Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Battles, Rebuttals and Belches

It's been a battle trying to get some alone time with the horses over the holiday weekend since everyone and his brother was home and resting from his labors.  Neighbors, neighbors, everywhere...

I felt sorry for P.S., who was looking forward to riding in the arena, and one neighbor behind us started some racket that sounded like he was banging dents out of a car with a hammer.  My husband tried taking Rock for a walk, and said that the horse was jumpy and nervous the whole way, and the banging neighbor wasn't helping matters.  By walking Rock off the property, all the other horses went nuts and started screaming their herd-bound death whinnies.  They were saying, "I hate that horse.  I beat him up (slash) He beats me up every day, but I can't live without him.  Bring him back!"

Then some other neighbors heard the blood curdling horse screams and had to come out to investigate, making a chatter racket of their own and adding to the horses' nervousness.  With all the activity around us, I told P.S. I would be amazed if she got to ride, because Gabbrielle was dancing around and out of her mind with worry.  Then my husband brought Rock back, the neighbors went in their houses, all got quiet, and she was able to ride after all.  She's been content riding in the arena for short periods of time during the summer heatwave.  I suppose I should be out there too, but I don't handle the heat as well as she and the horses do.

When I clean up manure, I only clean up what is in the shade, and I wait until the sun sets to get the rest of it.  I've had people hovering around every time I've gone outside to do my barn chores for several days straight, so when I got a few minutes of alone time and silence yesterday, I was in heaven.

I decided to rake Rock with the fork and see if he liked it.  He did.  The horses always love being scratched.  Gabbrielle came up and nudged my arm, because she wanted to be scratched with the fork too.  I basically rake the plastic pitchfork down the length of their bodies.  The other two got their turns also.

I guess my "massage" was so relaxing that Rock sauntered up to me, opened his mouth, and let out a gurgling man-sized belch right in my face.  I laughed so hard.  I have never heard a horse belch before.  Bombay has these little internal burps, but this was a full on burping contest effort -- long and loud and almost musical, changing pitches along the way.  It's hard to believe it came from a horse, and Rock looked to be so pleased with himself.

We got some good, persistent cloud cover around late afternoon, so I went out to lunge some horses for exercise to prepare them for the riding season.  I saw all the manure build up and got distracted into cleaning that up first.  Then I spotted some nearly empty water troughs, scrubbed them out and went back into my house while they re-filled.  The horses kept grabbing the hose with their teeth and pulling it out of the trough, so I had to keep running outside to yell at them, spray them with the hose to chase them away, and then put the hose back into the trough.

I lunged Lostine, and you could not tell that she is 25 years old and has arthritis.  She was a speed demon.  She got the fits and raced around making such a ruckus that she attracted the attention of the neighbors on the bluff, and they all lined up to watch her go.

When she gets like that, all I can do is say "easy" to try to slow her down enough that she doesn't wipe out, and then I have to wait for her to decide that she's tired of running.  You can't stop her.  All you can do is turn her.  Something clicked in her brain, and she came to a sliding stop right in front of me and stood there heaving and trying to catch her breath while I petted her to calm her down.  She then followed me everywhere I went and helped me pull weeds and remove rocks that she had kicked up.  She still wasn't cooled down, so I took her for a walk around the property.

Rock volunteered to exercise next.  He copped a bit of an attitude and struck out with his front leg each time I moved him up to the trot or the lope.  I didn't stop lunging him until he stopped his rebuttals and just did what I asked with a good attitude.  Then I asked him to follow me and help me with the weeding and rock clean up.  He too got to walk around the property, and we worked on his leading issues.  Sometimes he drags behind, sometimes he tries to sneak up on you and take a chunk out of your arm, and sometimes he hugs you.  At least he wasn't barging ahead like he does on the trails.

By the time I finished with him, it was getting dark, so I had to serve dinner.  Hopefully, we will get more cloud cover soon and I can do more horsey stuff.  I think the horses are so bored that they appreciate anything I do with them right now.  I combed out manes and tails today, and each time I started working on a different horse, Rock would nudge me and try to get me to keep combing his mane and tail.  He's definitely a people horse.


Ian H said...

Time to put your foot down and tell everybody to go home, in a nice way of course.

fernvalley01 said...

Everything you do when spending time with your horses is good, and if the neighbors watch, well whatever as long as they don't interfere...

Nuzzling Muzzles said...

My biggest problem is when I'm out in triple-digit temps just trying to get the horses in their stalls really quick to feed them, and someone stops to watch. The horses refuse to go into their stalls, because they view people who watch as predators, and they don't want to be locked in a small box if the predator decides to pounce. Then I get stuck having to hunt down a halter and lead rope, chase each horse around, catch it, and lead it to its stall in the searing heat. It takes 10x longer to get it done just because someone thought they'd stand on the edge of my property and watch. Normally, I just say the horse's name and point at their stall, and they go right in. So, the watchers do interfere.