Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Season of the Ants

Every season is different from both the last season and the same season of the previous year around here.  There's always at least one animal or weed that becomes a nuisance.  This has been the season of the ants.  We have anthills everywhere on our property, and from what I discovered while out riding today, there are plenty of anthills on the trails as well.  I've observed a wide variety of ants, and they all seem to have one thing in common:  They bite.  Hard.  It seems the smaller they are, the harder they bite, and the little shits will run in circles on your foot or your leg and keep biting you repeatedly until you squash them.

We think my husband is allergic to them, because while my bites hurt at first and then itch for a little bit, his bites turn into full-on raging volcanoes that turn red and angry and itch for weeks afterward.  I have one trail of ants going through the barn, and they breed faster than I can spray them with poison.  Of course, they walk right at the gate where we have to stop to open and close it.  If you stop for a second, they swarm all over your feet and get in your shoes and pants.

Anyway, while Rock and I were out trail riding, I had to do a lot of steering around anthills, large rocks and cholla balls recently deposited on the trails by the rains, broken glass and rusty nails sticking out of wood that was dumped out in the desert by... well, insert your favorite bad name here.

I wore my new equestrian protective vest for the first time.  It's a Charles Owen JL9 Vest.  It's bulky, but lightweight with good ventilation.  It has cooling fabric and I only became aware of it feeling hot when I was in direct sunlight with no breeze.  Otherwise, it didn't hinder my movement or make me feel like I had to rip it off of me before I passed out.  When I got home, I found that my pink shirt underneath had soaked all the way through with sweat, but I think the moisture helped keep me cool.

While tooling around I began thinking that since the ride was so uneventful, I wouldn't have anything to blog about.  Then Rock slammed on his brakes and threw his head up high in the air...

I watched in the direction he was pointing, and a shirtless cowboy in a cowboy hat came trotting out of the bushes toward us.  He began whistling loudly, so I knew he had a dog with him.  As the man, horse and dog trotted closer and closer, Rock began looking around for either an escape route or for whatever everyone was running from.  That's why I had the reins tight.  He felt like he might bolt.

I moved Rock off to the side of the narrow trail to let them pass.  I thought the cowboy would slow to a walk while passing, but he didn't.  Then I realized this was the same guy who nearly caused me to have a wreck on Bombay last fall.  He waved and I said hello.  He asked how my ride was going.  I said good.  His dog made a beeline for Rock, and just like a good herding dog, ran right behind his tail to sniff at his heels.  The guy realized that Rock was getting nervous, so he apologized.  I knew Rock could handle the stimulation, and I could handle Rock, so I wasn't as concerned as I would have been riding any other horse.

Once the man got control of his dog and trotted past, I squeezed Rock to continue in the direction we were headed, but he spun quickly and began trotting after the cowboy's horse.  I said, "Ehh ehh ehh" in my loud voice, and pulled him back in the other direction.  He immediately settled down and said, "Oh, okay."

I had hoped the camera would have gotten a shot of that incident, but it didn't.

By the time we got home, my forehead was pouring down sweat and I had to keep wiping it away.  Still, I'll take temperatures in the 80s and 90s any day over the triple digits we've had since June.


Kristen said...

Glad you didn't have another spill, and that you worked through that tense situation. Sometimes other people are just a little clueless, especially the male variety.

achieve1dream said...

Good boy Rock!!