Thursday, November 6, 2014

Lostine, The Wonder Machine

Lostine has been in good form lately, so I decided to ride her while I can.  I hate to ride my husband's horse every single day, Bombay is on the disabled list, and I'd like to ride Gabbrielle out on the trails with another horse and rider before attempting to ride her out alone, because I just don't feel solid when I ride her, and I know she still gets nervous when ridden out alone.  Our bodies are not a good fit for each other.  She's lean and tall and wobbly while I'm short and fat and wobbly.  She teeters while I totter.

So, I saddled up Lostine, but I couldn't seem to slide the saddle into a spot on her back that was comfortable for her.  I decided to lunge her at the trot to let the saddle slide into the best position, and then tighten the cinch.  The only problem was that Lostine's one-sided stubbornness got the best of me.  She is only willing to go clockwise.  When I turned her counter clockwise, she just turned right back around to go clockwise.  So, I stomped toward her and whacked the ground with the lead rope to firm up my stance and let her know that the direction is not negotiable, and that sent her into a tizzy.  She was a galloping fool, racing all over the place, tripping, falling, crashing into the railing, but when all the was said and done, the saddle found that sweet spot and I was able to tighten the cinch.

Once at the mounting block, Lostine was having her usual issue of not being able to hold still once I put my foot in the stirrup, so I had to keep making her work and then letting her rest next to the mounting block.

Just when I was about to mount successfully for our trail ride, a moving truck pulled up in front of my neighbor's house, followed by the mail truck making its rounds.  I could hear my neighbor hollering out directions to the driver to be careful not to hit her mailbox, which was kind of funny because when we moved in, our movers did mow down her mailbox and they had to pay her so that she could replace it.

This is my old neighbor who already moved out.  I think she flew in to wrap up some business, but what is odd is that this is at least the second moving van to come by this week, and I know she didn't have that much furniture left to clear out.  I'm kind of wondering if she's moving back in since they can't sell the house.  I don't know.  I haven't been able to talk to her yet.  I'm just glad that she didn't bring her pack of barking guard dogs along with her.  The race car driver finally hit the road and I had a couple of weeks of complete peace and quiet, so it makes total sense that the other noisy neighbor would suddenly reappear.

Anyway, I knew I could ride Lostine past the moving truck, but wasn't confident that she would remain calm if they were loading or unloading furniture and making a lot of loud, sudden noises.  Since I'd most likely get dumped on the gravel or pavement should she panic, I decided to be safe, rather than sorry, and I led her up and across the street past the moving van.

Note that objects are closer in real life than they are on the GoPro wide angle setting.

Once out in the desert, I looked for a ditch that would give me a big enough boost to help me mount her.  She's only 14.2 hands high, but I am so out of shape that I just can't haul my own butt up into the saddle without a pretty high platform.  As usual, it took a lot of work to get Lostine to hold still for me.

The first ditch was too shallow, so we walked further until I found a pile of gravel that someone had dumped off to the side of the trail.  It wasn't tall enough, so I stacked a couple of rocks on top of it...

Still I couldn't get myself up there.  Of course the gravel mound was right next to a fallen saguaro that worried my horse, so I just kept insisting that she relax and hold still.

We tried a couple more ditches that were too shallow, and the more that I walked, the weaker my legs got.  At first I could get my foot in the stirrup, but couldn't hop high enough to get the other leg over.  Toward the end of our walk, I couldn't even get my foot in the stirrup.

We came across a cut down telephone pole, and Lostine urged me to stand on it...

But it was too tall for me to climb on.  I needed a mounting block just to get on the telephone pole.  That was right about that time that I began thinking of getting permission from the city to haul in one super large boulder for each section of the desert for people to use as natural mounting blocks.  In the past, I considered hiding a fold up stool in the bushes somewhere, but there are just too many people out there, so I'm sure it wouldn't stay put.

We began heading back home, and I was feeling frustrated that I didn't get my trail ride. I was trying to remain positive, telling myself that is was a good lesson for Lostine, because she finally stopped moving off each time I put my foot in the stirrup to attempt to mount.  All wasn't lost, because she learned to be still.

Just as we got to the trail that leads to the street, Lostine turned in front of me and positioned herself in a ditch while I was standing on a ledge.  I looked down at the stirrup and realized that we were now positioned at the same height as my mounting stool back home.  I'd swear that Lostine knew that this particular location would work, and she was encouraging me to mount.  So, I climbed on.

Right then it hit her that I would not want to keep heading home, but would want to head back out, so she started scurrying toward home before I got my other foot in the stirrup.  The reins were too long and I kept getting my foot stuck in the reins instead of the stirrup.  I had to practically pin her nose to her chest to get her to stop, and then I had to lean all the way over to twist the stirrup onto my boot.  Some days are made just to challenge us.

I did make her head out again, because they were relocating the moving truck.

We rode for a while and upon returning, another neighbor had a dump truck coming onto his property dumping dirt.  That made quite a ruckus, so between the moving van and the dump truck, I decided to dismount and lead Lostine the rest of the way home.  All was good, because Lostine learned to hold still for the mount, I learned that my horse is a lot smarter than she looks and in some cases is smarter than me, I got to go on my trail ride, one neighbor got to move her stuff, another neighbor got to dump some dirt, and no one got hurt despite us doing all of that at the same time.


Camryn said...

Perhaps your hubby could cut the top off that pole? My mare hates dumping dump trucks big time.

Nuzzling Muzzles said...

Camryn - That's not a bad idea. I'll see if he's got a cordless chainsaw. Hopefully, it's not illegal to tamper with the power company's trash.

fernvalley01 said...

what a sweet old soul she is

achieve1dream said...

She is so gorgeous. I love her head and neck in that first picture. I'm glad you got to ride even if it was short. :-)