Tuesday, April 26, 2016


Last night I was woken out of deep sleep by a super annoying "ding ding ding ding" sound coming through the window.  I tried to shine a flashlight on the horses, but the battery was low and the beam wouldn't reach.  Gabbrielle is usually the troublemaker, but she also stops whatever she is doing once I shine a flashlight out the window because she knows that if she doesn't stop, things will escalate from there.  This time the noise did not stop.

I had to throw on a coat, grab the floodlight remote, and march down to the barn to shut up whoever was making that racket.  This time it was Bombay.  He was tugging on the hay bag, and the clips were hitting the metal.  When I first got the hay bags he did that and kept me up several nights in a row making "music".  Back then I ended up wrapping all the hardware in duct tape so that it couldn't bang against the metal.  I think yesterday's high winds reminded him of the noise, and time wore the duct tape off.  I didn't want to be out there for an hour wrapping all the metal in tape, so I just detached both bags from the railings and threw them on the ground.

By the time I got back in the house, I was sneezing and my nose was running non-stop.  It's best to stay out of the wind here, because the dust it blows up carries Valley Fever.  I popped an antihistamine in my mouth, and then looked at the clock and realized that it was 3:00 in the morning.  Oh-oh.  Not good.  The antihistamine would put me to sleep, and I needed to get up early if I was going to ride today like I had planned.  I had assumed it was around midnight.  I should have looked at the clock first before taking a drug that would put me to sleep.

This weekend my hip and thigh were causing me so much grief that I screeched every time I had to do anything with my leg other than drag it.  I bought a bunch of extra large pain relief patches and stuck one running from my hip all the way down to my knee on the outside of my thigh.  Amazingly, the next morning the pain was completely gone.  I cleaned house all day, doing a lot of bending, stretching and crawling around, and it didn't hurt at all.  Then I went down to the barn to do my usual chores, and walking on the rocks and sand instantly made me go lame again.  So, now I know that half the problem is walking on uneven ground.  I don't know what I can do about it other than to hire someone to do my barn chores for me full-time to give my leg a chance to recover.  It's just so weird that I've been doing these same chores my entire adult life and they never caused this problem for me until now.  Shoveling manure too much has wrecked my arm before, but only having one good leg is new to me.

Just when I got to the point where I couldn't take it anymore regarding the ravens dropping dead animal parts into the water troughs, they stopped doing it.  That's one thing I love about the desert:  Everything comes and goes in cycles, so there is always light at the end of the tunnel.  They still follow me around, but they're not killing for sport anymore.  They have a nest full of babies out in the desert on one of the power poles.  I think they were doing overkill for a while to make sure there was always enough meat for their babies to eat, and they were dropping the excess food into the water hoping it would keep.  It was like they were using the water troughs as their personal refrigerators.  I just don't know how they expected to get that meat out once it was in there.  I suspect now they are busy teaching their little ones to fly, and are spending less time hunting.

The coyotes are still attempting to steal the horse toys.  Every once in a while I find them on the outside of the gate.  I throw the Jolly Ball way out to the far end of the arena hoping that the horses will be too lazy to carry it all the way to the barn to dunk in and dirty the water troughs.  I think part of the reason why the horses have been stuffing their toys in the troughs is to hide them from the coyote thieves.

By the time Rock had finished eating his breakfast, I could tell that it was going to be a bad leg day, so I took preventative measures by adhering a pain patch to my thigh and taking Ibuprofen.  I picked out his hooves and treated them for thrush, because I've been doing everything in my power to prevent problems from happening this weekend with the horses.  Why?  Well, a friend who hasn't ridden horses in a while is coming to a long ways to ride with me.  It occurred to me that Rock has a knack for going lame at the most inopportune times, so that's why I treated him for thrush even though he didn't have thrush.  Also, I asked my neighbor to avoid scheduling her gardening crew from showing up this weekend.  I didn't want men with power tools popping up in and out of bushes while we were riding.  She graciously agreed to help me out on that one.  If it were just me riding, I'd deal with it, but I don't want a beginning rider getting hurt on my watch.

I pointed Rock up the driveway to see if he would hold still while I mounted.  Nope.  He walked off.  I didn't stop and look both ways while crossing the street, because I didn't hear any car engines.  However, I forgot that when it is windy, you can't hear much of anything anyway.  I turned my head to see that neighbor who tried to pick a fight with my husband driving straight toward us.  I thought, "Oh great.  This guy is going to do the biggest douche bag thing he can think of to try to scare my horse."

I kicked Rock to get him to speed up.  The guy was not making any effort to slow down.  I could see that Rock was concerned.  At the last second, when the truck approached his hind end, the guy did let off the gas a little bit, enough for me to take notice and think that perhaps there is hope for the man.  My helmet cam took a picture just as we were passing through the gate, and Rock had his ear cocked toward the truck.

I just meandered around close to home in case my leg pain got worse or the winds picked up.  We had 45 mph winds yesterday and they blew the roof off of my little shed where I store the winter blankets.  There was also another bee attack in the news yesterday.

At one point, Rock stopped and got visibly agitated about something up ahead to our right.  He didn't want to move forward.  I couldn't see anything, but I had no doubt that he could see, hear or smell something that worried him.  Normally, if a horse such as Gabbrielle balks at a bush or trash on the trail, I just push her forward until she walks past it, but Rock isn't afraid of much.  If he is worried, I've learned that it is best to heed his warning.

If I can't see what he is snorting at, I don't want to push him through it, because there might actually be something up ahead that could hurt us.  I don't want to drive him into a bee swarm or a rattlesnake or vicious dog.  So, I turned him onto a different trail.  This is always quandary for me, because I am essentially telling him that yes, there is something to fear, and once he has his hind end toward the thing that upset him, if the wind rattles a bush, he could take off running.  Sure enough, that's what he did, but he also stopped as soon as I cued him to do so.

He was a bit of a stinker, repeatedly grabbing snacks along the trail while ignoring me saying NO and slapping the rein against the side of his neck.

I really appreciate how well behaved Rock is when he's tied.  He usually doesn't move a muscle.

It's such a treat to just be able to saddle and unsaddle him without working around a dance.  Overall, the ride was pretty good considering that it was windy.  He still has habits we need to work on, but he should be fine this weekend.


TeresaA said...

I envy your ability to ride in the desert. I did do the Saguaro Ranch ride but was disappointed- we didn't go by the lake but rather wound up and down the trail.
I went twice at San Tan National Park and that was fabulous. If you're ever n the area try it out.

Nuzzling Muzzles said...

Teresa - I haven't taken the Saguaro Ranch trail ride. I just stayed at their ranch. I'll try San Tan sometime.