Saturday, September 21, 2013

Out and About

I had high hopes that it would stay cool long enough for me to take a trail ride this morning, but I forgot that whenever the temperatures improve, I'm not the only one who wants to get outdoors.  My husband was going to start working on a construction project finishing the siding of the hay barn.  I'm really looking forward to this project being done, so there was no way I was going to ask him to hold off.  He offered to wait, but getting the hay barn finished is a priority, and he needs to do it during the cooler times of the day so that he doesn't overheat or burn himself on the sheet metal.  I thought, "Maybe if I jump in the shower now I can ride out before all the drilling begins.  Then if the horse is scared of the noise on the way back, I'll just dismount and lead it down the driveway."

So, I jumped in the shower and by the time I got cleaned up, dressed, and outside, my neighbor to the north was out weed whacking right along our property line.  Same thing he's done for the past two weekends in a row.  Well, I can deal with that, right?  The horses should be used to it now.

The dogs started bugging me to take them outside when I went back inside to get something, so I led them out to the south side of the house, and there was my other neighbor swinging a pick at some shrubs along our other property line, right where I needed to ride the horses to get out to the desert.  I knew that violent swinging and jerking movement and noise would seriously spook them, and if I fell off I would land in the rocks, so I dragged my feet waiting for him to finish his yard work before riding out.  Even down at the barn the horses were on alert and cowering in a corner watching this neighbor swing that pick.

When things quieted down, I caught Bombay, but then the wind picked up, and he started spooking left and right at everything.  He was already out of his mind from all the activity in the neighborhood.  Then a neighbor brought in a dump truck and it sounded like it was dumping boulders.  Sometimes when everything works against me I think there's good reason for it and I should consider it an omen of worse things to come.  Other times I tell myself to just push past it, because everything will work out fine.  As soon as I made a move to get the saddle pad, my body rebelled and I had to put Bombay away and run for the bathroom.

By the time I got back outside, the wind had stopped, the heat was setting in, and I was suffering from dehydration.  I knew I had to just go back inside, sit down, and drink a tumbler of cold water before attempting any further outdoor activities.  At this point I was thinking, "Someone definitely does not want me to go on a trail ride, because I've been trying to get out for about an hour now and I've run into one obstacle after another."

Maybe I should ride another horse?  Rock was calmer, but needs more groundwork to improve communication, obedience, and softness.  Lostine's arthritic knee was acting up and she was limping.  P.S. was coming by to work with Gabbrielle, and I'm too heavy to ride Gabbrielle anyways.

I decided to bathe Lostine before I lost my shade over the hose.  Once the sun hits the hose, the water comes out almost at a boiling point.  You can burn a horse with it.  So, Lostine got her bridle path trimmed and her bath, and she feels and smells wonderful now.  My husband came back from the hardware store and said that horseback riders were out and we should get out there.  I thought that, at the very least, we should take a couple of horses for hand-walks to expose them to strange horses.  I call it socializing my horses.  They need to learn to be cordial to others like them who are not in their herd instead of going gonzo and trying to attack them.  Obviously, I can do that socializing from horseback too, but considering that I hit no obstacles once I got the idea of riding out of my head, I felt I probably should keep it out of my head until a better day.

I led Rock out and P.S. led Gabbrielle.  I was happy to get my exercise, even though the heat was beating down pretty hard on us.  We took turns passing and leading to see if Rock would be enticed into biting Gabbrielle, but he didn't even think about it.  I guess he just likes to pick on Bombay that way.  The horses really seemed to enjoy the walk.  Rock had this dreamy look in his eyes and led better than ever.  There were a few times when I had to tap him out from behind me with the whip and get him to stop leaning on me when he walked next to me, but he never busted out ahead of me or pulled on the lead rope.  He walked beside me on a loose lead most of the way.  It's funny how you can work with a horse on something over and over and not see any improvement, and then one day it just clicks and you didn't do anything to make it happen on that day.

At one point we were walking along talking and I realized that everything around me was getting darker, and I was hearing a buzzing sound.  We were headed right into a swarm of bees.  I called out something like, "What is that?  I'm turning around.  Let's get out of here!"

We whipped our horses around and headed back the way we came.  I thought we had disturbed a nest or hive, but P.S. pointed out that it was a migrating swarm and it had moved further south after we turned around.  We were able to head out in the direction we originally planned and didn't run into a single bee.  All those bees were set on following their queen and none of them cared enough to stop and sting us.  Both horses handled the swarm really well.  I'm sure they wouldn't have had they got stung, though.

My husband thinks that as long as the queen bee doesn't decide to land on you or your horse, you should be fine.  He had a queen bee land on him once, and the rest of the bees followed, so he was covered in them.  That's one of my many biggest fears.  I don't ever want to disturb a hornets' nest or bee hive, especially not while riding a horse.  One sting is bad enough, but stings all over your body would be horrible.  As a child growing up in California, I spent my summers barefoot and often stepped on wasps and bees.  It seemed that every few weeks my mother was having to apply dabs of baking soda and water onto the stings and tweezing out the stingers.  I haven't had to experience anything like that during my adult years because now I wear shoes.

1 comment:

Cindy D. said...

I know I have already told you my bee stories so I won't bore you again, but I will say that I probably would have done the same as you...Lets get out of here!" Glad you got to finish your ride though.