Thursday, May 22, 2014

Busy Horse Day

My vet had scheduled an appointment for my horses' vaccinations and dental work today, but her assistant said she'd have to call me back later to let me know the exact time.  She never called to give me the time, and P.S. wanted to go for a trail ride this morning, so I called the vet's assistant to ask for the time of the appointment.  Unfortunately, I was one of her first appointments of the day, which meant that P.S. and I would have to hit the trails stinkin' early to get ourselves and the horses back to the barn in time.

I emailed P.S. about it and told her to let me know if she was able to ride that early.  She didn't respond, so I texted her to tell her to read her email.  It turned out that she misplaced her phone and didn't get the message until late last night.  She emailed me back that she could ride with me, but she figured it was too late and I wouldn't get the message.  She was right.  I was asleep by the time she emailed me.  Had she gotten back to me and said she could go on the trail ride before I fell asleep, I would have set my alarm for 5:00 AM, but she didn't and I didn't.

Then something really weird happened.  I was in the middle of dream and I opened my eyes to see daylight creeping in through the window.  I thought I was still dreaming, because I had just gone to bed.  Then I looked at the clock, which is futile because I'm so blind that I can't read it without glasses, but for some reason I could read it clearly, and it said 5:00 AM on the nose.  I have not woken up that early in months, so I took it as a sign that I should get up and get ready.

I then found and read P.S.'s email, and texted her to let her know the horses would be ready and she could come over.  She responded with a happy face.  I took my shower and went outside to clean up manure, and the neighbors' guard dogs started barking at me.  I did what I always do when dogs bark at me.  I said, "Awwww, shaddup!" in my best Honeymooners imitation.

Well, my neighbors usually leave for work before I clean up manure, but I forgot that it was still early.  I heard the gate to their barn open and looked up to see my neighbor staring at me.  Oops.  He didn't make any effort to shut his dogs up -- he just looked at me with disgust for telling his dogs to shut up.  I was only slightly embarrassed with that social faux pas, because I do feel like I have the right to express my disdain over being barked at so early in the morning, especially when I am on my own property and those dogs have seen me out there doing barn chores every frigging day for the past two years.  I mean, my own dogs have become desensitized to the neighbors' dogs barking.  They totally ignore them now, so why can't their dogs get desensitized to me and my activities?

The horses finished their breakfasts, I cleaned up all the manure, I tacked up a horse, and P.S. was half an hour late.  I had time pressures, because the trash truck was going to be driving up the street any minute and I needed to be back in time for the vet appointment, so it was looking like we weren't going to be able to trail ride after all.

Then I remembered that this weekend is a holiday weekend, which means all the yahoos will be out on the trails, so I may not be able to trail ride safely until next week.  Some jerk cut the fence to the bridle trails and has been racing his quad around in there.  I hear his loud engine, see his tracks, and find the broken beer bottles he leaves behind.  I've also seen him riding along the side of the arroyo across three different properties, and he's torn up most of the vegetation.  I'm sure he doesn't have permission from all those people to ride on their properties.  They've got to be pissed that he's using their backyards for a motocross track.  Anyway, I'm sure he will be out this weekend terrorizing the neighborhood.

I have to take my opportunities to horseback ride while I can, so I made the decision to ride out, and figured that when P.S. showed up, she'd see that I was gone, and she would tack up Gabbrielle and ride out to meet up with me.  She had been saying that she wants to get Gabbrielle more practice riding out alone, and I knew she'd understand if I left without her.

Just then my horse Rock alerted on something.  I looked in the direction he was pointing and saw a coyote stalking some prey.  The coyote was so focused on his breakfast that he didn't pay any attention to us.  Rock continued to look all around the yard, so I figured he was seeing a whole pack of coyotes that I couldn't see.  Still, these horses see coyotes all the time, so I mounted up and headed out, leaving the bunnies to fend for themselves.

As I was riding across the street, I saw a white vehicle coming toward me.  P.S.'s truck is blue, so I knew it wasn't her.  I rode through the gate and the vehicle pulled in behind me at the trail head.  I looked over my shoulder the best I could after tweaking it by sleeping on it awkwardly, and looking into the sun, the vehicle appeared to be a white truck with a toolbox on the back.  I didn't know anyone who drove that vehicle, so I kept riding.

On the way out to the trails my posture is upright with active hands.

At one point I looked down and saw a bird sitting in the dirt right next to the trail, not moving a muscle.  Rock almost stepped on the bird, and it still didn't move.  Then I remembered the last time we rode that trail, P.S. said something about there being a gray bird with speckles just sitting in the dirt in that same place.  If the bird were wounded or dead, another animal would have eaten it by now, which led me to believe that it must be fake.  Now I want to hike out there to know for sure.

At another point I rode under the raven's nest, and Mama or Papa flew right overhead and landed in the nest to protect the babies.  I talked and squawked at it, and it talked and squawked back at me just like it does when it sits in my barn.

At another point I saw the flashing red and blue lights of emergency vehicles racing down a street without their sirens on.  It was rather surreal, and I wondered what was going on.  I still don't know.  It's hard to get news around here.

I headed back early to check to see if P.S. had arrived, but saw the trash truck making its rounds, so I kept riding out in the desert to give it time to get off my street.  As I was riding on a trail near my street, I saw what looked like P.S.'s truck driving away from my house.  I hoped she hadn't arrived late and then left just because I started without her.  Then I wondered if that white truck that pulled up behind me was actually her, and I just couldn't see clearly in my peripheral vision, and she thought I was angry with her for being late, and I was ignoring her on purpose.  Then I thought maybe her boyfriend needed the truck and had dropped her off at my house.  I turned around and rode back to the house thinking the trash truck had already came through my street, but once I got out in the road I saw that the trash hadn't been picked up yet, and I could hear the truck coming.  Crap.

Fortunately, I got Rock home and got off him before the trash truck began its ruckus of dumping cans into the back of it.  I'm sure he'd be fine with it, but I didn't want to take any chances since I was riding alone and I forgot to notify my husband that I was doing so.  I texted P.S. to find out what happened to her and got no response, which really made me worried.  I rationalized that her phone battery probably died since she had it out of her possession for so long, and there was a change of plans, but she couldn't call or text me to tell me so.  I have to train myself to not think the worst or I will go insane.  When I'm expecting someone to show up or contact me, and they don't, I get PTSD-like flashbacks to when my mother died.   So, I tried calming myself down by rationalizing that everything was fine.

On the way back I'm slumped in the saddle resting my hands on the horn.  I'm not sure what is so dang exhausting about horseback riding.

Then the vet didn't show up, and I began wondering if I was going crazy.  I double and triple-checked the time.  It was an hour and a half after my appointment, and still no vet.  I checked my calendar, and confirmed that I had the right day.  The vet's assistant usually calls me if she's going to be more than half an hour late, so I called her and she said she just found out that they were running late, and wouldn't get to my house for another hour.  Yikes!  Two and a half hours late.  That's nuts.  I had other things I needed to get done and had to cancel them, but I understand that doctors can't always stay on schedule.  I usually know better than to schedule more than one appointment on the same day, because even the shortest, simplest appointments can easily turn into all day fiascoes.

Well, three and a half hours passed from my original appointment time, and I still hadn't received any call from the vet's assistant keeping me up to date on what was going on.  The vet, the equine dentist, and his assistant ended up arriving nearly four hours late.  That's a record.  They apologized, but couldn't offer any explanation since they are good about keeping their other client's business confidential.  I always appreciate that.

Last year only two horses needed dental work.  This year all four needed work.  The lady I bought Rock from said he was up to date on his dental work, but the dentist said that he looked like he hadn't had his teeth floated in years.  I brought up his tongue, and they felt that the extreme indentation in it was not an injury from a bit, but was his normal anatomy.  I had started riding him bitless because I thought it was an old injury.  It turns out that it was probably good that I stopped using a bit with him, though, because of the condition of his teeth.  Plus, he's just such a mellow horse that he really doesn't need a bit.  The vet gave Rock less sedatives than she gave the Arabs, and he still almost fell over.  That's how mellow he is.  

The dentist showed me how to tell the age of a horse, and said that Rock is definitely seven years old.  It's amazing how the teeth change so much from one year to the next.

Bombay and Gabbrielle only needed light maintenance to grind down some points.  Lostine's mouth was beyond repair.  At her age, the dentist couldn't do much for her other than to try to keep her comfortable.  She's had a lot of dental work done over the years for step mouth and wave mouth, but it's at a point now where she doesn't have much left to grind down.  As long as she's eating, we're calling it good, and I'll probably have to learn how to pony her instead of riding her.

The vet said they are all in good shape and were very well behaved.  However, she thinks Lostine needs to gain a little weight, and she detected sand in Rock's intestines, so I have to give him psyllium on a daily basis for the next month or so.  

P.S. got a hold of me later and explained that she was okay.  Apparently, she had fallen back asleep after telling me she was coming, and then she didn't have any service for her phone all day.  I think I grew a few more gray hairs worrying about what happened to her, but other than that, everyone survived the day.


Cindy D. said...

Sometimes if vets or who ever are late I start questioning myself on if I even am waiting for them on the right day or if it was supposed to be a different time. I usually end up calling and they say "on my way, sorry." and I feel like a silly fool for hounding them for being a few minutes late. I don't think they beleive me when I try to explain that I have the worst memory ever and sometimes I just have to call to make sure I am actually supposed to be waiting for them!

Good for you for getting out there by yourself, I really miss riding in the early mornings.

fernvalley01 said...

Glad all was ok, I agree its tough when we schedule stuff and it all falls apart, but at least it worked out and you go to go for a nice morning ride