I was too tired to finish yesterday's post. You want to take a gander at why I haven't gotten much sleep lately? Gabbrielle. Who else? That horse always has to find something that she can bang on all night long in an attempt to wake me up so that I'll come feed her, which never works, because I don't reward her for that behavior. I just yell at her and take away whatever she is banging. With a horse like that, who needs a rooster? Although, I do have one neighbor who keeps chickens, a rooster and some geese, and that rooster makes a racket at any time of the day or night.
The neighbors must hate us animal owners. This is the time of year when people like to open their windows at night to let the air cool down their houses, and every noise that my mare makes wakes people up.
I'm in this quandary, because if I let her out with the other horses at night, one or both of the geldings will be injured in the morning, but if I leave her locked up in her stall, she kicks her water trough and feed barrel, and bangs any loose gate within reach. I've been considering putting her in the round pen at night with a water trough so that she'd be far enough away from houses that any noise she made shouldn't be as loud. However, I suspect she would just scream and run in circles all night long, and that would be worse. Neighbors would come out of their houses in bathrobes to investigate if a horse is trapped.
Gabbrielle is hell bent on doing whatever it takes to drive me crazy and to be disrespectful of everyone who comes within her firing range. The other day she smacked my friend in the mouth with her tail. I'm sure it was intentional. She's tried that maneuver with me, but I know it's coming, so I grab her tail mid-whack and hold it while chastising her. Hitting people in the face with her tail is her way of telling them to get out of her space.
While I was out of town, she nearly put my husband in the hospital. I had told him to not let Gabbrielle out of her stall, because she's on a diet, and I don't want her chasing the other horses away from their hay. Also, sometimes even when the other horses make way for her, she still chases them into corners and kicks the bleep out of them. I didn't want to have to cut my trip short to come home to mend injuries. My husband decided to handle it differently. He let her out of her stall, but then as soon as she stole another horse's hay ration, he reached into the feed barrel to remove the hay she was eating. She knew he was reaching into the barrel, but when she saw his hand in there, she overreacted and threw her head up, clocked him in the face, and dislocated his jaw.
The jaw was swelling up, but instead of going to the ER, my husband raced to his favorite restaurant to eat his last meal while he still could. While painfully trying to chew his food, the jaw snapped back into alignment and the swelling dissipated, so there was a happy ending.
I'm due for a new block of hay, and it's important that I order it now before the winter visitors deplete the supply. It's very difficult to find large amounts of hay between November and March here. Anyway, I have to clean all the old hay out of the wooden pallets first. I usually end up with a pile of old, moldy, dusty, loose hay that is about five feet wide by three feet high once I've raked it into a pile. I have to scoop all of that into the wagon and dump it in a recycling location. Once I tried just spreading it out, and the hay delivery man refused to drive his truck over it, because he said he wouldn't be able to get any traction. Ever since then, I've had to make sure I get it all raked up off the driveway to make way for the new hay.
Anyway, it's quite the process. It's hard to do in one session, especially when it is hot outside. So, I've been doing a little bit at a time around sunset and sunrise. It's much harder than usual right now, because a variety of critters made nests under the haystack this summer and they completely changed the surface and stability of the ground. Something made a burrow, and piled rocks all over the place, so I have to rake up all the rocks and relocate them while filling in the holes.
I always see animals scatter when I pull up the pallets. Last time I saw a bunch of pack rats. This time I saw a tiny baby snake, a mouse, quail eggs, a spider, and something that moved too fast for me to focus on it. I only caught the tail end of the snake disappearing, so I'm not sure what kind it was. The tail was black, so maybe either a king snake or a black racer. The mouse was a mouse and not a pack rat or kangaroo rat.
I instantly get a headache when raking up all that dusty hay. It's my least favorite chore. At least here, I can mostly shake the hay out of the pallets. When I lived in the mountains, the old hay would get packed in with snow and ice and I had to chisel it out. My hay delivery guy there refused to set fresh hay down on unclean pallets, because he said that the mold would spread, and he didn't want me returning his hay for a refund claiming that it arrived moldy. I wouldn't have done that, but I guess other people did that enough times to him that he learned to demand that they clean out their pallets. I remember one year I couldn't get the pallets clean, so he set the block on a pile of rocks. Then when the pallets thawed out in the spring, we went back to using them.
While raking up hay, I also found a rattlesnake skin and a bunch of old dried out cacti and fruit. The critter even dragged in both horse manure and coyote turds to feast on. I know there is no way a coyote could have gotten under that haystack to poop. Rodents sure can be a nuisance.
We've had a rat stuck in our bathroom wall that always manages to start scratching and chewing right after I fall asleep. I have to keep getting up to bang on the wall to quiet it down. I have rat poison in the nearest water closet, but it won't take the bait. I think last night it was actually in the bathtub drain pushing the drain stopper up and down in an attempt to escape the pipes. I don't know how it could have gotten in there in the first place.
So, I guess Gabbrielle isn't totally to blame for my lack of sleep. The rat is at fault too.