Wednesday, February 24, 2016

My Glass House

With the title of this post being My Glass House, I am not referring to the saying, "People in glass houses shouldn't throw stones."

I'm referring to the condition of my body.

Spooky moon and Jupiter
One thing after another has gotten in the way of me being able to ride lately, so I was determined to spend part of the morning riding Bombay in the arena.  While doing my barn chores I noticed that the house two doors down from me appears to have grown an appendage overnight.  I had been hearing hammering over the past month, but didn't know where it was coming from.  The house is owned by a large family of snowbirds who take turns vacationing there during the winter months.  I noticed that a lady was out there hand painting the house every day, all day for the past few weeks.

I wasn't sure if this structure I was seeing was actually new, or if I just suddenly noticed it with a fresh coat of paint on it.  I decided to bicycle past the front of the house to get a closer look, but still could not figure out if the fencing was new from that angle.  That's how observant I am.  During my bicycle ride, I noticed that literally every neighbor on the street was out doing some kind of yard work or home improvement tasks.  That's unusual.  Apparently, everyone who lives on my street is either retired, on vacation, or working from home.

When I got back to the barn I groomed Bombay, and he went on alert, looking anxiously up the driveway.  I watched the street for a minute, wondering if he saw an animal or person.  Then I heard it.  Bombay had actually heard my next-door neighbor's truck engine several blocks away and was waiting for him to pull up.  He has this huge water tank on the back of a trailer and takes it into town to get water.  Then he pumps the water out of the trailer tank into his well.  The process can sometimes take a few hours.

I usually avoid riding horses when he's doing this, because it spooks the heck out of them.  In fact, I can't even take the dogs out on that side of the house to do their business, because they get so distracted by the activity that they forget to pee and poo.

However, this time of year I know somebody is always going to be doing something that scares my horses, and if I avoided riding because of that, I'd only be able to ride in the triple-digit summer months when all the humans have left town or are in hibernation.  So, I saddled Bombay up and led him into the arena, and he spotted the lady painting her house out of the corner of his eye, spooked and bolted right toward me.  I screamed and threw my arms up to deflect him from hitting me, and he stopped.  I said, "Don't do that again," through clenched teeth.

I mean, the horses stand in the barn and the arena all day and see this lady painting her house.  So, why is it suddenly so scary to see that same vision with a saddle on?  It's like things that might be a little scary suddenly morph into major monsters when a horse has a saddle on its back, and then they turn into attacking UFOs as soon as I mount.  It must be that the horse feels out of control, like it has lost its ability to run for its life when it is wearing tack, and even more so when a human is on its back controlling its head and feet.

I led him past the hay barn, and some quail flew out of it, which caused him to spook and bolt a second time into me.  That time he had nowhere to go except into me, so I really tensed up when throwing my arms out, knowing it was just a matter of bracing for impact.  I did stop him from colliding with me, and I whacked him on the shoulder with the lead rope saying, "I told you not to do that again."

Unfortunately, my glass house had broken.  I had pain running down my neck, down my left shoulder, down my left arm, all the way in to my fingertips.  My arm was tingling in addition to the non-stop pain.  All this just from tensing up and throwing my arms in the air.  That's how fragile I have become.  I suspect I need to find myself a good chiropractor.

My husband has it worse than I do, and we both are very physically active.  It's not like we're couch potatoes who keep injuring ourselves because we are out of shape.  My husband is always hauling rocks and boulders around and shoveling and pick axing things.  I'm always shoveling, hiking, mountain biking, and riding horses.

Anyway, despite the pain, I rode, and Bombay did spook a couple more times, exacerbating my pain.  Bombay is so well trained.  He moves off the slightest pressure, he's obedient, he's kind, he's willing, he smart, he's super comfortable to ride, but I just can't deal with the spooking anymore, whether it be while I'm in the saddle or leading him.  God knows I've ridden out hundreds, maybe thousands of his spooks when I was younger, but I'm not young anymore.  I need a horse that is so dull or confident or lacking in the flight instinct that it never spooks.  I think Rock would be that, except for that little problem of him always wanting to rush back to the barn, blowing through my cues for him to slow down or stop.  Trotting doesn't feel good on my spine nowadays, although it's not as bad as spooking.

Groundwork exercises to get the spook out...

How high my new mounting block places me above the saddle...

Around the strange new object...


I suspect this new purple mounting block may have a weight limit that is less than what I weigh, because the steps buckled and bowed under my weight.  Now there is a permanent bowl where I need to stand on the top step.  I think I liked my old plastic fold-up Rubbermaid step ladder better.  I looked it up online to see if it still existed, because I bought it a long, long time ago on impulse for something like ten bucks at my grocery store.  From what I saw, it looked like it was going out of production, but there were a few stores through Amazon who had some old ones in stock.

The prices were inflated because the supply did not meet the demand.  I decided to order one anyway.  I know that as long as my horse trainer doesn't back over it with his truck (totally my fault for forgetting that I set it down there), and as long as I store it out of the heat and direct sunlight, it should last me another 10 to 20 years.  I doubt I'll even be riding that long with the way things have been going, but it will be nice to have one of the last few, well manufactured step stools.

Moon reflecting the sunrise


Ian H said...

At least you are still riding! Be careful out there.

Linda said...

The Glass House was a good analogy. It helped me feel your pain and understand your circumstances better. There are horses out there whose worst faults are going slow and plodding along. I personally love those kind of horses.