We had quite an interesting trail ride today. Rock didn't want to leave the barn, so I had to work him and circle him by the other horses. Here I am chastising Gabbrielle for banging a gate while I was trying to keep Rock's attention on me...
Oh yeah, and while I was picking out his hooves, he kicked at a fly and I shouted, because I don't want horses to be kicking at anything when I am underneath them. Any of my other horses would have jumped on me at that point, but Rock just got out of my space and looked at me to make sure I was okay.
Anyway, once we started heading up the driveway without resistance, I let him relax. We came over the rise, and there, at the end of my driveway was some strange object. It looked like an animal, but it wasn't moving. My eyesight is shot, so I struggled to comprehend what I was looking at. It was bigger than a rabbit, but smaller than a dog. It looked like a cat, but I have not seen a cat outdoors in three years, ever since I moved to Arizona. Smart people keep their cats indoors so that the coyotes don't eat them.
Just then it moved and barked. I realized that I was looking at a white and brown Chihuahua mix. I didn't want to keep moving toward it, because it would run off into the desert, but if I dismounted and tied Rock somewhere, the dog would be gone by the time I could approach it on foot to try to catch it. So, I kept my eye on it. Unfortunately, it ran off into the desert despite my efforts not to scare it.
We rode around for a while and on the way back, ran into a coyote that was following the scent of the Chihuahua. I got Rock to help me to chase it off, away from the location where we saw the dog.
While we were riding toward the school, the trash truck showed up and hoisted some large metal bins into the air and dumped their contents into the back of the truck. There were several loud crashes, because there were several trash bins to empty, but Rock wasn't concerned. We began heading home when someone driving down the street in a minivan stopped near us. The driver put it in reverse and stalked us by driving beside us backwards. We weren't that close, because we were on a trail next to the road, but not in the road, however, I was concerned about the driver's stalking behavior, so I kept turning my head to try to figure out what he or she was doing.
Each time I turned my head to look, Rock lost his marbles and got all silly, hopping around and throwing his head in circles. I decided I needed to just keep control of my horse and ignore the weirdo. Turned out that the driver was backing up to get to the driveway of a house he passed. It had nothing to do with us. In retrospect, it may have even been the owner of the dog, out looking for it.
A little while later, we ran into that same coyote sniffing around, still looking for that dog. I was worried that with the coyote's keen sense of smell, it would find the dog, so I made Rock stalk the coyote. I took a ton of pictures of the coyote with my GoPro, but of course, when I got home I discovered that the battery had died before we reached that point in our trail ride. Typical. I really need to start carrying another camera in my horn bag for back up or no one is going to believe me when I tell these stories.
The coyote kept cutting off trails to try to get away from us, and I just kept turning off the trails to follow it. It finally decided that it couldn't get away from us, so it turned to face us, and then walked over and laid down under a bush to stare at us. I talked to it, and told it to leave the little dog alone. It laid there with this innocent look on its face that said, "Who me? I'm just lying here in the shade minding my own business. You are the creeper."
We agreed to part ways, because by then I was pretty sure that the dog was nowhere around and had made it home safely.