Thursday, July 17, 2014

Impulse Ride

Once I found out my neighbors' plans for moving out over the weekend, I kind of resigned myself to not riding until they were gone.  There was just too much noisy activity going on next to my arena and on the way out to the trails.  This is only temporary, but I was a bit bummed that we had another beautiful morning during all of this commotion.  I wanted the commotion to happen on a crappy weather with high temperatures kind of day.

Then I looked outside and saw P.S. saddling up.  I wasn't expecting her to come over.  It turned out that she saw what nice day it was too, only she didn't know about all the activity next door.  I was worried that Gabbrielle might give her some trouble.  Gabbrielle is spooky enough when she rides out alone, but to have her ride out alone while trucks are racing up and down the street and the neighbor's driveway, picking up and dropping large, noisy things, seemed to be a recipe for disaster.  Despite being ridden regularly, Gabbrielle is still a green horse.  P.S. is good about finding the perfect balance between exposing the horse to new and scary things and not taking major risks, but I still worry.

So, I impulsively saddled up Lostine.  She hadn't been ridden in months, but I used to trailer her out to busy parking lots all the time, and she does well with traffic, sudden movements and loud noises.  She did well with saddling and I took the time to lunge her so that the saddle could find that sweet spot on Lostine's old swayback, and she could work out any arthritic kinks she had going on in her joints.

While we were tacking up, one of those trucks that delivers and picks up freight car type storage units raced up the street to my neighbor's house.  Bad timing.  I was hoping the driver would finish his business quickly and move along before we rode out.  Then a loud diesel truck came racing up the neighbor's driveway from his barn out toward the street.  I looked around only to discover that P.S. and Gabbrielle were missing.  She had led Gabbrielle out into the street.  Next thing I knew I saw P.S. lunging Gabbrielle in circles on my driveway while these two trucks were making a ruckus a few feet away, and then just to add to the challenges, the mail carrier raced up the street and stopped to deliver mail to my box right next to Gabbrielle.  P.S. said that a bicyclist rode past them too, so she got hit with everything at once.

I led Lostine out to desensitize her to all the activity too.  Right when I was leading her toward the diesel truck, a woman popped up out of the bed of the truck.  She had been bending over tying down some stuff and took us all by surprise.  The horses' heads and ears popped to attention.  It suddenly hit me that I don't need a mounting block to get on Lostine since she's so short, so we led the horses out into the desert past all the trucks and people before mounting.

I tried to be quick and graceful in mounting, but Lostine clearly stated her dissatisfaction with having me on her back by jolting forward and spinning toward home while I was swinging my leg over her.  She had her ears pinned back and was ready to mow down Gabbrielle in order to get back to the barn.  I stopped her and leaned over to twist my stirrup onto my other boot, and she took off again.  Somehow it just doesn't bother me to be on a poorly behaved horse as long as it is a short, poorly behaved horse.  I can handle stepping off a 14.2 hand buck a lot easier than a 15 hand buck... and I don't mean a male deer.  I could tell that Lostine wanted to buck me off, but I don't think she has it in her anymore physically.  She's still that feisty redhead that she's always been, only now she's a bit more balance-challenged.

On our first attempt to ride back to the barn after our outing, we saw the diesel truck leave, and I thought, "Yay!  We're finally catching a break and experiencing some good timing."

No sooner did I have that thought, and here came the hydraulic truck with another storage unit.  We turned around and kept riding in the desert for a while, but by the time we returned to cross the street for home, both trucks were there.  The one driver had dropped off a new unit, and was backing up to pick up the other unit.

Lostine had been expressing discomfort by stretching her neck out and twisting her head.  At one point she slowed down a lot and just staggered around like the heat and her age were getting to her.

I realized that we could be out there riding all day in order to avoid a run-in with these trucks at the rate things were going, so we dismounted and led the horses past all that.  Of course, the horses were fine.  I have no doubt they would not have been fine had we tried to ride them past that, though.  Even though we are the same people on the ground as we are in the saddle, for some reason we are only trusted leaders when we are on the ground.  It's almost like the horses have to see someone in front of them walking past the scary object first before they will attempt it.

The truck driver was tilting the bed of his truck down and there were a bunch of people standing around when we walked past, but both horses were so exhausted from the ride that they just hung their heads low and plodded toward home.

I think all the trucks will be gone by the time of the horse trainer's next appointment, but this is one of those situations where we could use his help and bravery riding the horses past all that.  I might have tried it myself if I had soft footing to land on, but there was nothing out there but asphalt and my rock driveway.


Crystal said...

That's a lot of activity going on around there, but good for you guys to ride anyways. Now that I have Jessie I am not worried to take her anywhere and in turn it has made me a better rider and more confident, so much so that I hate getting off and when she seems worried about stuff I'm not worried about her so we just push our way through it.....hope it never causes trouble but so far so good.

Grey Horse Matters said...

Well it sounds like it all turned out okay in the end. That's a lot of commotion to deal with.

Laughing Orca Ranch said...

Wow! With so many vehicles racing past your house, it might be a good idea to get with your neighbors and petition for some speed bumps.


achieve1dream said...

I wish Lostine didn't have arthritis. You seem to really enjoy riding her even when she's being a dork. I'm finding I like the shorter horses now too hehe. You know Chrome is the first horse I've had that is more confident with me on the ground... Maybe it's just because he's green or maybe it's because I always had my sister to rode with when I was a kid so they got confidence from the other horse. Whatever it is I was very surprised the first time I rode Chrome out at how nervous he was. He's getting better and better though! I have to agree with you on the asphalt.... Better safe than sorry!