Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Technical Difficulties

The plumbing in my house is still giving me fits.  Two of our toilets run at random times, and despite having all the innards of its tank replaced and updated, one of them got worse.  I also found out that in the tub shower, you can no longer switch the flow from the tub faucet to the shower head and seal off the flow from the faucet.  I'm especially worried about the toilets running, because that kind of leak can burn out our well motor.

I asked the plumber who replaced our water heater a few weeks back to look at these other problems, and without even going inside the house he told me that we needed to replace our water softener system, and until we do that, our toilets will keep running.  I wasn't about to trust some guy who didn't even inspect my toilet tanks, so I called a different plumber with an honest reputation, and he immediately knew what was wrong with the two toilets and the tub shower.  He told me how to fix them myself and then said, "These are all easy fixes, and if I leave now, I won't charge you a dime for my advice."

Wow.  I was happy that he saved me about $1,750 -- the cost of a new water softener system, but I was also bummed that he didn't just fix everything for me so I could get on with my life.  He didn't have the right parts, though, and would have had to work the time he spent shopping for them into my bill, so I understand his decision.  Anyway, it's officially a no brainer which plumber I will call next time I have trouble.

My appointment was in the middle of the day, and I wanted so badly to go on a trail ride.  The clouds were covering the sun and there was a gentle breeze despite the forecast claiming it would be 106 degrees today.  But I didn't want to be rushed having to get back, because service people are notorious for showing up both early and late, completely out of the projected window of time for the appointment.  Sure enough, the plumber showed up half an hour early, so had I gone for a trail ride, I would have missed him.

I decided to take my chances on heading out on a horse after the plumber left.  The weather was still decent, but I kept getting caught up in other chores and by the time I put on my riding boots, the sun came out from behind the clouds.  Yuck.  Still, I pressed on.  I rode Bombay.

Flexing left 

 Flexing right

Looking for something to spook at

I saw this hilarious picture either on someone's blog or Facebook of two horses being ridden side-by-side from the rider's perspective, and one horse is saying to the other something like, "On the count of three, I'll start spooking and you start tripping all over the place."

It totally reminded me of Bombay (spooking) and Lostine (tripping).  I hadn't ridden Bombay in a while, but the horse trainer has ridden him a few times, so I was curious to see if there would be any difference in him.  When the horse trainer rides him out, Bombay's neck is long and low.  Most people would mistake him for being a Quarter Horse.  But as soon as I started saddling him up, the head shot straight up into the air, the eyes got wide, and he grew an extra hand in height.  I was like, "Seriously?  Why do I make you so nervous, horse?"

The first thing I did was something different.  I rode him up the driveway as usual, but then turned him around and headed back to the barn.  He was like, "WTH is going on?"  He anxiously looked around searching for something I was trying to get him away from, and he quivered a few times.  I rode him to the back of the property, dismounted, walked him back to barn, mounted, and started up the driveway again.  Dismounting gave me the chance to double check my helmet cam to make sure it was actually working this time.

While riding out, Bombay was on edge and I started thinking about how it takes a special person to ride an Arabian horse.  You can't show any nerves or doubt, because it will come through an Arabian horse ten times amplified.  I've ridden quite a few other breeds of horses, and most of them have been on autopilot.  But you have to constantly be communicating with an Arab or it will get very nervous thinking it is all alone, surrounded by a pride of invisible lions.

Here we heard an animal sound that was new to us.  It almost sounded like baby javelina, and I definitely got a bit nervous about it.  I haven't seen one of these wild pigs yet, but from what I hear, they can be vicious.  I didn't want to disturb a mama with her babies, so I urged Bombay to pick up the pace.  I think if I didn't keep tapping him with my spurs, he might have spooked and ran.

We rode under the raven couple's nest and I saw that the babies were flying now.

This saguaro cactus looks like a couple dancing from this angle.

I noticed that a large truck had been driving around on the trails and the tracks looked very fresh.  Coming upon the telephone poles, I saw that someone painted large red Xs in the dirt...

I had to correct myself, because my first reaction was, "Oh crap.  Bombay is going to see this strange marking in the dirt and throw a hissy fit."

But apparently my horse trainer is doing a good job with him, because he rode right past it without a concern.  I was concerned though, because usually red Xs in the dirt mark locations of future digging and construction.  I thought the desert was one place I could go without having to deal with that type of activity.  Bummer.

Then Bombay did his usual stunt of approaching the paddle cactus he used to spook at and trying to show how brave he is by attempting to take a bite out of it...

I spotted the cactus and figured out his intentions in time to steer him away.  I don't want to be on his back when he takes a bite out of a prickly cactus.  I'm glad he is confident around such things now, but his machismo efforts are going to get both of us in trouble.  Despite his habit of spooking, Bombay really is a tough gelding.  Everyone who sees him comments that he must get kicked around by the other horses a lot because he's all scarred up.  At any given time he's got at least half a dozen scabs peeling off his body from kicks and bites.  I have to explain to people that the problem is that he teases Rock and challenges him to duels constantly, and he thinks it's funny.  It's not like Rock just randomly beats him up.  Bombay pushes Rock to his limits, and even after Rock lashes out, Bombay comes back for more.  Fortunately, Rock is gentle enough that he never seriously injures Bombay or vice versa.

At one point we were approaching a newspaper lying in the middle of the trail.  Bombay has been pretty good with trash lately, as long as it isn't moving.  Wouldn't you know it -- right when we got up to it, a big wind came up and flipped the pages of the newspaper.  I quickly turned Bombay's head away from it and he looked off in the direction I was pointing his head, so he missed a potentially spooky moment.  In fact, he walked right over the newspaper.  I'm so glad the wind didn't blow it around his leg or something ridiculous like that.

Here I must have been micromanaging him through the gate.  Either that or the reins were stuck around the horn bag again and I was untangling them.  Never buy 11-foot loop reins unless you have a draft horse.  They're a nuisance.

When we got home, Bombay had a big spook sideways when a bird flew out from behind the horse trailer.  I was just about to swing my leg over and dismount, but because he spooked, I had to keep riding him.  I didn't want him to think he could get me off him by spooking.  It was tough riding him longer, because by now sweat was dripping off my forehead into my eyes, burning them and blinding me.  I'm going to have to start wearing a bandana or headband to soak up the sweat on my forehead.

My helmet cam took a timed photo after I dismounted and bent down to pick up my riding crop.  You can blow it up and see the bumper spurs I'm using...

I lunged Bombay in the round pen, and he kept avoiding one section by turning away.  I looked down and saw something on the ground.  Turned out it was one of my conchos and saddle strings.  I'm glad he didn't stomp on that silver concho.  I screwed it back onto his saddle, and put him back to work

Upon releasing Bombay into the horse paddock, Rock let his disgruntlement be known that I did not choose him to ride.  He walked up to Bombay and ripped the fly mask I just put on him right off his head.  Later I looked outside and saw the two of them gallivanting around, hopping like bunnies, rearing up and spinning their front legs in circles.  When Bombay tried rearing up and over the stall panel, I had to intervene before he got caught on it.  I searched high and low for his fly mask and found it in Lostine's water trough.  I made him wear it wet.  He was horrified at first, but then realized it was pretty cool.  Literally.

I almost wasn't able to upload these photos, because my laptop started malfunctioning.  I couldn't get the photo upload software to work, nor could I get it to recognize any old photos stored on my computer.  Then Windows Explorer totally crapped out and couldn't find anything.  Google Chrome was taking ten minutes to launch.  I thought perhaps I got a virus that was wiping out my hard drive.  I ran my malware detection program and it didn't find any viruses.  I researched error logs, but couldn't find any obvious problem, so I just kept rebooting.  Finally, everything came back on the last reboot.

Hopefully, that's the end of it, but if you don't hear from me for a while, it's probably because my computer is fried.  It shouldn't be.  I only bought it a few months ago.  But I do tend to run my computers into the ground.  Of course, this trouble had to begin right when I started working on writing the ending of my current novel.  I'd swear that novel is jinxed.  Every time I try to finish it, something happens to stop me.  The universe just doesn't want it to get published.


Crystal said...

Love the camera pics, I so need to get me one of those, trouble is I would want someone else to wear it so I could be in the pics.

Funny you say about riding an arab, I don't think I ever have not a lot around here, but my neighbors first horse was an arab and she was awesome, just did whatever and he learned, lol (nothing bad, just always something) My paint horse is kinda like that, not very brave and if you are scared she is 100 times worse and she just wants to run, but so much fun when shes not scared.

Cindy D. said...

May I ask why you ride with your halter on under your bridle? Not implying that it is right or wrong in anyway, just curious about the reasoning behind it. I see some other people do it to and have always wondered.

fernvalley01 said...

Sounds like a decent ride, glad the plumbing fix is a cheaper one

lytha said...

About the reins - my new ones were way shorter than expected, but I've now learned that I prefer them. I lead or tail my horse with the rope anyway, and I like that I never have to find my reins, and that there is no long loop getting tangled around my pommel bag. I clip the end to the saddle and they are short enough that the horse can just barely reach the ground to graze, but they aren't in danger of getting stepped on. All my life I thought I needed long reins.

So in your opinion does it help to have a trainer ride Bombay out or does Bombay have different behavior repetoires for you and the trainer? I'm trying to decide if I want to hire someone to just ride my horse out there without me.

I think I've eliminated the balking finally, but I certainly have a lot of OH GOD OH GOD WE'RE ALL GONNA DIE instances that aren't going away, making trail riding a chore, not a pleasure.

Dreaming said...

Love the pictures with the helmet cam!

Nuzzling Muzzles said...

Cindy D - For the horses that wear bits, I keep the halter on with the lead rope looped around the saddle horn so that if I have to dismount and lead the horse at any point during the trail ride I won't be pulling on the bit by leading with the reins. Also, should your bridle break, you can still ride bitless with the halter.

lytha - I was actually thinking about you while on this ride, wondering if Bombay and Mara would feed off each other's spookiness. I think it is a little of both regarding the horse trainer -- the horse is always better for him, but I see improvements when I ride as well. You'd have to find a trainer who will take Mara on trail rides and to unfamiliar locations, though. Arena work doesn't translate to the trails. I have shorter reins, but just forget to swap them out with the long ones before riding.

lytha said...

OK then, that helps me decide. I will text Mell and beg/plead with her to come out ANYTIME and just ride my horse. Hopefully the ANYTIME thing will actually get her out here, but I can't count on it.

Unfamiliar trails? Oh, Mara has such huge issues with our own backyard, and our most commonly used trail, and the street we live on, that won't be a total necessity at this point! (But better still, you're right.)

Glad to hear you were thinking of me. Funny how when we ride we remember what other bloggers are going through.

Did you see that video I made of Mell trying to get Mara to walk by a scary van ---directly in front of our field where Mara lives? *shakes head*

achieve1dream said...

Those are interesting spurs! I've never seen that kind. If I decide Chrome ever needs encouragement I might have to try that kind.

I'm glad Bombay is improving. Your trainer sounds so awesome.

On your computer have you tried an adware program? I know malware programs will remove viruses but not sure about adware. I hope you figured it out!