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.