Thursday, October 10, 2013

A Short Arctic Blast

I've been too busy to be following the weather as closely as I normally do, so I was taken by surprise by this very cold rain that began last night and continued throughout the morning.  Bombay let it be known that he prefers cold weather, because he was racing around the arena bucking, jumping and rearing.  It brought back memories of his rambunctious behavior whenever I let him out of the barn to play in the snow at our old house.  You'd think Arabian horses would be genetically acclimated to hot weather, being horses of the desert, but Bombay was born and raised in ice and snow, so that's what he prefers.

Despite running indoors to get my warmest winter coat, I was still shivering.  It's amazing how fast the weather and temperatures can change.  We've seen a rise in scorpions this past week.  I had a really large yellow-orangish one running toward my bare hand on the lip of the water trough as I was emptying it.  It had its pinchers going and its tail stabbing, so I knew it was in attack mode.  I turned the hose on it and sprayed it out of the barn.  It climbed right out of the water puddle and ran at me a second time.  I sprayed it until it rolled upside down and played dead.  I thought it was dead, so I walked away, but it was gone when I checked on it a minute later.

We also found a baby scorpion on the kitchen floor, an adolescent on the hallway wall, and one in the garage.  Something is definitely happening either in the cycle of scorpions or the weather to cause all of this sudden activity.  We've also had a family of four coyotes passing through every night looking for rabbits.  I always know the coyotes are around when there is an absence of rabbits.  One child coyote watched me from the bushes for about 5 minutes one night while I did barn chores.  He wanted to run past me to follow his dad, who had just trotted past me earlier, but the child was afraid of me.  When I moved off, he followed his father's scent out into the desert.  The mother and other child didn't take any chances and ducked back down into the arroyo.

I hand-walked Lostine and P.S. rode Gabbrielle on the trails yesterday, and with the mares gone, there was no one to keep the boys in line.  We returned to find that Bombay had cuts and a swelling on his nose right where the halter rests, so I guess I won't be doing any work with him for a while.  Of course, now the boys are socializing with each other like they are best buddies and nothing ever happened.

Rock stuffed his nose in a pile of manure and looked at Bombay as if to say, "Look!  I can sniff poop!"

Bombay then sniffed Rock's nose as if to say, "And I can sniff the poop you just sniffed by sniffing your nose!"

I wanted to make sure that Lostine got her exercise too since everyone else has been ridden regularly lately, but had I known it was going to rain today, I probably would have opted to ride a horse rather than walk.  But I need to get my own mileage in too.  I had a weigh in at the doctor's office and am completely disgusted and frustrated over how nothing has changed despite me staying active, riding horses and walking several miles during the week.  I have to walk and jog more and ride less, I guess.  

One good thing about the rain is that the lady next door finally brought her guard dogs indoors.  She's home on vacation for a week and for some reason thinks her pack of dogs must spend every minute outdoors.  As long as the dogs follow a routine of being kept in their spacious indoor/outdoor kennel, only being let out twice a day for exercise and meals, they are quiet for the most part.  However, when their owners are home full-time, they let the dogs exercise all day in the yard and the barking gets obnoxious.  Every time I walk outside, I get barked at, then the neighbor brings the dogs in and watches me through her window waiting for me to go back in my house so that she can let them out again.  

The problem is that when she is usually at work and I am at home on the weekdays, I spend several hours outside doing barn chores, riding and training the horses.  She doesn't know my routine, so she keeps anticipating when I am done with whatever I'm doing, and she lets her dogs out prematurely, before I am done, and they start a ruckus.  It goes something like this:

I walk out my back door to feed the horses.  Woof woof woof...  (Dot dot dot represents the neighbor bringing her dogs indoors after they bark a while.)

I go back inside and walk back outside to let the horses out of their stalls when they are done eating.  Woof woof woof...

I go back inside.  P.S. shows up.  Woof woof woof...

P.S. leads a horse and ties it to the trailer to groom and tack up, the neighbor thinks she is gone and lets the dogs out.  P.S. reappears from behind the trailer.  Woof woof woof...

P.S. disappears behind the trailer, the neighbor thinks she is gone again and lets the dogs back out.  I walk outside to talk to P.S.  Woof woof woof...

We take a couple of horses out into the desert.  We return.  Woof woof woof...

P.S. drives off, I start filling a water trough, go back inside the house, come back out to move the hose to another water trough.  Woof woof woof...

This goes on each time I have to go back out to move the hose.  Woof woof woof...

At this point I'm thinking, "Is this lady ever going to learn that I spend hours outside doing chores, and perhaps she should just lock the dogs up in the house or the kennel?"

I go outside later to clean up manure.  Woof woof woof...

As I am picking up the last pile of manure, my neighbor opens up her door and lets the dogs out in anticipation of me being done.  Woof woof woof.

However, instead of me being done, I still have to feed the horses.  Woof woof woof...

It's truly mind-numbing.  I really don't understand what the urgency is in keeping the dogs outdoors.  Maybe they aren't potty trained and are messing up her house.  In that case, why not just put them in the kennel instead of doing all this bringing in and letting out?  However, I will give her credit for at least bringing the dogs in.  Her husband just let them bark at me all day when he was home for over a month.  I was so close to shopping for a new house at that time.  I thought the guy had retired and this was the way it was going to be from then on.  Goodbye peace and quiet.

I honestly don't care if a dog barks at me when I am on that dog owner's property.  That's the dog's job.  But if I get hassled by dogs every time I walk out my back door into my own backyard, which I paid good money to own so that I would have some space between me and my neighbors, that's intolerable.  They sometimes even bark at me when I'm out hiking and riding in the desert.  They must see me all the way out there.  It really ruins an otherwise nice outing.  

When the rain stopped, I took my elephant for a walk...

He acts like he's shy and walks hesitantly behind me with his nose glued to my back on our way out.  Though he is adorably cute when he does that, it still makes me nervous that something might come up from behind him and scare him right into and over me.  So, I stopped walking abruptly to see what would happen.  He ran into me with his chest and pushed me forward a few steps.  His neck was over my shoulder and his head in front of my face.  Very cute, but potentially dangerous.  We've still got to work on helping him understand my definition of personal space.

Just when I was feeling proud of him for walking all that way without trying to bite me, he nipped my upper arm with his lips.  I shook his lead rope and backed him down the trail really fast, and he didn't try it again.  On the way back heading toward home, he came out from behind me and walked beside me.  I jogged a ways, but he just walked faster.  Bombay trots next to me when I jog.  Rock does whatever he feels like doing.  Bombay makes a better exercise partner.

Once I passed the house and kept walking away from it, Rock dropped back behind me again.  I caught him considering biting me to tell me I went the wrong way, and I growled, "Don't even think about it."

He then came up beside me and was careful not to get within biting range.

Coming around the bend on the driveway, I was alarmed to not see any horses in the barn.  Then I saw this...


I guess they realized they can relax while Rock is away, and for the first time in days I didn't hear any barking.  I wouldn't be surprised if this was the first chance the horses have had all week to sleep.

4 comments:

Sam said...

We've got the same problem with a neighbor who has a pack of boxer/bully mixes. I look at it as a training opportunity. Baron (and the rest of the ponies) are getting used to the constant barking and dashing up to the fence, and I'm learning to zone out the constant noise. It's real apparent now on roads, dogs barking no longer spook them.

Christine

ellie k said...

Our neighbor runs an animal rescue from her home, she has dogs coming and going every week. She tries to train them not to bark but the turn over is so fast there is always a barker in her yard. She is a nice lady and tries to take them in if she hears them bark.

Mary said...

I am grateful I don't have a barking issue here, well most of the time anyway. That would drive me bonkers. I've mentioned before, I have minimal yard space and neighbors quite close. Fred's not a barker, actually when a bark does fly out of him it startles us both. It's very awkward. I could not handle the scorpions, no sir, no way. That scares the bejeezus out of me. I bet the herd was thankful to get a rest while you were gone, that's pretty funny.

Snipe said...

It's good to hear that things are going in a positive direction with your horses, and that has been a consistent trend. I'm happy for you.

I like hearing the stories about what they do and how they interact. Your observations are vivid and humorous.