Friday, January 4, 2013


This morning I saddled Bombay for a ride in the arena. I wanted to concentrate on re-gaining my riding skills, as opposed to just trying to keep my horse under control. Instead of just lunging him in circles before riding and tightening his cinch a little at a time, I worked on backing him up, flexing, turning on the hindquarters, moving out in a small circle, and some desensitization. I thought that it was better to get his attention on me from the ground before I mounted. Despite his height and my lack of flexibility, I pulled off a nice, quiet, gentle mount and he held still. He didn't move off until I squeezed my legs and clucked, but he was nervously chewing the bit.

I felt uncomfortable and off balance just walking him around the arena from the saddle. He was sinking down in the sand and not being very responsive to my steering again.  I checked to make sure I wasn't laying the outside rein on his neck, and that I was pushing him around at the hip, like CNJ taught me.  He didn't want to travel in a straight line, but kept wandering where he wanted, so I got more stubborn with my legs bumping his side to keep him on my imaginary line.  Then he started paying closer attention to my cues.

After a while he balked and absolutely refused to move forward, hunching up his back and threatening to buck. I couldn't figure out what was going on. It turned out that my husband was working on the barn lighting. I kept whipping him forward, and he kept backing up, so I made him back up faster and faster. I released him and urged him forward, but he still planted his feet, so I spun him in circles in both directions for a couple of minutes. Then he went forward.

Right after that two horseback riders appeared at the top of the trail wanting to come through my back yard despite the KEEP OUT sign. Bombay popped his head up and went on full alert. I kept urging him forward, but he was totally focused on those two horses. One rider waved. I yelled, “Hi! The property is closed.”

The riders stayed up there for several minutes watching me as I tried to get my horse moving again. One of the riders was a little girl who looked like she was about 4-years-old. I felt ashamed that a 4-year-old can ride a horse down a vertical embankment and I couldn't even get my horse to budge. Since the riders weren't leaving, I thought they hadn't heard me, so I was trying to move closer to talk to them, but it was a no go. I couldn't even pull Bombay's head around to turn him and unlock his stance.  I'm not sure if he wanted to eat those horses or if he was afraid they would eat him, but he was definitely in his own world.  He ignored legs, my voice, my riding crop, and me trying to pull his head around with the rein.

The riders eventually moved further down my property line looking for another way to enter my backyard, not understanding that all the land back there was closed off, not just the original trail. When they didn't find another safe entry point, they left the way they came. Bombay relaxed and I was able to continue riding. But he was pussy-footing his way around, and stopping by the mounting stool telling me to get off his back, so I got mad and pushed him up to the jog. He was alternating between jogging and trotting, and I was sliding all around in the saddle at the trot, so I decided to post, but couldn't remember how to get into rhythm with the horse. He obviously felt uncomfortable, so I just slowed him down to the jog and sat back.

Eventually, I picked up the correct rhythm and was able to post comfortably for both of us. Then we heard hoof beats down in the arroyo in our back yard and knew someone was trespassing.  Bombay got all worked up and stopped listening again.  He was throwing his head around and refusing to move forward.  The hoof beats subsided, and he settled down.  Then the riders who were previously up on the bluff came down a different street to cut through another neighbor's back yard, and Bombay planted his feet again. He wouldn't acknowledge my cues until they were gone.

Earlier in the day when I was doing barn chores, some hikers appeared at the top of the trail into my back yard and just stood up there watching me for a while.  I guess they were waiting for me to say, "It's okay.  Just ignore the KEEP OUT sign and come on in," but keep out means keep out.  What I wanted to do was yell out, "Could I have some privacy, please?  This is my back yard!"  I mean, it's one thing if I'm in my front yard by a public road and people watch me, but it's another thing to have people walk right up to my back yard and stare at me.  Eventually, they did the same thing the horseback riders did, which was to walk along the back of my property searching for another entry point to both the north and the south.

The problem is that where my property line ends and another neighbor's property line begins, those neighbors don't want people cutting through either.  We all have signs up trying to keep people out.   The hikers and horseback riders walked through five neighbors' front yards in their effort to try to get into my back yard.  Eventually, the hikers gave up and went back the way they came.  I really don't know why they even came to my property, because the previous owners' sign said NO HIKERS.  I guess people will just do what they want to do until they are caught and humiliated or forced to pay some price.  My neighbors to the north say they will prosecute violators, but I'm not sure how, because they would have to physically detain the trespassers to give the police time to respond.  I think the trespassers know that, which is why they ignore the signs.

I suspect the reason why we've had a recent steady flow of trespassers and attempted trespassers is because another group of snowbirds has shown up just before and after Christmas, and they don't know yet that our house is under new ownership, a horse facility was built and the trail was closed.  Training people to stay out of our back yard could take a very long time at the rate things are going.  I titled this post "Stubborness", because that just seemed to be the theme of the day.  Bombay was stubborn toward me, I was stubborn toward him, trespassers were stubborn about taking the public roads, and I was stubborn about letting trespassers trespass.


Laughing Orca Ranch said...

lol! Perfect title for the post.
I can't imagine what it would be like to have all those trespassers and snowbirds around.
At least you know they will be gone once summer returns.


achieve1dream said...

:( What a sucky day....