Thursday, November 12, 2015

The Inevitable

I knew that one thing was inevitable when I began trail riding horses in the desert:  At some point, the horse I am riding will get stabbed by a cactus and I will quickly learn how much that hurts a horse by his reaction.  I've heard all kinds of stories ranging from horses who don't react at all to horses that launch into a bucking fit while running down the trail.

Today I rode Rock out, and he didn't want to leave the barn again.  I had to work him in circles by the barn and then release the pressure while steering him away from the barn.  The problem was that Gabbrielle didn't eat all of her food, and Rock wanted to eat it before Bombay or Lostine got to it.

Right when I was finally pushing him up the driveway, the mail carrier arrived.  Bad timing.  I kept pushing him, and he kept trying to turn back to the barn.  I figured the mail carrier would deliver to the other two houses, turn around, and pass us going in the other direction before we even reached the street because Rock was moving so slow.  However, we got to the end of the driveway, and still there was no mail truck.

I stopped Rock and waited, because I could hear an engine coming from below the blind rise in the road.  The mail carrier pulled over in the turnout next to the gate I needed to ride through to get to the trails.  That's my pet peeve.  He wasn't blocking it, though, so I pushed Rock across the street, and right then the man jumped out of his truck with a big white basket.  Rock's head popped up in alarm.  I kept pushing and spurring him forward, trying to pretend like nothing was going on in front of us.

Then the mail carrier opened up the back of his truck and threw boxes around.  He was sorting out the mail for the next section of his route.  I pushed and pushed until Rock finally made it through the gate to the main trail.  Things after that were relatively uneventful.

He just popped his head up in alarm to see the "seal cactus" lying on the side of the trail up ahead...

It looks like some kind of animal, but he figured out pretty quick that it was just a plant.

He was still anxious to get back to Gabbrielle's food, so I continued to alternate between riding away from the barn and toward the barn in an attempt to get him to regulate his speed to something in between the two speeds he was offering.

Then the bee showed up.  It kept landing on his eye, and I tried to shoo it away by shaking the rein.  Unfortunately, it was a very aggressive bee.  I was worried that it would sting him.

I had the thought that I should get off and deal with this bee before it turned into a really bad situation.  Right then, he pinned back his ears, which he never does, humped up his back, which he never does, and took off running.  I knew I had to get him in a tight circle before he started bucking, so I pulled his head around and ran him into a bush.

He stopped and I tried to let him get his act together and walk off again, but he was still agitated.  I figured the bee had stung him, so I dismounted...

...and led him home...

Walking on his left side, I did not see the cholla ball stuck in his right fetlock...

...until I removed his tack and approached him from his right side.  That sticker was jammed so deep in there that I couldn't have just flicked it off with a comb, as some horseback riders have taught me to do.  I had to get a pair of scissors and clamp down on the core of it, then pull back fast and hard.  I could tell that it stung him because he was kicking and favoring that leg...

He was happy again once that booger was out of his system.  I made sure he got peppermints to soothe the pain.

4 comments:

Cheryl Ann said...

I'm so glad you are back! I've missed you! :-(
~Cheryl Ann~ (Deserthorses)...

Janice L. Grinyer said...

Good god, that thing is huge!

And peppermints work.

;)

fernvalley01 said...

OUCH! poor guy!

achieve1dream said...

Poor Rock!!!! He's such a good boy to have handled it so well. I hope he's all healed up and okay now. Sheesh the desert has a lot of dangers!