Friday, March 4, 2016

Progress Interrupted

Just when I was feeling confident that I could ride the horses in the arena safely without trespassers causing accidents, a variety of things happened to put an end to my progress.  The dune buggy incident was far reaching.  The horses were still tense the following day, anxiously looking at the arroyo.  Every once in a while they would freeze up and all "point" at something in that direction.  I'd look around and see nothing.  I'd step outside to listen for animal noises or voices, but hear nothing.  I thought the horses were just being paranoid.

Then I reminded myself that horses don't lie.  If they say that someone or something is in the arroyo, someone or something is definitely there.  So, I would get out my binoculars and watch through the window for a while, and lo and behold, a neighbor would pop up out from behind a bush.  This happened several times.

You see the dune buggy incident was so loud between the trespasser's engine and me screaming at him that it attracted the attention of all of my neighbors.  This happened right before sunset, so the next day, my neighbors kept coming out to snoop around my property to see what kind of damage the dune buggy did.  I know they don't want anyone plowing a new trail through our neighborhood for recreational purposes, because it affects them too, but it still annoyed me that they thought nothing of trespassing after I just chewed out the dune buggy driver for trespassing.  I guess they think the rules don't apply to them because they live in the neighborhood.

By screaming at the driver, I put myself in the position of being someone that the neighbors can get together and gossip about, so I keep seeing different sets of neighbors standing around the perimeter of my property chatting and pointing at me and my house.  I did not need this attention, and it's freaking out my horses.  Not only are they too nervous for me to ride safely, but I'm no longer interested in riding if I have an audience.

My husband said that another dune buggy showed up at the top of the cliff two days later, and the driver and passenger seemed to be surveying the path the other dune buggy left behind, as if they were considering taking it.  This is why it is so important to stop the first person who comes through.  People who have the same interests communicate through social networks (like I am right now), and the word gets out that there is this really cool place to drive your dune buggy.  Next thing you know, you as a land owner are dealing with a dune buggy epidemic.  The motorized vehicle fanatics multiply like rabbits.

A few days ago a couple of horseback riders showed up at the top of the cliff, but stopped before coming down into my backyard.  Fortunately, they thought to ask my neighbor, who happened to be outside, if horseback riders were allowed to cut through my property.  He told them the property is closed to all traffic, and they went back the way they came.  I'm truly astounded that people are still trying to take that trail three years after we closed it.  One would also think that the NO TRESPASSING sign would speak for itself.

It's also that time of year when the religious fanatics are going door to door.  My sign that tells people not to knock or ring the bell, but to call ahead, used to keep them at bay but not anymore.  Now the churches are sending out missionaries who are mostly blind and can't read the sign.  So, we're having to deal with our dogs barking and charging the door every time the doorbell rings.  My biggest frustration is when they spot me in my backyard working with the horses, and march right on down my driveway to interrupt.  I remember one year they were coming by so often that I got into the habit of hiding in the horse trailer any time I heard a car come up the street.  I really hope it doesn't get that bad this spring.

My husband and I had our first experience with an Africanized bee.  I was grooming the horses in the barn when this insect kept buzzing around my head.  I assumed it was a horse fly.  Then it kept hitting me in the back of the head repeatedly.  The more I swatted at it, the more it hit me.  I saw it was a bee, and I ran into the tack room.  It chased me the whole way.  I grabbed some fly spray, came out of the tack room, and sprayed it continuously while it flew right into the stream of the spray, still trying to attack me.  It eventually flew away, and I figured it had to die with all that poison on it.

However, a short time later, my husband came running in the house with the dogs and said he was being attacked by a bee.  It chased him into the garage.  He thought it might be the same bee that gave me problems, and all I did was make it angry when I sprayed it.  It was so weird that we both were attacked by just one bee, and that the bee struck us, but did not sting us.  Maybe it was rabid.  Hee hee.

But all joking aside, knowing that there are killer bees in the area, and that people and animals are getting attacked and stung in our region, I'm very hesitant about going out into the desert.  I don't want to get too far from shelter until this problem settles out.


TeresaA said...

it's hard to have sensitive horses. I'm hoping you can find a way to get them used to it so they can be more focussed.

As for the bee- get a can of hairspray and keep it close- if you spray the bee/wasp/bot fly it instantly hardens which makes it impossible for them to fly and they fall down.

Nuzzling Muzzles said...

Teresa - As far as trying to get the horses used to activity on the trails, I've been working on that for years with only minor successes and a lot of back-sliding. I do not want the horses to get used to trespassers, because I don't want trespassers in the first place. The horses make great watch dogs. They know the difference between who should and who shouldn't be on our property. They've alerted me to the presence of most of the people who thought they could sneak past me, and nosy neighbors who try to spy and eavesdrop by hiding behind bushes and trees. In that case, their sensitiveness is very useful. The other day a friend was over and I pointed out some people hiding behind a tree in my backyard to her. She said, "How can you even see that?" It's because I pay attention to the horses' behavior. I just don't want the horses to feel like they have to fear people and their obnoxious activities. Thanks the the hairspray tip. I'll have to go buy some.

Linda said...

You have issues I've never had to deal with. The trails I ride are all closed to motorized traffic, though my friends have encountered people breaking the rules on some trails. You're smart to trust your instincts, better safe than sorry. As for the bees, I like Teresa"s suggestion, if you can actually spray them. I was on a trail once that had "sweat bees" and they attacked our horses. It was miserable!

Brenda said...

I've never had any encounters with Africanized bees, but that's only because I'm paranoid about them and if I hear even a semblance of buzzing I get the heck out of dodge. We used to have a Husky mix and I'd take him for walks in the park near where we live and it's amazing he never stirred anything up because he was sticking his nose into everything. We had spot stop going a certain way because I heard a loud humming noise. Granted, we were near a power line and it's possible that's what I was hearing, but why risk it? Hopefully you don't have a hive nearby.

Crystal said...

People are so rude! Again I'm glad I don't live where people think they can just go and do whatever they please. Of course there is no public land out here so I think that helps a lot.
Yikes scary with the bee, the hairspray trick sounds neat woulda never thought of that. And it is weird he never stung you I wonder why too.

Nuzzling Muzzles said...

Right after I wrote this, there was a story in the news about a swarm of killer bees getting into a house in Scottsdale and killing several animals inside the house. A woman had to be taken to the hospital. This is a serious problem.

How Sam Sees It said...

Keep a very close eye on your property, just in case the bees are nesting in an area you don't get to very often. I'm seeing a bunch of bee attack new stories - scary!

Nuzzling Muzzles said...

Sam - I actually just went down into the wash the other day to look around for hives. I found some really large animals dens, but no sign of bee hives. Of course, after I came up out of the arroyo, the horses alerted on the arroyo because one of my nosy snowbird neighbors went down there to see what I was doing, and he was scaring my horses by snooping around. Did you ever pick up anything interesting on the trail camera you set up in an arroyo?

How Sam Sees It said...

I didn't - only our cat, weirdly enough, who we hadn't realized was wandering that far from the house. Haha - the wildlife isn't so wild!