nosy neighbor is loitering around, and Gabbrielle will stop and point, showing me where the woman is hiding.  Or if I'm expecting a UPS or FedEx delivery for my business, she'll keep looking out toward the road as if she's waiting for the truck too. 

I was considering sending her off for more training over the winter, so that I could take lessons on her in an indoor arena, but it turns out that the cost of a stall and blanketing is nearly double what I paid to have her stay in the pasture in the summer months.  It costs $100 a month extra to pay a groom to blanket my horse.  Gee, I wish someone would pay me that when I blanket all three of my horses every night and remove their blankets in the morning.  When you consider that they are probably blanketing 30 horses, that's a $3,000 a month profit for their business.  What a deal.

Also, I'm hesitant to return to the same trainer I used this summer, because I don't think she liked me very much.  She kind of confirmed my suspicions when she rejected my friend request on Facebook.  Rejecting friends is not a good way to do business, but I guess she's already got all the business she needs.

So, I'll just try to make the best of the remaining dry days we have this year.  I find it difficult to lunge or ride the horses because the sun is so low in the sky.  We can't see where we are going, because we are constantly blinded.  Lostine crashed into the round pen railing yesterday and fell down because the sun was in her eyes.  Poor girl.  She's getting so old and I hate to see her fall down.  Gabbrielle is younger and more resilient when she bites the dust.  I don't think I've ever seen Bombay fall.  He's really athletic and agile.

My annoying neighbors have been hauling home used appliances and windows and toilets and letting them pile up on their lot.  Now they have strangers coming and going all day looking at the stuff, so they obviously are advertising it for sale somewhere.  Yesterday someone was hauling off a washing machine, pushing it past my round pen on a dolly and loading it into the back of his vehicle while I was trying to work with Bombay.  He pumped himself up big and got all snorty, so I had to cut him loose before I got hurt.  The neighbors are also allowing people who live up at the lake to bring their boats and trailers and non-winterized vehicles down the mountain to park in their yard for the winter, so I've not only got more heaps of metal blocking my view of the Pinenut Mountains, but the people who own these vehicles are dropping by constantly to check on them.  It's like Grand Central Station over there.

I'll leave you with pictures of our sunrise this morning.  This is the best time of day because it is just before light is shed on the junk yard next door.  I know it's there, but I can't see it...


fernvalley01 said...

Frustrating all around . I will say some horses are like the ones you mentioned .Johnnie is one who can sit in pasture indefinitelt and come back in good to go. But he is actually a bit of a rarity , most need a refresher on at least some level. It depends on the training I think and the individual horse . You have so many distractions in your area , I don't know if even my darlin Johnnie wouldn't be a little "heads up"

Leah Fry said...

Hope you are able to find a good deal on a truck. We waited a long time before we finally found ours.

I'm with you on horses getting used to being lazy and carefree and not wanting to get back into work. Even Mr. Perfect Jaz can be a stinker if left for a couple weeks.

Beautiful photos of my favorite time of day.

Crystal said...

Pretty sunrise you got there. I dont know if I believe horses just go back to where they were left off either. I think they can get back to where they were but it takes consistant time. But they will be there when you are ready for them.

I have a half ton dodge and I pull a steel stock trailer with 4 horses pretty easy as long as there are no too many hills around.

Laughing Orca Ranch said...

Sounds pretty frustrating around there. Naughty Bombay. Being knocked down by a horse is pretty serious. Please be careful.

Lovely photos and pretty sky.


Cheryl Ann said...

I hear you about the horses. I took Scout out today, up to the round pen, and she walked okay. However, on the way back, she ran past my shoulder and I just dropped the lead rope. She went galloping off to visit the other 2 mares next to her...sigh...I was too tired to fight her. Quad is doing well, but doesn't want to be mounted by a full-sized person! He has reared twice...sigh...I'm like you. I really don't know what to do. I have a trainer who works Quad once a week, then works in 2 other horses and I can see progress, but...

achieve1dream said...

Sorry you're having so many problems with the horses. It does sound like respect issues. Maybe this spring when you have more time you'll be able to work with them consistently enough to get them back to being sweet and obedient. :)

Oh and that sunrise is absolutely gorgeous! Wow!