Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Summertime Chores

The morning began with a dingle-berry.

Sounds like a great beginning for a novel, doesn't it?

The dingle-berry led to me giving Midge a bath and then shaving the fur off her butt.  That was followed up with a trail ride.  Our horse trainer was just telling us a story about how he was riding with a client, and his client's horse spooked at some cows.  The client decided to approach the cows from a different angle, but started out by turning his horse toward home.  The horse bolted for the barn, and the horse trainer's horse took off after him, and then fell in a ditch on top of him.  Everyone was okay, but his experience reminded us that when our horses are terrified of something, we should be conscious of what direction we turn them toward.

Right after discussing that, we came upon a very large tractor moving dirt around.  I was frustrated, because the horses were tense and I realized I overshot our trail, which meant we had to turn back toward home to find the intersection to that trail.  I didn't want to do it while the horses were scared of the tractor.  Here they are fixated on it...

We stopped and watched it for a while and then just cut across the desert off trail at an angle away from home to head toward the trail I was searching for, and only when the horses relaxed did we turn toward home to actually join up with that trail.

At one point Gabbrielle walked over a bush and got hung up with it underneath her belly.  We decided that she did it on purpose because she had an itch.

I worked really hard on getting Rock to walk down and up hills, but he didn't want to cooperate.  Ever since I started the horses on pellet supplements to fatten them up, all they want to do is run and buck and play.  At one really steep hill, I just stopped Rock and made him study it before descending.  He did pretty well carefully picking his way down it, but blew right through my cues and ran up the other side.

P.S.'s mobile phone alarm sounded, and she needed to stop to turn it off so that it wouldn't keep beeping.

Rock made it clear that he did not want to hold still and wait, even for a few seconds.  He kept walking off and when I commanded him to stay put, he threw his head around so much that if he threw it any higher, he would have broken my nose.  He wasn't responding to my rein cues or my verbal reprimands, so I slapped him on the neck.

I can't believe my camera took a picture right in that very second.  Anyway, the slap did stop him from throwing his head around, but he was clearly offended.  He normally is so well behaved that he doesn't need to be disciplined.  I had forgotten how sensitive he is about people raising a hand at him, so for the next 5 minutes or so, he made sure that my ride was unpleasant.  He hunched up his back like he was going to launch me, and kept dipping his head down to the dirt like he was trying to get it between his front legs so he could buck.  Then he was just taking weird strides and kept running up on Gabbrielle's butt, which was causing her to pin her ears back and threaten to kick.  I'd correct him to hang back, and he'd get all emotional about it.  He was acting so oddly that I almost dismounted, because I thought he injured himself tripping over a rock or something.

However, once it was clear we were headed home, he relaxed.  I gave him some water...

Sort of.  He asks for it, but doesn't drink it.  He just waits for me to pour it on his muzzle, and then he pulls away.  He likes the game of it, I guess.

When I brushed him, he was sensitive under his right armpit, so maybe he did pull a muscle or perhaps had a burr stuck in his cinch that had been poking him.

I do think I will ask the horse trainer to work with Rock on standing still and not throwing his head around in the future since Bombay has been doing so well tackling scary obstacles in unfamiliar locations with him.

My hay stack finally got low enough that we could move the hay out, clean the pallets, and order fresh hay, but I knew I couldn't do all that work by myself in this heat, so I offered to pay for P.S.'s next horsemanship lesson if she'd help me clear out the hay barn.  She ended up doing most of the work.  I was red in the face and my heart was thumping through my chest after just hauling a couple of bales out.

We stirred up a bit of hornet's nest of animals by cleaning out the hay barn.  First we had to relocate a bunch of quail eggs.

This was the nest we found them in.  Once we moved them all out of the barn and under a bush, there were 25 eggs in all.

One really large iridescent lizard came out of the pallets when we disturbed his home.  At first we thought he might be the iguana, but the iguana was bigger and had a humped back with spines sticking off the top of it.

We found broken quail eggs and a snake skin nearby.  It looked like the head of the snake.  When I saw the rattlesnake go under the pallets, we were worried it might hang there a while to shed.

 There was a slightly smaller lizard flitting around...

Then we came upon a Western Banded Gecko.  I normally don't pick up wildlife, but this one kept running back into the pile of hay we were raking up and we didn't want to maim it with our rakes.  I let it crawl around on my jeans until I could feel pinching and it appeared to be headed for my crotch.

I tried carrying it without dropping it, but it was quite squirmy.

I eventually got it to a safer location.

Special thanks to P.S. for helping me out with this hard job on such a hot day, and for taking pictures when my hands were full.


fernvalley01 said...

I got uncomfortable just thinking about working in that heat! yay for good young helpers!

lytha said...

aagh, get it off me, get it off!: )

Cheryl Ann said...

Oh, 25 quail eggs! There is a family up at the ranch, but between crows, jays, lizards (no snakes, I hope!), the little quail don't survive very long...maybe that's why they have so many eggs? I'll be heading up there either Thursday or Friday...still recouperating from our Tahoe/June Lake trip! Yes, we even stopped at Walker Burger TWICE!
Cheryl Ann

Cheryl Ann said...

Oh, I love geckos! We have a family of them that lives somewhere out behind the kitchen window and every night two of the adults are on the window searching for moths! They make little chirping sounds! I don't use pesticides at all now and I see quite a few of the little guys around here. By the way, it was 104 here yesterday, but dry.

Brenda said...

I just love when you post about the wildlife in your area. 25 quail eggs, wow. That poor mama quail trying to lay all them suckers. hahaha. I'm glad you were able to bribe P.S. into helping you. This heat is not something you want to work hard in, for sure.

achieve1dream said...

That Gecko is so cool!!!!

I haven't been tolerating the heat as well as I used to either... or the humidity might be the actual problem. Either way between the heat, humidity and mosquitoes I've just been hiding indoors. I'm glad P.S. could help you clean out the hay barn. I can't even imagine doing that in the heat.

I know you said that longeing the Arabians just works them up, but would it help calm Rock down before a ride? Just to burn off some of the energy from the new feed? Might be worth a try. :)

Nuzzling Muzzles said...

WTH? I just went to my own blog and was forced to watch a full screen advertisement before I could even view my blog. Something really ridiculous has been going on with the Internet over the past few days.

Cindy D. said...

That is a cute pic of you in your hat with the gecko. I like it.

I could be wrong but I don't think rattlers shed full skins like most snakes. I think they only loose single scales.

I am curious what kind of supplement you decided on. I went to the ADM low starch, high fiber because it is a fair price and doesn't make my horses hot, but boy howdy their feet sure are growing now. I can hardly keep up with them.

Nuzzling Muzzles said...

Cindy D - I took BEC's list of recommended products into a feed store, and they didn't have some while the ladies at the counter discouraged me from using others due to their own experiences with them. They swore by Safe Choice for my purposes, so I got Safe Choice Senior, which was low in sugar, but high in fat and protein. I've had horse trainers tell me not to feed grains and supplements to my horses because they do get so hot and unmanageable, but making sure their ribs aren't sticking out has been a higher priority recently. The Safe Choice Senior did work in fattening everyone up, though I don't think I will ever stop Rock and Lostine's ribs from showing. It just seems to be Rock's build, and Lostine is a senior horse, so she's got swayback and is probably going to be ribby no matter what I do.