Sunday, January 4, 2015

Getting Some Exercise

It's finally warming up and I had a bit of cabin fever, so I took Lostine for a walk.  I live on a dead end road.  I can usually see cars coming from the open end as long as they aren't down in a ditch, but I can't see cars coming from the closed end of the street at all because of a steep drop off.  The last two houses at the end of the street have more than a dozen cars, trucks, and trailers between them, and these people drive a lot.  There is more traffic coming to and from their two houses than all other houses on the street combined.  One man owns multiple businesses and had a different truck for each business, so he's constantly coming and going to jobs.

Anyway, I was leading Lostine across the street near the drop off when one of the quieter cars popped up out of the blind spot, and the driver was going way too fast to be able to stop in time.  I had to make a split decision on whether to try to pull Lostine quickly to the far side of the road or go back to where we came from.  I decided it would be easier to push her than to pull her, so I rammed my shoulder into hers and pushed her back to the side we came from.  The driver waved as if to thank me for yielding to him, and he blasted past us just a couple of feet away.  Lostine didn't pay any attention to the car.  She was too busy looking out into the desert, probably for horses.

I led her on a trail that passed the two houses piled with vehicles, and a rooster crowed repeatedly at us.  Lostine was wary, so it took some coaxing to get her to keep moving forward.  We found a trail that I had always thought was just a tributary carved out by water, but people have been piling rocks up at the trail intersections to mark them.  Since it was marked as a trail, we followed it and wound up next to a weather station.  We found a gate.  It appeared to lead into a private backyard, so I didn't go through it, but in that yard I saw the biggest stack of hay covered by the biggest tarp I've ever seen.  There were a bunch of horses in corrals nodding their heads at us.

Then I took Bombay out for a walk, and we passed the same two horseback riders that took Rock by surprise on our ride the other day.  I made Bombay walk while gawking, because I am determined to get all of my horses to stop locking up every time they see another horse on the trails.  He did a good job, so he got his pets and pats.  As we were on our way home, it suddenly hit me that he hadn't spooked once on the entire hike.  I turned toward him to praise and pet him, and right then he jumped straight up in the air, slamming down hard on some bedrock and splitting his right front hoof.  Argh!

I'm hoping the neighborhood kids will be going back to school this week, because the race car driver's kids and their friends were playing in and under that tree in my backyard all day.  I think they tried to build a tree house in it, because they had a hammer and several planks of wood.  They made a game out of throwing a plank of wood at each other while the other kid tried to hit it in mid-air with a hammer -- an odd and dangerous way to play baseball, I guess.  Of course, the kids were totally unsupervised.  The dads came home from a race with their car, and said something about their B-B gun.  I thought, "He better not be telling them to get their B-B gun and shoot rabbits in my yard again."  I went outside, and he called the kids into the house.  We're probably going to get a land surveyor out to mark the property line, because we were told by another neighbor that the race car driver thinks he owns part of our land, and that's probably why he lets his kids play there.

The funny thing is that the other biggest trespasser on our property -- the lady who walks her horse by hand, showed up and tried sneaking down into the arroyo, but the kids were up in the tree and they scared her horse, so she had to take the public trail.  Her horse kept gawking and locking up like my horses do, and she kept stopping to look around to see what it was the horse was reacting to.  I realized that by doing that, we are letting the horse be in control.  So, even though I appreciate it when my horses alert on and warn me of things I can't see, I'm going to insist that they keep moving anyway.  Hopefully, what they sense won't be a bear or mountain lion, because then I would feel really bad about making them walk into it.

Scrappy is doing better.  The first day he was home from the hospital, he just slept all day and could barely walk when we forced him to go outside to try to go potty.  He refused to eat anything and was already quite weak from not eating for several days.  Then this morning my husband went to the market, got chicken and rice, and cooked it up for Scrappy.  Happily, he ate that, and it gave him enough strength to get up for short periods of time during the day.  He is wising up to the pill and paste routine with his medications, so I'm having to get creative in how to administer them.  He will not open his mouth for me, and if I get a finger in there, he chomps down on it.  Taking care of sick horses is so much easier than taking care of sick dogs.

A month ago my doctor put me on a special diet to deal with a repetitive health problem, and I finally remembered to take the list of foods I'm supposed to be eating with me to the market this weekend.  Some of the foods I did not expect to like, but I do.  Others I would rather avoid because they just seem to make me hungrier after I eat them, and my goal is to lose weight, not gain more.  I'm also trying to get a minimum of an hour of deliberate exercise outside of my normal routine each day.  The biggest challenge with that is simply to remember.  It's so easy to get wrapped up in taking care of the dogs and horses, and before I know it, the day is over and I forgot to exercise.  Fortunately, walking the horses counts, and I got in well over an hour today.


Katharine Swan said...

"Her horse kept gawking and locking up like my horses do, and she kept stopping to look around to see what it was the horse was reacting to. I realized that by doing that, we are letting the horse be in control."

Not only that, but by stopping and looking yourself, you're confirming to the horse that it's something to be concerned about! I definitely approve of insisting that they keep moving.

I'm glad Scrappy is feeling better. Chicken and rice, or ground beef and rice, are meals that we use too when our dog has an upset tummy!

lytha said...

What you said about that lady and her horse gawking reminded me of one of my favorite Warwick Schiller vidoes:

Forgive me if I've showed you before. Hopefully you'll be amused.

Dreaming said...

I've been so busy I haven't been able to keep up with blog reading, so it was very interesting catching up with what is going on in your life.
I'm glad Scrappy is doing better. He certainly lives up to his name. I used to enjoy walking my horses as I did realize it was great for me, too. I feel the same way about the dogs now... when the weather is yucky, I keep telling myself it is all good... more steps toward my 10,000 step goal for each day.
Take care. Be healthy. Have a great New Year!

Nuzzling Muzzles said...

Katharine - There are two philosophies in the gawking department. I was taught to acknowledge whatever the horse is concerned about, supposedly because if you can look and show that you are not concerned about it, the horse will relax, but after watching this lady make so little progress on her walk, I was hoping I don't look like her when I walk my horses and stop to acknowledge what they are sensing. I just decided the only way to get my horses to keep moving to our destination or for the purpose of exercise is to not subscribe to that philosophy anymore.

Nuzzling Muzzles said...

Lytha - No, you haven't showed that to me before. That was a very entertaining video. You know, I do what he suggests with my dogs when they are distracted, but not with the horses, because I just want to keep going down the trail in the direction we were headed, but I'm going to start working on changing directions every time the horse pauses to gawk or sniff manure or eat something. I just hope that by pulling the horse away from something it is concerned about, I'm not communicating that we are moving away because it is something to be scared of.

Nuzzling Muzzles said...

Dreaming - Good to hear from you. I can't take my dogs for walks in the desert because of all the thorns and because my dogs are so small and old and slow. It would be like walking a tortoise, so we just take our walks in our backyard.

Katharine Swan said...

Hmm -- that sounds like people logic to me, though, not horse logic. At least with my horses, if they're unconcerned with something, they don't even look. The only time they stop everything to look is if it's something they're concerned about, so if I stop everything to look, my body language presumably says I'm worried about it too, even if I am otherwise relaxed.

achieve1dream said...

I'm glad Scrappy is feeling better! I have used the chicken and rice when my dogs didn't feel good. Pumpkin works great for diarrhea and even constipation if that makes sense lol.

I hope Bombay's hoof is okay. How bad did it split? Is Gabrielle all better from her abscess?

I'm glad you're getting your walking in. I really need to get back to walking or biking!

Nuzzling Muzzles said...

achieve1dream - Yeah, you recommended pumpkin to me a while back and I keep it on hand, but none of my dogs will eat it. Each time one of them gets a tummy ache, I put some in the bowl, but they eat around it or won't touch the bowl at all. Chicken and rice is one of those things we have to make a special trip to the market to get, so I'm kind of bummed that they won't go for the pumpkin. I don't know if the markets are open on holidays. Considering that this wasn't just diarrhea, but masses of blood, we just took him straight to the vet after the holidays.

Bombay's hoof didn't split too bad. I'm just annoyed that he's so self-destructive. The horse is covered in scars. I'm going to try to re-size some Renegades for him today.

I lunged Gabbrielle yesterday and she's still a little lame on the left front. I should be able to ride her soon, but I also need to check the fitting on her Renegades so they don't rub the hair off her heels.

achieve1dream said...

Yeah with the blood I would definitely have taken him to the vet too. Jackal doesn't like the pumpkin either but if I mix it with chicken or something he will usually eat it. I'm glad all the critters are feeling better. Good luck with the renegades.