Wednesday, November 19, 2014

A Unique Adventure

Today's trail ride was rather fun in an unusual way.  Whenever Rock and I come across trouble on the trail, he usually takes it all in stride.  I always wonder if the outcome would have been different had I chose to ride a different horse that day.  This was one of those days.

Upon approaching the street, a home shopper came up the road to look at my neighbor's house.

He started to pull into the turnout at the trail head, and I said to myself, "Oh, please don't park there."

Some people will park right in front of the gate to the bridle trails and block my entrance and exit.  Almost as if he heard me or thought better of his actions, he pulled around in my neighbor's driveway instead.  He was just doing a drive by, so I stopped to let him pass.  He waved to me.  Rock was perfectly fine with having a strange car drive just feet in front of him with a hand waving out the window.  I think it helps that the last several times a truck has pulled up next to the barn, it contained treats for the horses.  So, now all the horses run to the fence to greet vehicles.

The next adventure happened as we were heading for trail where we last ran into the trotting shirtless cowboy with his dog.  I could see that Rock was anticipating running into him, so I decided to take that trail to prove to Rock that the trotting shirtless cowboy and his dog do not actually live on it.  He usually rides mid to late mornings, and this was the afternoon.

Wouldn't you know it, when we reached the spot where we usually run into him, Rock came to a halt because we heard voices rising up over the hill.  They were women's voices, and by the volume, I guessed they were on horseback and not hikers.  Hikers usually stay closer together and don't have to yell so loud.  Sure enough, a couple of ladies on horseback appeared.  Their horses' heads shot up in surprise when they ran into us, and the lady in front started laughing, probably to settle her horse down and let know that everything is okay.

They asked me if I had seen an over-under.  I figured it was some kind of tool, but wasn't familiar with the term, so she made a whipping movement from wither to wither to help me understand.  I said, "Oh, like quirt."  She said yes.  I said I hadn't, but I would keep an eye out for it.  I asked if they ride in this area often, and they said yesterday was their first time.

Yesterday the city had blocked off a bunch of gates to the bridle trails for maintenance, so riders, hikers and bicyclists were detoured to other locations.  I asked how I could get the over-under to them should I find it.  They said not to worry about it, because it was a shoddy old piece of equipment with duct tape on it.  But it must have been something they liked and used if they were out looking for it, so I said maybe I could hang it on a gate if I find it.  We agreed upon which gate.

During our discussion, the Paint mare inched her way forward into Rock's face and they sniffed noses.  Rock is notorious for flirting with girls and causing a ruckus depending on where the mares are in their heat cycles.  He's a bit of a Don Juan in the equine world.  So, I told the other rider that Rock is a gelding, but sometimes he can act like a rig.  She pulled her mare away and said, "Well, I should probably move along because my mare is a slut.  She lets my gelding mount her."

I spent the rest of the ride trying to cover as many trails as possible to look for the over-under.  Rock got a little wary about a saguaro cactus that recently fell over, and he cut a wide wake around it.

It was rather odd looking.  The cactus had a lot of branches, so when it fell, it folded in on itself and looked as if someone chopped it up and left a pile of saguaro stalks.

At one point Rock kept pulling left and I kept pushing him back to the center of the trail.  I don't like it when the horses hug the sides of the trails, because there are cholla balls and rattlesnakes in the bushes.  Anyway, he was being a bit of a stinker, trying decide where he was going to walk, and I was having to pull the reins quite hard because he started ignoring my leg cues.

I should have just looked around us instead of fighting him and assuming he was acting barn sour.  This behavior went on for maybe a quarter of a mile, and when I got to the spot where I wanted to turn around, Rock spun hard and fast.  While he was spinning, I was thinking, "He feels like he's going to run for the barn."

But then he stopped and stuck his nose out, and right there in front of his face, where his tail had just been, stood a coyote.  Rock poked at it with his nose, and it jumped to the side.  I burst out laughing, because I realized that this coyote had been stalking us for the past quarter mile, and that's what Rock was trying to tell me with his stubborn behavior.

I said to the coyote, "You can't eat a horse!  You're too little.  What were you thinking?"

It didn't run from my voice, but just stood a few feet away alternating between looking at me and probably looking at other coyotes in its pack.  Amazingly, I got some pictures.  GoPro saves the day again.

The coyote was probably only about five feet away here, but the camera makes it look more like twenty feet.  When we rode off, it started to follow us again, but then changed its mind.  Every time I run into a coyote like this that has no inhibitions around people and horses, I wonder what it would take to tame it.  But then I remind myself that I already own too many dogs and the wildlife is best left to the wild.  They have such pretty faces with glowing amber eyes.

Yesterday a man in the feed store was looking for some ointment like Swat to put around wounds, because his goat had been attacked by coyotes.  That must mean the coyotes are mighty hungry this year.  There aren't many rabbits.  I think I only have seen two desert cottontails in my backyard, and I usually see dozens of them.  Food supply must be short.  We have a few neighbors who keep roosters and chickens, and I always hope they have them well protected in a strong enclosure.

I never did find the over-under, but it was fun giving Rock the job of looking for it.  We did find a full water bottle that probably fell out of someone's bag, though.

When we got home, look who knocked over my water bottle and tried to stomp on it...

Who?  Me?  I didn't do anything.

He forgets that I've got a camera on my head recording his every move.  (Insert evil laugh here.)


Brenda said...

That was nice of you to keep an eye out for the over-under thing even though she'd told you it was old and no big loss. I had to look it up because I'd never heard of it before. Kind of like a crop?

The shots of the coyote is pretty cool and I'm glad he wasn't an issue on your trail ride. It makes me sad they don't have much food around but it's good for the few bunnies that are around. It's kind of a double-edged sword.

achieve1dream said...

Wow those coyote picture are so cool!!! It's amazing they get that close.

This sounds like such a fun ride and I totally got a giggle out of Rock and your water bottle. Oh and the lady with the slutty mare lol.