I managed to get out for another trail ride on Rock this morning. I forgot my camera, but enjoyed riding in a more comfortable helmet for a change, since I didn't have to use the helmet cam. I'm sure ya all know what those between-the-ears shots look like by now, anyway.
Rock was so awesome about some things that he almost brought me to tears. He waited after I mounted for several minutes until I gave him a definite cue to move forward. Then he stopped on his own at the end of the driveway and looked both ways. In the past, he'd trip down hills and run up them, but today he carefully watched his footing on the rocks and walked both down and up hills. His pace was perfect. He let me steer him and didn't fight the reins.
Between his good behavior and the good weather, I stayed out longer and explored some trails I hadn't been on in a while. Holy crap! Cholla have totally taken over the desert. I could not go anywhere without running into either a wall of cholla cacti, or a littering of their spiky balls across the trails. I had to keep going off trail to go around them, but unfortunately, too many jerks had broken beer bottles out there, so we usually ended up stepping in glass in an effort to avoid stepping on cholla. It was so frustrating. One time I just turned around and went back the way I came out. I miss the condition the desert used to be in back when I rode with P.S. We were able to take the majority of the trails without running into trouble, but now, because of all the rain we've had, we're losing those trails to cacti.
I thought we were going to make it all the way home without incident, but then Rock started getting silly, throwing his head around and rushing. When he rushes, he ignores my cues to slow or stop, and he trips a lot. It's uncomfortable, because I have no control. I'm never worried that he'll turn into a runaway horse or that he'll try to buck me off, but it definitely feels like I'm on a speeding, driverless locomotive.
We had another patch of cholla coming up and I could see that there were balls along the trail. I had to get control of his feet so I could steer him through that mine field, but he was done listening. I tried steering him around a bush, and that turned into him stopping and refusing to go. I was just playing tug-o-war with his head. So, without brakes or steering, I had to take advantage of that unexpected stop and dismount. We walked slowly the rest of the way, and whenever his teeth got anywhere near my skin, he got whacked with the lead rope. I also made him circle some bushes, stop and stand and wait, etc. He eventually settled down and I was able to take him home.
I wish he were further along, because for my next ride we will be trail riding with P.S. She has a horse that she can take anywhere, and it just behaves itself, for the most part. She doesn't like that her horse is competitive and has to race other horses to get out in front. That would definitely be annoying, but I love that her horse can be ridden on streets and it isn't concerned about traffic. There aren't a whole lot of places she can't go in the saddle with that guy. She wants to do endurance riding, so she's fine with riding several miles to my place to babysit me while I struggle with my horses.
Yesterday the sun was going down, and I was rushing around trying to get barn chores done. Then I needed to get in the house, feed the dogs, take them out, and make dinner for humans. A lot has to happen in a very short period of time, so I tell anyone who knows me never to call me right around sunset. I need for things to go like clockwork without interruptions.
Rock and Bombay were play fighting a little too rough, so I clapped at them to break it up, but Rock continued to hassle Bombay, so I chased him around throwing the Jolly Ball at him, because that was the only object within reach. All of the sudden, Rock alerted on my next-door neighbor's place, and I looked up to see a woman standing at the gate to their back driveway watching me repeatedly chucking a ball at my horse. She probably thought I was torturing him, but believe me, nothing phases Rock. He was having a grand old time dodging my pitches. Nothing like a good game of Horse Dodge Ball.
The stranger's presence sufficiently distracted Rock from beating up Bombay, so I went back to cleaning up manure. Next thing I knew, that woman and a man were climbing through the fence past the padlocked gate right into my neighbor's back yard. Really? Why do people do that? Aren't they afraid they'd get shot for trespassing? There was a No Trespassing sign in the front yard, yet here they were making themselves at home.
My neighbor has told me to call the police when people do that, but I'm so freakin' busy. I don't have time to fill out a police report. I've got things to do. They didn't look like burglars, so I let them go. They figured out how to unlock the chains on all the gates and made their way to my neighbor's barn. Why don't people just get real estate agents to show them the property? Why do they insist on snooping around by themselves? There are reasons why real estate agents need to be present when showing houses. If my house were up for sale, I would turn away anyone who showed up without an appointment and a real estate agent. Dropping in for a viewing is just so inconsiderate, yet everyone around here does it.
After surveying the property and trying to get into the house, the couple came back up the driveway very slowly and gawked at me as I did my barn chores. Strike two. I don't want neighbors who stare at me or who trespass. I figured that they wanted to ask me questions about the neighborhood, but I swear, if I dropped everything to answer the questions of every home shopper who comes through here, I'd never get anything done. So, I ignored them and picked up the pace while multi-tasking, so that they'd get the hint that I was busy.
The only thing I appreciated about them was that they made sure to close and lock all the gates behind them. A lot of Looky Loos don't bother to do that, and I have to go over to clean up their mess. The couple disappeared, but their truck was still in front of the house. I finished with my barn chores, fed the dogs, and brought two of them out into the back yard to do their business. I walked them over to the side of the house to make sure I had turned off the water, and I saw several more vehicles in the neighbor's driveway now. Then I heard voices and the sound of gates opening and closing.
I had to get the dogs back in the house before they saw the people, because that would start a barking fit. I then took the other dog out the garage on the far side of the house away from the people, so that he could concentrate. Right then, the home shoppers started up their truck and drove up the street. Holy crap! They had a super loud engine, and their truck was way up high on mag wheels. They were tearing up the street way too fast for what should be a quiet, residential neighborhood.
Strike three. I definitely don't want neighbors who drive too fast in a ridiculously loud vehicle. They are probably the type of people who drive back and forth, back and forth all day long with no rhyme or reason. I can deal with loud engines if the person passes my house just twice a day on his way to work in the morning and on his way home at night, but nowadays most people work out of their homes and are coming and going every few minutes. I can't stand that.
Anyway, they spotted me in my side yard with my dog and slammed on their brakes. I was like, "Oh, hell no! I am still way too busy to be questioned."
They then drove forward and I could hear them turning around in the turnout. I was glad that they at least used the turnout rather than my driveway, but I still wasn't willing to give them my time, so I dragged Scrappy around the corner of the house into the back yard, thinking that they were no longer touring that area since I saw them driving off. I could hear the truck engine pull up to the end of my driveway and stop, as if they were looking for me. They gave up and drove back to my neighbor's house.
Then I turned around and saw more people coming toward me from the back yard. I was jumping out of my skin, because I felt like I was surrounded. I dragged Scrappy back to the side yard, and heard two ladies laughing. I don't know if they were laughing at me, but I'm sure I looked funny doing all these evasive maneuvers to try to avoid having these strangers take up my time. I got back into the house, and those people stayed there for at least an hour, so they must have been really interested in the property. I'll talk to them after they move in. I just am tired of random people coming into my back yard to ask me questions about the place. I made it clear to my neighbors that I don't want to be involved in the sale of their home anymore. They used to pay me a bundle to open up their place for showings and to close everything up after the home shoppers leave, but I wanted to reclaim my own schedule. I got tired of having my trail rides get thwarted by last minute showings and last minute home maintenance appointments.
The house has a good chance of selling now, because the owners dropped the price down to about $150,000 less than what they paid for it ten years ago. That's a total of about $300,000 less than their original asking price. They just want to get rid of it at this point. I think as long as they had me to take care of the place, they weren't going to come down on their price, but since I quit, they've been steadily dropping it. Soon I will have to adjust to new neighbors. Just please don't let them have barking dogs that live outside 24/7 like the last homeowners. I don't want to have to walk around with plugs in my ears.