Sunday, April 3, 2016

Clowns to the Left of Me, Jokers to the Right

It warmed up enough for me to be able to bathe the horses this weekend.  I used Pyranha shampoo in hopes of it relieving the horses somewhat from an awful fly season.  It definitely kept the flies off while the horses were wet, but the flies came back once the horses' hair dried.  I cut six inches off Rock's tail and it still touches the ground if he lets it hang low and cocks a hind hoof.

The hoof mark scab on his rump is most likely courtesy of Gabbrielle.

The boys were my priority since the flies have been trying to lay eggs in their sheaths, but Lostine was so desperate for a bath that she put her nose right into the halter when I approached Bombay with it.  So, I made sure she got her turn first.  Gabbrielle just got a spray down on the first day, because she kept untying the lead ropes of the horses I was washing and cutting them loose.  She hates water, so she ran off when I sprayed her and promptly rolled in the sand.

While brushing out Bombay's mane, he kept flinching, throwing his head up, and jumping around.  I didn't think I was being rough on his mane.  Then I lifted it up and saw that Rock had been biting him repeatedly in the same spot on his neck, and it was all swollen.  The skin had healed, but the hair was missing and there may be an infection, so I treated it the best I can and am keeping an eye on it.  He hates flies and usually has scars on his face during fly season from itching it through the fly mask.

Both Bombay and Gabbrielle danced around a lot and tried various evasive maneuvers to try to get away from the water, which made me appreciate Rock and Lostine's relaxed way of just standing still and enjoying the process all the more.  Every time I led Bombay somewhere, and then turned us in a different direction, he'd spook and then look behind him, because he was convinced that I was turning us away from something scary.  Gabbrielle only spooked once when I picked up her fly mask off the ground and shook it out.  She jumped backwards and farted at the same time.  Neat trick.

She was just distracted by the neighbors, as usual.  There are only two houses on the street behind me, and the people in those two houses are constantly driving back and forth.  They must pay a fortune for gas.  Each time they drive by, they pause at the vista that overlooks my back yard to check out what I'm doing.  One night I came out with a flashlight to let the horses out of their stalls once they were done eating, and I guess the neighbors at the end of the street must have suddenly noticed, even though I go down to the barn with a flashlight every night, and they came running up the street with their own flashlight and stood on the cliff to see what was going on.  I guess they thought someone was stealing my horses.

Unfortunately, they are not within shouting distance for communication's sake, so I just walked back in the house to show them I lived there and wasn't up to no good.  I already had the other neighbor behind me call the police on me when he saw me out there with my flashlight.  I wish people would mind their own business.  I'd rather have my privacy and get burgled every once in a while than to have people watching my property all the time.  If I'm going away, I let the neighbors know, and they are welcome to watch the house then.  But I know everyone is paranoid because a lot of neighbors have been hit by our local burglar.

One day this weekend I heard an explosion in the neighborhood and looked out the window the see Rock jump straight up into the air and take off running.  Amazingly, the other three horses just stood there.  I went outside and looked around, but saw nothing and heard nothing.  It wasn't followed up with sirens.  It sounded like it was on the ground and not a sonic boom, although our house is now in the flight path of commercial airlines and military aircraft, as well as small aircraft and recreational crap like powered parachutes.  I'm getting pretty weary from all the noise.  You move out into a rural area, and you don't expect that.

Anyway, the reason why I chose "Stuck in the Middle With You" song lyrics for the title of this post is because the horses have been acting like clowns and jokers all weekend.  When I cleaned up manure, they'd try to tip over the wagon or pop its tires by chewing them.  Rock kept following me around with his nose pressed against my back, and every time I bent over, he'd goose me.  When I filled water troughs, they pulled the hose out and sprayed water all over me and the other horses.  When I was bathing one horse, another horse would sneak over and untie the horse I was washing.  Bombay, of course, can just untie himself.  When I was trying to put a wet horse in a stall where it couldn't roll, the other horses would run into the stall with it before I could close the gate.  Then when I'd kick them out, there'd be a jailbreak and everyone would take off galloping across the paddock, so I'd have to catch the wet horse before it rolled.  On and on it went, so I started singing, "Clowns to the left of me, jokers to the right, here I am, stuck in the middle with you..."

I made them wear my hat for punishment.

In the couple of years that the house next door has been up for sale, there have been two serious home shoppers.  One turned down the property because the 8-stall barn wasn't enough, and she didn't think there was enough available flat land to expand and build another barn.  She must have been a horse trainer or breeder, or been running some other kind of horse-related business.  She told me that she keeps Quarter Horses and feels that Arabs are too much for her to handle.

The other serious buyer turned down the property because he didn't like that this one two-story house on the hill ruined his view of the mountains.  The other night I noticed that someone installed a super bright floodlight at the base of the house on the hill, and it shines upward, illuminating the entire house at night.  I thought, "It's a good thing that man didn't buy my neighbor's house, because he'd be really pissed about that."

A lot of people are sensitive about enjoying the night sky and the stars without a lot of outdoor lights to ruin it.  I figured the homeowner did it for safety, because we have this mentally ill man in the neighborhood who cruises around at night on his ATV using night-vision goggles and steals whatever he can find of value outside of people's houses.  I heard an ATV engine one night, but couldn't see it, and the next day I saw a police officer parked up on the hill.

Anyway, shortly after I had this thought that people would be bothered by the floodlight shining on that house, one of his neighbors put up some flashing Christmas lights in April pointing at the spotlit house, and the floodlight suddenly got shut down.  I wondered if there was some kind of feud going on there.  The house with the floodlight is normally vacant, only used as a vacation home for a few weeks out of every winter, but there appears to be someone there full-time now.

There are several houses in our neighborhood that used to be winter vacation homes, but now have full-time tenants.  I think what happens is that someone retires and buys a house here.  Then when the person dies, he or she leaves the house to their grown kids, but the grown kids have jobs in other parts of the country, so the house sits vacant most of the year.  Then the grown kids retire and move into the house.

We were actually able to eat in our favorite cafe this weekend.  It's a tiny place that only has about a dozen tables, and people are usually standing in line outside waiting for an opening.  We got our pick of tables, which means that most of the winter visitors have gone home.  We also shopped in a market where we were the only ones on most aisles.  I've forgotten what it feels like to just be able to shop at my own pace without being knocked around like a pinball in a pinball machine, or worse yet, being blocked from getting what I need by people who have their carts parked three wide, side-by-side across the supermarket aisle.

I've also taken some horses and my mountain bike out on the trails, and haven't seen another soul.  Feels like heaven.


TeresaA said...

I'm not sure who is amused more- you by the horses, the horses by you or the neighbors by all of you. :)

Nuzzling Muzzles said...

Oh yeah, the other thing the horses kept doing was grabbing the grooming tools with their teeth and throwing them around.