Wednesday, January 8, 2014

A Change of Pace

I've been doing a good job getting caught up on my To Do List, which has allowed me to look around and think about what else needs to be done that I've been neglecting, and I noticed that the round pen was overgrown with weeds.  I can't remember the last time I used it.  The mares needed some exercise, but I was getting a headache and my nose wouldn't stop running.  Then it hit me that the reason why I had a headache and runny nose was because of the chemicals used when I cleaned the carpet.  That was good reason to get outside away from the smell.

I opened up a window and just left the screen door closed while I lunged the mares, hoping to air out the house.  I was pleased to see that both horses were moving well -- no signs of lameness, arthritic knees, or wonky shoulders.  I've been giving them a dose of glucosamine chondroitin every morning for a while now.  I guess it has made a difference.

I worked on getting Gabbrielle to lope in a controlled manner.  She has this habit of taking off like she's in a race to the death when I kiss her up to the lope.  She goes out of the trot straight into a full gallop.  When she senses that she's not doing what I asked, she just keeps going faster and faster, looking at me and asking if she's going fast enough.  When I want her to slow down I step in front of her head, say "Easy," pump my hand down like people do at drivers going too fast, lower my energy, and bend at the knees, but this time she wasn't slowing down, so I stopped her and started over.  This time I moved her up to the trot and instead of making the kiss sound, which she obviously overreacts to, I said, "Lope," pumped the palm of my hand downward, lowered my energy and bent at the knees.  She did move up to a slower, controlled lope.  I let her do one rotation and then stopped her and praised her before she could launch into hyper-speed.

Lostine started out with a nice, controlled lope, but then all of the sudden the neighborhood started getting active as the bunnies and quail came out to graze and neighbors began coming home from work.  She sped up to her crazy gallop and her hind end slipped out from underneath her, so I had to stop her.  She was ignoring my cues, so I had to physically jump in front of her path.  That did the trick.  Then I led her around to cool her down.  The mares both go nuts when asked to move up to a faster speed.  Galloping does something to their brains and makes them stop listening to me.  It's like some primal instinct kicks in and they think they are running from a predator and have to keep running if they want to live.  Although sometimes Gabbrielle will just stop and stare at me like a deer in headlights after galloping, and I can see that it takes a while for her brain to switch back into listening mode.

As soon as I got back in the house and closed the doors and windows, I got sick again.  So, I opened all the doors and windows, and the heater turned on.  I turned off all the thermostats and brought out the vacuum, hoping to suck up some of the chemicals left behind by the steam cleaner.  I don't think I had the front door open for more than two minutes when the dogs started barking and charging the screen door.  A man and woman I've never seen before were walking in front of my house.  I shut the door fast before the dogs could break through the screen.  I noticed that a lot of RVs showed up in people's driveways this week, so that means having to share the neighborhood with more people.  The first thing snowbirds always do when they arrive is come out and explore.  Last winter I saw a lot of them standing at the end of my driveway pointing down at my barn, probably saying, "That wasn't here last winter."  Or, more likely, "I wonder if we can still cut through their backyard?"

Once they were gone I opened the front door again and enjoyed the cross breeze.  The horses stood outside my back door and watched me inside the house, saying, "Feed us early, please."

Opening up the house to air it out reminded me that I picked out this house in part because of the view and picked Arizona in part because of the wonderful winter weather.  So, now all I need to do is slow down and enjoy it.  And, bonus!  Now that the barking next door has quieted down, I can actually sit on my porch and read a book.  Ahhhh, pure heaven.

1 comment:

fernvalley01 said...

open doors and windows in January!! color me jealous!