Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Another Horseyback Ride

You can't tell by this picture how amped up Rock was on our ride today.  He's looks like he's sleeping here.  He walked off from the mount again, and it takes so much energy for me to mount that I didn't want to have to get off, work him, get on, etc., so I just halted him, flexed him, messed with him a lot at a stand still to teach him that we don't take off as soon as the rider starts to swing her leg over.  If there's one thing I'm good at, it's staying on when a horse takes off while I'm mounting.  I have years of experience with that thanks to Lostine.

He rushed up the driveway stopped at some flowers, and promptly reached down to eat them.  I pulled his head back up and got him out onto the trails.  There were several more snacking attempts along the way that I had to thwart.  I need to add trail snacking to my list of cons of riding in the spring time.

We attempted to ride past the horse rescue, but Rock planted his feet and threw his head up.  I looked over and saw that they had children running around screaming and chasing the horses or something.  The horses were running around nervously.  I could not get Rock's attention back on me.  It was like I no longer existed.  I kept pestering him until he finally flicked an ear back to me and followed my directions.  I turned him onto another trail where he wouldn't be as distracted.

I'm sure that my helmet cam shots are getting old, so I just took pictures of him before and after our ride.

I've been staying close to home because all the bee attacks in the news have been freaking me out, and I do have a lot of bees buzzing around the flowering plants in our dog yard and out in the desert. There were a lot of squirrels, rabbits, lizards and birds flitting and skittering about.

When I turned Rock toward home, he was walking as fast as he could and we were headed toward a dip in the trail.  I knew that if he went downhill, he'd take off running and ignore my cues to slow or halt, so I steered him to another trail, but that one was blocked by garbage.  I decided to ride through the garbage, which had paper flapping in the wind, because I knew he could handle it.  If anything, he'd stop to pick something up to play with it.  It really disgusts me how much garbage shows up out there over the weekends.  How hard is it to pack your own trash out of the desert?

Since he was rushing, I rode him past the trail home and kept going.  He slowed down and tried snacking again.  I then rode him in a zig-zag pattern, turning him each time he approached a bush he wanted to eat.  It was very difficult steering him, because he's still not as responsive as he should be.  Somehow, we wound up on a trail that had two cholla cacti growing on it, and another cholla tree that the power company knocked over with its truck onto the trail up ahead.  I was anxious because with the difficulty I was having steering Rock, he was bound to step on a cholla ball, so I dismounted and led him through the scattering of stickers.

Fallen, but still alive and blooming.

This is what gets stuck in your horse's fetlocks and tail.  The thorns are sharp enough to go right through a boot into your foot all the way to the bone.

The cholla are really taking over the trails near my home, and it really bums me out.  I don't feel like I can just go for a relaxing ride anymore.  I have to watch every step my horse takes.

I noticed this morning that he's lost some weight.  I opened a new bale of hay that was sliced thinner, but have only been giving the horses one thin slice in the morning so that I can ride.  I get tired of waiting for them to finish eating while it gets hotter and hotter outside.  I'll make sure they get two or three slices at night.

Rock's tail is dragging on the ground again, so I want to bathe him and get the tail washed, rinsed and combed out before trimming it.

So far I have managed to keep my goal of working with the horses every day this week.  Yesterday I didn't ride, but I lunged and groomed Bombay and Lostine.  As soon as I made that goal, my neighbor contacted me and asked me to clean her house for a showing this week.  I'm trying to do a little bit of cleaning each day while the horses are eating.  I was planning on attempting to clean my own house this week because we might have company coming, but it looks like my neighbor's house has to take priority.  I hope my guests like dust and dog fur.

One of the reasons why I'm trying to ride Rock more regularly is because a friend may come over to ride him one of these weekends, and right now I don't trust him enough to feel confident that she'll be safe riding him.  I don't feel safe riding him.  I suspect he used to just plod along obediently because his feet and tummy hurt him.  Now that I've fixed his feet and got all the sand out of his system, he's feeling good, and it's like riding a green horse.

He doesn't do anything that he knows is bad, and he doesn't try to hurt his rider.  He's just not responsive.  He does his own thing and ignores his rider.  By leading him home, I had to force him to slow down and stay at my shoulder.  He kept trying to barge ahead of me, and I'd whack him on the nose with the lead rope and make him walk backwards down the trail in the direction we came from.  I can't do that as easily from the saddle, because he blows right through my rein cues.  He does eventually stop, but that's not good enough.  He needs to plant his feet the second I say WHOA, which is what all of my Arabs do.

After my ride I went out to take some pictures of the blooming cactus.  The trails look like this with tall, lush bushes on each side with millions of little yellow flowers in bloom and tons of bees buzzing around.

I alerted on a sound off in the distance that felt ominous.  Sure enough, it was getting closer.  It was the deep, vibrating hum of tens, maybe hundreds of thousands of bees headed my way.  I couldn't see anything at first, and tried to hurry toward home.  Then I saw the dark cloud just ahead of me and to my left, so I ducked behind a cholla and held my breath.  The swarm flew past.  I watched it to make sure it didn't stop.  Once it was out of sight, I headed over to the cactus on got my flower shots.

I think I'll just ride at home for the rest of the week.  Not that a swarm can't come through my riding arena, but at least I can get to shelter if I'm attacked.


Linda said...

You're knocking it out of the park with your horse work. Those cholla were in Unbranded the movie. Nasty stuff if it can go through a boot!

Nuzzling Muzzles said...

Linda - Yeah, that scene with the cholla in Unbranded is scary. Thanks for the encouragement.

Mrs Shoes said...

Swarms of stinging insects are too dangerous to ignore. You're wise to be careful.

Crystal said...

Cactus flowers are so pretty. March is the prettiest month down there I think with everything blooming. I think I need to get away all the wind and mini snow is driving me crazy I wanna be out doing stuff!