Tuesday, September 8, 2015


I'd swear that the universe does not want me to sell Gabbrielle, because every effort that I have made just to put together a sale ad for her has been thwarted.  I spent the entire holiday weekend trying to create one little freaking ad, and everything has gone wrong.

First, I bathed her for a photo shoot, and she acted like she had never had a bath before.  When she saw the water flowing below her feet, she nearly fainted.  I mean all four legs buckled under her and she started going down, and at the last second before collapsing into the mud puddle, she jumped upright.  Then my nosy neighbor drove past and Gabbrielle swung her hind end into me, nearly knocking me down, while turning to look at the neighbor's car, and I smacked her on the hip to make her aware of my space, and of course, my nosy neighbor slammed on her brakes to watch me smack my horse.  That lady has seen so many things out of context that I can only imagine what is going through her head.  She must think I'm a total animal abuser, which couldn't be further from the truth.

Then once Gabbrielle dried after her bath, I attempted to do a photo shoot, but Gabbrielle refused to put her ears forward, arch her neck and tail, stand square, and keep her eyes open.  I took nearly 100 shots, and not a single one will work for a sale ad.  I mean, I could use some of them, but I'd probably be made fun of by people who blog about bad sale horse photos.  For the price I will be asking for her, these photos have to look professional, and Gabbrielle has to look like the pure bred Arab that she is.  Right now she looks like a run down grade trail horse who is pissed off at her owner for selling her.  I think it is funny how in the Arabian horse world, a young, untrained hyper-spooky beautiful horse from great bloodlines can sell for tens of thousands of dollars, but a trained, relaxed, experienced Arab from great bloodlines who hasn't been shown much isn't worth much.  It's all about the potential prize money and breeding benefits, not the trail riding experience.  Gabbrielle was destined to be a show horse when I bought her for an exorbitant amount, but then I discovered that I did not like showing horses.

Anyway, I decided to go back into my archives and use old photos of Gabbrielle, but not too old, because I need a proper representation of her.  That's when I discovered that I was missing photos from the end of 2013, all of 2014, and the beginning of 2015.  I searched high and low, digging through every computer, every external storage drive, and every DVD collection in the house, but could not find those photos anywhere.  So, I had to pull photos off my blog.  Still, I didn't have the type of photo I needed for a sale ad.

In the meantime, I let Gabbrielle co-mingle with the other horses because she was acting depressed, and she immediately got aggressive with Bombay and Rock.  I had to break out the long whip and she instantly straightened up at the sight of it.  Then while I was holding her at bay, Rock got aggressive with Bombay and Lostine by biting them.  I was like WTH???  What is wrong with my horses?  They are all developing attitude problems.

I had sweat pouring off my face, and my clothes were soaking wet just from the heat and humidity, and I thought, "Well, if this summer has been absolute hell for me, it had to be worse for the horses because they had to stay outside in the thick of it.  They're all probably in bad moods because summer has been going on way too long."

What worries me is that the herd dynamic will change if I remove one horse.  Right now, Gabbrielle is in charge of the geldings, Lostine is in charge of Gabbrielle and Bombay, Rock is in charge of Lostine and Bombay, and Bombay isn't in charge of anyone.  That's a quite a complicated dynamic.  I know that if I take Gabbrielle out of the picture, Rock will start getting rough with Lostine, who is way too old to have some young horse pushing her around.  Rock doesn't buck or kick the other horses like Gabbrielle does, but he bites repeatedly and breaks the skin, and even if the horse moves out of his way, he'll continue to chase it until it is in a corner, and peck at it like a bird.  That's really not much better than what Gabbrielle does to him and Bombay.  The only thing I can be confident in is that Rock won't break another horse's leg, although the horse that is being chased by him could break its own leg trying to get away.

So, I need the temperatures to cool down permanently so that I can re-train the horses to know that kind of behavior is not acceptable.  I know that the cowboy way is to just throw a bunch of horses together and let them work out the pecking order naturally, but I'm not willing to let my horses injure each other, because I'm the one who has to pay the vet bills and suffer with them through their pain.

One strategically placed bite or hoof mark can prevent me from riding that horse for days or weeks, and all of my time can get sucked up cleaning and dressing wounds.  Plus, every time a horse is out of commission, it gets out of practice, and I have to keep re-training it under saddle, and next thing I know, it is summer and I still haven't experienced a decent ride on that horse.  If it gets to the point where I'm always playing doctor and never riding my horses, I may as well sell all of them, because I'm flushing a lot of money and time and energy down the toilet.

I kept getting interrupted, mainly by the dogs, every time I tried to focus on searching for the missing photos, so I sat down and made a list of all the places I looked and all my ideas of other places I could look.  I went out to feed the horses early so that I could start looking for the missing photos in the other locations.  It was a good thing I fed them early, because my daughter called and needed help.  There was a baby rattlesnake behind her teacher's desk in her first grade classroom.  She was alone at school on a holiday, so no one else could help her, and she couldn't connect to the Internet to get the appropriate phone numbers to call.

So, my husband and I grabbed a couple of snake sticks and drove out to her school.  Unfortunately, in the time it took her to come outside to unlock the gate to let us in, and stomp on a scorpion in the hallway, the snake disappeared.  We pulled every piece of furniture away from the wall, dug through boxes and drawers that were low to the ground, and that thing was nowhere to be found.

So, she came to our house where she could get an Internet connection, and she sent out an email to the school staff about it, and she planned to not let her students into the classroom until it had been sweeped again and she was able to teach the kids what to do should they see the snake.  I swear, when I was a kid, none of my teachers had to deal with some of the ridiculous challenges that teachers nowadays have to face.  We had bomb raid drills, but were fortunate enough to never actually have a bomb dropped on us.  Now schools have lock downs because of shooters and kidnappers and wild animals on the premises.  It's nuts.

Needless to say, I still haven't found the missing photos.  Maybe Gabbrielle will be in a better mood today and pose nicely for another photo shoot, if I can get time to do one.  My neighbor came into town this past weekend to fix a bunch of broken stuff in his house, so I thought I was off the hook from having to play caretaker.  Unfortunately, something else broke while he was there, and he wasn't able to completely deal with the problem before he left, so that's one thing among many I need to deal with today once I finish my cup of coffee.

Once again, for those who missed the other post, this blog will be off the air and set to private for a while, so don't be concerned if you are served a message that says you do not have access.  It's nothing personal.


lytha said...

what i recently learned - you need at least 2 people to do a good photo shoot if you don't want to rely on good luck. probably 3. with our professional even, my horse would not put her ears up, even though we had a large reflector. she just wasn't in the space/mood to look interested. out in the pasture, suddenly the reflector became the monster, and we got great galloping shots, but still no alert, posing standing shots. all half asleep, back sagging, eyes closed. i guess i still don't know the right tricks to make a sleepy horse wake up and stand pretty. have you tried a mirror?

appydoesdressage said...

I was going to recommend exactly what Lytha said. You definitely need a helper, even if they aren't a horse person though it does help. Someone to do crazy stuff to get the horse's attention while you can snap away. Good luck, I know Gabrielle will find the perfect family.

Cut-N-Jump said...

I'm trying to get some good photos of my mare to help move her along to a new home too. Maybe we can get together and help each other out? lol

Nuzzling Muzzles said...

CNJ - If you are serious, I think that's a great idea. I don't have anyone to help me at the moment, and you know I've got the equipment for the both of us.

Nuzzling Muzzles said...

Oh crap! But that leads to another problem. My professional camera can't be used until I make a special trip into the city to get it professionally cleaned. I've been waiting for it to cool down to make the drive, and I've just been using my point and shoot.

How Sam Sees It said...

I can help out too! Let me know - we can set something up. :)

Nuzzling Muzzles said...

Thanks, Sam! I'm going to see what I can do about getting the camera cleaned sooner than later. I want to use the good one if friends are going to take the time to help me. I need to coordinate the trip to the city with clear skies so Midge doesn't shred the house when I'm gone. If she smells ozone in the air, she goes nuts.

Janice L. Grinyer said...

Actually, selling Gabbrielle will likely improve your herd.

In an ag class in college, I was taught studs are separated from everyone. Having one gelding, one mare together is okay, but anything more then two horses requires the sexes to be separated in order to have a mentally healthy herd. Having an Even number of horses is better then an odd number because they often pair up (no odd man out). This is considered the healthiest way to manage a herd, but sometimes there are the exceptions.

Also, so we dont discredit cowboys (because I know real cowboys who dont do anything but handle cows and horses and make a living off of it :) its considered the redneck way to throw them all together. The working cowboy way is to separate the sexes. Its seen a lot out here as they ride geldings only; geldings are the ones who are considered to have a good work ethic with the cows, keeping everyone safe. If someone brings a mare or stud over to help sort etc. its considered a not nice thing to do...

Good luck - you do take beautiful pictures so they will turn out perfect :)

achieve1dream said...

I'm glad you have some offers for help! I hope you managed to get some great photos. I so wish I lived closer because that is so totally something I'd love to help you with hehe. I went over this weekend and took pictures of the neighbor girl's sale horse just for fun haha. I love it!

I'm hoping with one less horse that you will have the time to do more with them. Then once you are doing more I'm hoping they will ease up on each other. I think the redneck way of throwing them together and letting them duke it out only works when they are on a bunch of acreage. When you space is limited things get dicey. I don't like how they can corner each other in the stalls, but I have no idea how to resolve that problem... keeping my fingers crossed that selling Gabrielle resolves some of the problems.