Thursday, December 29, 2016

Testing the Waters

I've spent most nights this past week stewing over how I'm going to be able to get back into riding horses with everything that has been going on between my health care appointments, the dogs, and the wet weather.  Last night I finally got a full night's sleep and woke up feeling refreshed.  The sun came out in the late morning.  I had almost forgotten what it looked like.  My friend came over and gently encouraged me to take advantage of the nice weather and ride.

Another storm is coming in tomorrow.  Yesterday the weather forecast showed rain for the next two weeks.  Today the forecast shows intermittent rain with breaks.  I don't mind rain.  I just can do without the mud being tracked into the house, and the dogs refusing to do their business in the rain and mud.  I can also do without the thrush and hoof abscesses, and the manure and dog poop weighing twice as much when I pick it up.

At any rate, today was my one chance to ride, and I was going to take it.

I put on my boots and marched outside, but so did everyone else.  Almost as if everyone realized simultaneously that the sun was out, they came out in their cars, on their ATVs, on their bicycles, in their hiking boots.  Engines revved all around me as neighbors decided to give their vehicles tune ups.  I remembered that the only thing worse than riding on a holiday is riding when everyone has cabin fever.

I decided to take a horse for a hand-walk first, so that I could check out the condition of the trails.  I not only wanted to see if the trails were blocked by mud puddles, which are like quicksand to horses, but I wanted to know how people were traveling.  It seems that each year someone comes up with a new way to use that open space.  Sometimes people are out there with drones.  Sometimes they are dive bombing the rest of us in powered parachutes.  I wanted to know who my nemeses were today before climbing onto the back of a horse.

I had my phone turned on and hooked up to my belt loop.  I had the thought that I should mute it, but got distracted and forgot.  I led Bombay out.  We stopped at the edge of the street to listen for cars, and heard a truck engine idling just on the other side of the blind hill.  We waited for the truck to pass, but it never appeared.  I figured someone was just sitting in it and not driving, so we began crossing the street.

Of course, right then the truck appeared over the top of the hill and came right at us.  I never assume that the driver sees us.  Most people drive while looking at their mobile phones.  So, I picked up speed to get out of his way, and right then my phone went off at full volume.  I jumped out of my skin and let out an expletive.  I've got PTSD when it comes to phones ringing, because I've been dealing with a lot of bad news and harassment lately.  Bombay reacted to everything happening simultaneously.  He was on overload between the loud truck coming at us, my loud phone ringing, and me reacting so emotionally.  He bolted past me, I yanked the lead rope to bring him to a stop, and yelled, "Cut it out!"

The truck driver slowed way down.  The phone stopped ringing.  I was leading him through the narrow trail gate when the truck was driving behind us, and my phone blew up a second time.  I yelled out a curse -- not at my horse or the truck driver, but just at whoever was so rude as to call me twice within 30 seconds.  WTF is so urgent?  Is somebody dying in a hospital and do I only have a few minutes to say my goodbyes?  Bombay exploded again and danced around.  I shook the lead rope and told him to cut it out.  I let him turn around and face the truck, and then led him up the trail head, where I saw tons of bicycle tracks just going in circles in front of my house.

Ugh.  He's baaaaaaaaa-ack.  The snowbird who rides his bicycle in circles in the desert in front of my house is back.  This is someone from the same family that always trespasses in my backyard and spooks my horses there.  If the guy would just ride his bike to some destination, it would be a non-issue.  But he rides in circles right at the trailhead for hours on end, and he scares my horses.  They won't approach and pass him, because he keeps popping in and out from behind bushes like a predator.  The guy is deaf, so he can't hear me when I try to get him to move along or when I try to stop him to explain the problem.  He's just a pain in the butt for me.

This time he wasn't out there -- just his tracks.  Bombay and I found a tiny shred of one of my blue jeans that the coyotes stole and brought it back home.  Bombay wanted to bring a long, curly stick home, but I wouldn't let him.  There were quite a few mud puddles, but we could get around them.  I just took him for a quick spin, and then returned to the house to let the dogs out.  I was testing the waters to see if I could leave for a few minutes without the house becoming a disaster zone.  Part of the problem is that the dogs get so excited when they see me leaving with a horse that they lose control of their bladders.  They managed to not pee on the carpet or in their diaper while I was gone, which was encouraging.

I was in the process of switching boots to get ready to ride when one thing after another kept happening to block me.  Before I knew it, most of the afternoon had come and gone while I dealt with all of the interruptions.  It was everything from clothes completing their dryer cycle and having to be hung before they got wrinkled to delivery after delivery.  I had ordered some office supplies and Amazon broke them up into four different shipments coming on the same day, and then my husband had something being delivered as well.  I don't like to ride when we are expecting deliveries, because I've had delivery truck drivers race into my driveway right up to me and my terrified horse.  I don't know what they are thinking.  I'm not going to take the packages from them if I'm riding my horse.  I need to keep both hands on the reins.

I'm also really unlucky about riding up the driveway right when trucks are driving down the driveway.  It only takes me one minute to ride my horse up the driveway and across the street, but it's amazing how many vehicles show up to my driveway in that one minute out of the entire day.  If we had 12 hours of daylight to ride, and there are 60 minutes in an hour, that makes the odds 720 to 1 that a delivery will be made while I am riding my horse up the driveway.  But it happens to me all the time.  It's ridiculous.

Anyway, I made several attempts to go for a ride, and it was almost as if having the intention to ride triggered another interruption.  I began questioning if perhaps I was being blocked from riding for good reason.  I've had experiences in the past when these million-to-one bizarre incidents kept happening to block me from going somewhere, but I went anyway, and ended up regretting it.

Literally, every time I made a move to put on those riding boots, another delivery truck drove up.  I was opening all the packages that had been delivered thus far, and I only had one breakable item among them.  That one breakable item managed to fling itself off the counter top onto the floor right in front of me.  At that point, I shut down.  I said, "I'm done for the day.  Something paranormal is going on here, and I'm obviously not supposed to leave the house again."

It was kind of reminiscent of that old cliche used in movies about haunted houses where someone tries to leave the house, and all the doors and windows slam shut and get stuck, so they are trapped inside.  As soon as I made the decision not to ride a horse, everything settled down.  Weird.

So, that's my story of my one good weather day without dog diarrhea and doctor appointments.  It got flushed down the toilet anyway.  Oh yeah, and when I saw that the weather forecast showed that we were going to have rain for the next two weeks, I called to set up that imaging appointment I'd been avoiding.  By the time I checked the weather forecast again, the one day of my appointment is looking like it will be the one nicest weather day we will get in the next two weeks.  If I cancel again, they'll probably fine me.  All I can say is that spring better make up for all of this.  My summer sucked.  My fall sucked.  Now it's looking like my winter is sucking too.

Oh yeah, those poorly timed phone calls?   Nobody I knew.  That number is now on my blocked caller list.


Ian H said...

Gee, when I was riding, one of the first rules was "all cell phones turned off, or to low vibrate" Not fun if you are on a narrow trail with big trees on either side! It could hurt!

Nuzzling Muzzles said...

Ian - I'm glad you said something, because everyone around here talks and texts while riding, and phones are going off left and right. I thought my horses were the only ones who flip out over dumb things like that. Although, in this case, I think my irritated reaction influenced my horse more than the phone actually ringing.