Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Determined to Ride

Once I saw the weather forecast, I had set aside this week for horseback riding, with the goal of riding at least one horse each day.  I went so far as to cancel all other plans and appointments, knowing that a storm front would be coming through on Friday, so I had to make the best of my time and the good weather before then.  It seems that I'm always in a race against something when it comes to horseback riding.  Right now my biggest nemeses are...

1.  Excessive heat.
2.  Excessive cold.
3.  Rain.
4.  Traffic and delivery trucks racing up and down our street all day dropping off packages.
5.  Winter visitors who don't behave appropriately around horses.
6.  Trespassers.
7.  My cruddy health problems.
8.  My dog's cruddy health problems.
9.  My well running dry.
10.  My phone ringing off the hook.
11.  Chaos, full moons, curses...

So, today Midge seemed to be doing a little better than yesterday.  I fed her chicken and rice to try to help settle her stomach.  Sometimes I forget to express the obvious, which is that I do feel bad for my dog.  She has such a sour stomach that she crouches repeatedly, but nothing comes out.  I know it's no fun for her.  I didn't want to leave for my trail ride at the same time as yesterday since that was when Midge had her poop explosion all over the house.  Instead, I put her in the outdoor kennel for a while.

My bad leg graduated onto a new level of experience this morning when I kept getting electrical zaps that felt like I was getting hit in the thigh with a taser gun, and my knee would shoot forward and buckle, and I'd fall if I didn't have anything to grab on the way down.  I knew that was going to make horseback riding difficult, so I used my cane when I had to walk, and tried to stay off the leg the rest of the time.

By afternoon, the zapping went away, so I got ready to ride, but then a delivery came.  It was Midge's urine test strip kit.  I figured I'd better hurry up and use it so I could call the vet's office with the results.  An hour later I finished the whole process and picked up the phone to call the vet, but it rang instead, and caller ID showed that it was the vet's office calling me.  I gave the assistant the results, and she said she'd talk to the doctor and get right back to me.  Since Midge has a small trace of keytones in her urine, they may have to flush them out.

An hour later, I still hadn't received the call back, and I was getting pissed.  My window of opportunity to ride a horse was slipping away.  I don't like to ride after 3:30 PM, because the winter sun just gets too low in the sky and blinds me, plus that's the height of delivery trucks racing up and down our street along with teenagers getting out of school and other neighbors coming home from work.  I decided to start saddling a horse, and if the vet didn't call back by the time I mounted, she was out of luck.  I silence my phone while I ride, so she could leave a message.

It was Bombay's turn to be ridden, but he's not quite ready for the trail and I didn't want to have to clean the arena or rake the round pen, so I saddled Rock for another trail ride since our trail ride yesterday got cut short by a delivery.  Rock alerted on something behind me and I turned around to see a bicyclist standing on the cliff in my backyard.  I said, "Go away," and he did.  I don't think he actually heard me, but I'm really getting tired of people trespassing and watching me in my backyard.  I'm not there for their entertainment.  I know that many of these winter visitors are fascinated by the western lifestyle, but they can go to the ghost town up the hill if they want to be entertained.  They can hang out in a saloon and watch people ride their horses there.

Rock was very energetic, and then I remembered that this was his usual time of day to play-fight with Bombay.  We didn't see another soul along the trails, but there were fresh truck tire tracks.  As we were heading toward home, I stopped Rock right before the gate to listen for traffic.  He felt like he was getting away from me in his rush to get back to the barn, so stopping and standing still was good practice with him being in that mindset.

I heard a door slam, and then another, and then another.  It sounded like it was right next to my house.  I figured that my neighbor came home or had company, and I waited for the slamming to stop, because Rock gets so mesmerized by strangers that it's hard to keep him on the task at hand.  I didn't want him freezing up and staring while we were in the middle of the street.

However, the doors just kept on slamming for several minutes.  Those of you who have read my blog for years will remember my neighbors at my old house who always came outside and started slamming car doors whenever I tried to ride a horse.  They'd act like they were going to drive somewhere, but then they'd just open and slam the driver's side door, open and slam the back left door, open and slam the trunk, open and slam the right back door, open and slam the passenger door, and then move on to the next junk vehicle on their property.  It would go on for hours, or at least for as long as I was outside trying to work with a horse.  They had so many junk vehicles piled up on their property.  I'd stand there waiting for the slamming to stop so I could mount my horse safely, but those people were relentless about the door slamming business.

So, I was wondering if my old neighbors had found me.  I knew Rock wouldn't spook, but I didn't want to have to battle to get him across the street and down my driveway with whatever activity was going on, so I decided to teach him that I don't always dismount at the hitching post.  I looked down, and the ground was just too far down, so I had to move him onto a slope.  Right when I dismounted, a jackrabbit burst out of the bush next to him, and he didn't react at all.  I totally love that horse.

As I led him across the street, I saw that the door slamming was coming from the snowbirds who live two doors down during the winter.  They were unpacking their car for what looks like it is going to be a long stay.  Their arrival marks the end of me being able to ride safely in my round pen and arena.  I was hoping to get Bombay better tuned up in the arena and round pen before taking him out on the trails, but now it would be safer for me to ride him on the trails.  These people are so hyper, constantly hiking around all over in both their backyard and my backyard, popping out of bushes as they go.  They scare the hell out of me, so I understand when my horses startle.

It also marks the end of clean air.  They love burning shit in their fireplace.  It also marks the end of my privacy.  They love to stare at me from their back porch.  It also marks the end of clean water troughs.  They love to feed the ravens full danishes, which the ravens promptly deposit into my water troughs.  I was hoping to at least get my well operating at full speed before having to clean out water troughs, so the timing of their arrival sucks.

As I was leading Rock down to the hitching post in my backyard, I could see the man bending over behind a bush in his backyard.  Why go in your house and unpack your suitcase after a long trip when you can weed?  I was thinking how fortunate it was that I chose not to ride Bombay in the round pen, because I'm sure he would have been flipping out as soon as that guy started running around down there.

Well, I'm off to go dump manure into the round pen while they watch.  Oh yeah, and the vet did call back while I was riding, but didn't leave a message.  Her receptionist caught me later, and said that the vet wants me to bring Midge in to flush the keytones out of her system.  She wanted me to bring her in tomorrow, and I said, "How about Friday instead?"  That's when it should rain, and I won't be able to ride a horse then anyway.  If Midge had a huge keytone count, I'd take her in right away, but this is barely a trace.  I'm not giving up the one week of 70-degree weather we've had all fall for this.  I've already lost two riding days this week, and I'm getting really stubborn about keeping this time reserved for the horses.  I'm determined to ride.

Of course, I can't tell anyone but horse people that I'm postponing my second, more extensive breast cancer screening and my dog's vet visit so that I can ride horses in good weather, because no one else will understand.  They think this is just a recreational hobby, but for me, being able to ride in what little decent weather we've had this year is the difference between me being happy and me being a raging Pitbull.  I'm sure my friends and family would prefer to see my more pleasant side.


Grey Horse Matters said...

It certainly sounds busy around your house. I think the trails are a more peaceful option. Good luck with your riding for the rest of the week. And good luck with Midge and your screening too.

Linda said...

So, yeah, I got to experience your world of multi-use trails and lots and lots of people! I see what you're talking about! Nothing quite prepares you for those LOUD motorcycles ripping by!! I totally agree that you need to protect your riding days. Those 70 degree days are golden!! And, riding is good medicine. The best.

Crystal said...

Oh ya I totally understand. Take the riding time, there is lots of other time for other stuff.