Tuesday, October 25, 2016


I overslept thanks to antihistamines, which meant that the horses got fed late.  Rock finished before the others, because he sucks up his hay like a vacuum cleaner.  It was my friend's day to clean up manure, so I decided to use my free time to ride Rock for a little bit.  It was too hot for my taste, but sometimes you've just got to grin and bear it if you ever want to ride.

How am I supposed to graze with the reins looped over the saddle horn?

Right after I tacked up Rock, my friend texted me to say she couldn't come to clean up manure.  I knew that with this heat it would be tough for me to both ride and clean up manure myself, but since riding is such a rarity for me, and since it always puts me in a good mood, I chose to ride.  Screw the manure.  Let the flies fester in it for a while.

Upon attempting to mount, I was befuddled.  There was no way that I could step up and swing my leg over.  I was trying to process the problem.  Was I standing on the mounting stool?  Yes.  Did I have Rock standing in a ditch?  Yes.  Had Rock grown?  No.  Had I shrunk?  No.  You might say I had "mounter's block".  I couldn't mount.  I began thinking that perhaps despite working out every day, I am weaker than I was the last time I rode.  That didn't make sense, though.

So, I walked him around and looked for a deeper ditch...

I found one in the shade and discovered that by simply being in the shade where it was much cooler, I felt refreshed enough to have the energy and strength to swing my leg over.

We just went around and around in circles.  Boring, but I like to stay close to home when it's this hot.  One time when trail riding, I almost fell off because the sun was causing me to hear a ringing in my ears and see spots before my eyes.  Then all my muscles went slack, and I felt like I was going to collapse.  I dismounted and sat in some shade until I felt better, but had to walk home since I need a mounting block to get back up.  Boulders and tree stumps are scarce out in the desert.

I also am trying to get as much use out of my arena as possible while I still don't have anyone living on the other side of the fence.  For all I know, someone will move in there with lamas and camels that will spit at my horses, or a pack of dogs that bark every time I walk out of my house like with the last neighbors who lived there.  Now that my neighbors have finally lowered the price on the house enough to be fair to buyers, there's a good chance someone will buy it.

While I was riding, some jerk in a black jeep came roaring up the street, pulled right into my driveway like he belonged here, and then swung around the "U" out the other end.  I could hear him spraying rocks as he went.  The wall to the planter in the middle of the "U" needs to be repaired because people who drive too fast through our driveway kick rocks up into it and have been chipping away at the concrete.  It may be time to install gates at each end of the driveway like we did at our old house when the neighbors wouldn't stop joy riding and parking in our driveway like they owned it.  In the meantime, I might pick up some more construction cones at the hardware store to keep people out.

This sudden activity is hard to swallow when you consider that the only people driving on our street all summer were people who live on the street.  Now we've got all kinds of undesirables doing as they please.  Our street is kind of hidden off the beaten path, so I always wonder how they find us.  I suspect someone advertised our street online or through word mouth as being a safe place to joy ride and drag race since it is straight, a dead end, and on the border between the city and the county, so you can quickly escape should the cops show up.

The first thing my husband said when he got home from work last night was, "Who was here?  I see skid marks in the rocks on our driveway."

Apparently, the plumbers peeled out when they left.  One of them asked me about our drag harrow.  He wanted to know what it was called and what we use it for.  I explained that it levels the sand in the riding arena and pulls up weeds on the driveway.  He said, "I don't know these things.  I'm a city boy."

It kind of reminded me of how different we are based upon where we live.  Our environment dictates our lifestyle to a major degree.  I have no doubt that these drivers who keep screwing up our driveway and our planters don't give their behavior a second thought, because in the city you have paved driveways and when you need to turn around, you have nowhere to go except into other people's driveways.  But in my neighborhood, if they'd just look around, they'd see there are public turnouts specifically for the purpose of turning around.  No need to mess up the residents' landscaping.

Overall, Rock was a good boy, as usual.  He didn't want to be out in the sun any more than I did.  He's such a perfect horse for me.  I just wish he were half a hand shorter.  It's going to be a sad day when I can no longer mount him.  Every once in a while I see someone advertising a short, stocky experienced trail horse, but they always show little kids riding them.  I'm not in the market for a horse, but I suspect that if I approached them about buying the horse, I'd have to lie and say it was for my grandchild, because most people wouldn't want to sell a short horse or pony to an adult.  Unfortunately, with my arthritis, that may be all I will be able to ride someday, unless I can get a crane to lift me and drop me into the saddle.


Laughing Orca Ranch said...

That's why I prefer short horses under 15hh. My hip arthritis has gotten much worse. Apache is only 14.2hh and even though I'm 5'11", and my feet dangle a bit, I prefer riding a "pony for a grownie".


Nuzzling Muzzles said...

Lisa - 14.2 is perfect. That's what Lostine is, but I can't ride her anymore because of her arthritis. Ironic.

Linda said...

No doubt--shorter horses are more desirable in our old age. Cowboy is on the shorter side--Leah on the taller. So, I'm also going backwards the wrong direction! I don't blame you for not going out in the hot desert alone. You have so many people out there--it's kind of scary. What if one is a criminal? Personally, I think you're brave. And, I've had the beginnings of heat stroke before in Texas on a bike ride--I had to stop and lay on the ground. It was bad.

Nuzzling Muzzles said...

Linda - When I see people on foot in the desert, I tend to avoid them. I've had homeless people attempt to approach me twice out there when I was on horseback and I don't want to risk someone on drugs grabbing my reins and pulling me down. I've also started avoiding riding next to roads, because I never know if drivers are slowing down to be polite or if they are slowing down because they are going to pull over and approach me. I simply do not want to be approached by any stranger, because I don't want to get sucked into their agenda. If I had a mountain lion in one direction, and a human in the other, I'd probably head toward the mountain lion and away from the human. Too many bad experiences with people, I guess.

I just remembered last night that my doctor told me that my anti-inflammatory medication will make me sensitive to the heat and direct sunlight, so that explains why I've been struggling so much to be outdoors. Usually, temps in the 90s feel cool to me.