Saturday, November 26, 2016

Getting Close

I'm having flashbacks to last spring when I allowed others to encroach on the best horseback riding weather all year.  At the time of my surgery this fall, we were still having summer temperatures, so I wasn't too concerned that I would be missing out on the best horseback riding weather.  However, the doctor neglected to tell me that I wouldn't be allowed to exercise for two weeks following the surgery, and wouldn't you know it, those two weeks of recovery held our only window of fall temperatures.  I missed it.  I should be able to start riding this upcoming week after my post-op exam, but we've got a weather system on its way that is going to bring wind, rain, and drop us down into the 50s.  For me, the perfect temperatures are in the 70s, and we only experienced them for one to two weeks this season.  So very frustrating.  Oh well, I tried to enjoy them from the lounger on the porch.

My horses suddenly have a lot of fuzz.  Their hair is as soft as my bunny's fur.  Charity let me pet her with my whole hand like one would be able to stroke domestic rabbit.  She was fine with it until my thumbnail accidentally poked her, and then she hopped behind me to let me know she was done.  I think the trick to taming a wild rabbit is to always show it respect by walking away as soon as the rabbit displays fear.  That's the approach I've taken with her, and it works.  I let her call the shots, so she's more confident in having me near her knowing that I will go away as soon as she asks me to leave her alone.

It's the opposite approach that I take with horses.  Horses need to have pressure put on them until they do what you ask, and only then do you walk away and let them rest.  Both horses and rabbits are fearful creatures, yet they need completely different approaches in their training.  If you back off every time a horse gets nervous, it will learn to stay nervous.  If you back off every time a bunny gets nervous, it will learn that you are not a threat.  It would be interesting to find out exactly what the thinking process is for each animal.

I've noticed that Charity has social anxiety.  While most of the other rabbits hang out in small groups and share food, Charity hopped away as soon as any other rabbit approached her.  I decided to work on that with her, and I found one bunny who is sweet and never attacks other rabbits to help me.  I began inviting that bunny to come over and share some food with Charity.  I just got the bunny's attention and pointed at the food, and it came.  Some bunnies are more cooperative and trusting than others.  Then when Charity ran away, I pointed at the food and asked her to come back while the other rabbit was eating it.

You see, I usually chase other bunnies off, because they are aggressive and poke her with their noses and nip at her.  She's skinny, they are fat, and they don't need the food.  But with this sweet bunny, I refused to chase it off.  Charity eventually got the idea and joined the other bunny for a more social dining experience, and she learned that not all rabbits are bad.

I've been anxious to start exercising again.  Every time I get into the habit of working out each day, something happens to take it away from me, and then I fall back into the routine of being a couch potato.  My kids and their significant others are all very health conscious.  My son and his girlfriend enter half-marathons and workout in gyms when they can.  My daughter watches her diet and goes to gyms after work while her boyfriend is into martial arts and taking up hiking.  They both scuba dive.  I'm envious that all of them can be so active.

I've been going stir crazy not being able to exercise, so every few days I cheat and do something to test the waters.  This weekend I started shoveling manure again, and that went well.  Then I lifted a 40 lb. bag of trash without any repercussions.  That got my confidence up, so I took Bombay for a short walk in the desert and got his help in raking the round pen.  He mostly just ate whatever morsels he could find in there, but he kept me company while I worked.  After that, my energy started waning and I felt stinging and cramping at the point of my surgical procedure, so I had to quit.

But I'm getting close to being able to resume my normal routine.  I was hoping to plant another tree by the round pen before a cold spell hit, but it looks like I'll have to wait until spring for that.  I was proud of Bombay, because he didn't spook once despite having many opportunities to do so.  He behaved more like Rock, alerting on things, but acting more interested than scared.  He spotted a cloud of dust rising from where a neighbor was doing tractor work, and he just watched it.  At the same time, someone was driving a pick up truck around their property while someone else was training a horse.  He just took it all in without breaking into a panic from being overstimulated.  I was raking near his head and he didn't flinch.  Rabbits and birds busted out of the brush around us, and he acted like he didn't even notice.  I'm looking forward to riding him again.  What I really like about Bombay is that he waits for me to give him cues, and then he follows them.  He doesn't anticipate what I'm going to ask based on my routine.  It's easy to stop him at streets while I look both ways, and easy to get him to cross quickly.  With Rock, it's more like trying stop and start up a locomotive.  I need the length of a football field before I see results.

We have a new neighbor, sort of.  A young guy moved back into his parents' house, and he drives like a maniac, so now I have to contend with him when I cross our street.  He also likes to joy ride in their ATV.  These neighbors have been good about only driving it around the neighborhood when they had guests over for parties, but now this young guy drives it for fun whenever he feels like it.  He woke me up at 6:30 in the morning one day when I planned to sleep in, because its engine is so loud.  He also drives it around late at night.  That inspired other neighbors to break out their ATVs, so there's been a cacophony of engine sounds for the past couple of weeks.  Hopefully, he'll get a job soon and get out of my hair.

The desert looks so different from how it looked the last time I hiked out there.  The bushes and trees are growing like gangbusters, so it's a tight squeeze along some trails.  There are a lot more shady spots, something I needed in the summer months.  I guess our last rain storm a couple of weeks ago did the trick.  They should really go nuts after this next one.


Mrs Shoes said...

Plunging down into the 50's... I'll have to tell my Canadian daughter whose SO is dragging her to your area for Christmas to bring her bathing suit.
Yes, We would MUCH rather our only daughter be coming home to US for Christmas (their first together), but NO - HIS mother won out over us.
They COULD have flown here for a day or two first, or after, but NO - nothing.
Take a guess how I'm feeling about my daughter's selfish boyfriend right now.

Nuzzling Muzzles said...

Mrs. Shoes - Yeah, that's a tough one. It's hard to keep the holidays fair when two sets of parents live so far apart. I don't want anyone stressing out over worrying if I feel jilted when the kids can't come here, so I've been viewing those holidays where we host less company as a break from cooking, cleaning and entertaining, and try to make up for it in phone calls and future visits. Hopefully, you'll get them next Christmas. We tried splitting the holidays by visiting my parents on Christmas Eve and his parents on Christmas Day one year, and my parents still felt jilted. We ended up keeping it fair by not traveling at all for future holidays. Not having to trek through snow removed a lot of our own stress.

Camryn said...

Hate when reality gets in the way. Hence Mini's, someday again I hope. Though I do enjoy the boyz immensely.