Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Steering and Sanity Check

I thought I was never going to be able to get out the door to go trail riding this morning.  I didn't get off to a good start thanks to the dogs.  Stewie wanted to go out at 4:00 AM.  Neither of the other two dogs seemed interested, so I shut the garage bay, turned off the outdoor lights, and sat down at my desk to write.  Two minutes later, Scrappy was shaking his collar, which is the dogs' signal that they need to potty.  I opened up the garage bay and turned on all the lights again.  When he was done, I looked around for Midge, but couldn't find her.  I left the garage door open, knowing that she would probably appear in two minutes.

However, about ten minutes passed, and the heater turned on.  I had to close the garage bay to warm up the house.  I looked around for Midge one more time, but couldn't find her, so I shut the garage bay and turned off all the lights only to turn around to see Midge wandering around the corner shaking her collar.  I let out an expletive, and opened everything up again to take her out.  My neighbor was up, and I'm sure he must have thought I was nuts for opening and closing my garage door repeatedly, which is right by his bedroom window, at 4:00 in the morning.

Midge purposefully hides while I take the other dogs out, because she wants to go out after them and follow their scents.  She takes great pride in finding the exact location where each dog did its business.  I have to yank her away from it or she'll be sniffing there forever.  Sometimes she even eats it, which really gets my hackles up.  I just can't stomach a lot of her behavior.  She's also really obnoxious about blocking the other dogs when I'm trying to get them through the door, because she wants to sniff their butts.  No more dogs for me.  No siree.  It was a lot easier when I could just open up my back door and send the dogs out into an enclosed yard without having to walk them on leashes and witness all these disgusting behaviors.  Dogs aren't so cute when you have to be with them during potty time.

After feeding the dogs and taking them out one more time, I turned on several hoses to hand water the landscaping since that rattlesnake broke out drip system and prevented it from being fixed by making a nest in there.  I was only outside for about five minutes, and at the time I left, all three dogs were sleeping.  However, when I walked back into the house, all three dogs were sitting at the door and there was a pee stain on the carpet.  Seriously?  I just took them out and someone couldn't wait five minutes to go out again without having an accident?

I put all three dogs in the outdoor kennel while I cleaned the carpet.  When I brought them back indoors, Stewie immediately vomited up the grass he was eating while in the kennel.  I just can't win.

The rest of the morning kind of went like that.  Every time I made a move to do anything, the dogs would get so excited that they'd have accidents on the carpet.  Both Scrappy and Midge have figured out how to get out of their diapers, so that solution ended up just being huge waste of money like the outdoor dog kennel and everything else I've invested in to prevent dog urine from getting on the carpet.  I just couldn't take it anymore, so I ran out of the house and went for a trail ride, not caring what condition the carpet was in when I got back.

I usually just ride straight down the trails and only steer to tell the horse to turn on a new trail or to avoid cholla balls.  In this photo, Rock had been snatching branches to snack on, so I was steering him to the left side of the trail away from a cactus.  I didn't need him sinking his teeth into that.

He's never been a terribly responsive horse when it comes to stopping, going faster, or turning.  It's like driving an ocean liner.  I decided to spend some time focusing on his steering, so we went around a lot of bushes.  Sometimes we went around a bush and headed in the same direction, sometimes we went around a bush and headed in the opposite direction, other times we just circled one bush repeatedly.  I didn't want him finding a pattern and anticipating what I was about to ask of him.

Rock eventually got pissy about it and fought me.  Here the camera caught him throwing his head up in protest...

I wanted him to turn right, and he wanted to head left for home.  This kind of shows you how strong headed he can get.  I'm pulling with all my might, my hand is at his shoulder with plenty of room to pull back further, but I'm not getting any bend out of his neck.  I was also using my legs and not getting any bend in the barrel.  He hunched up his back and swished his tail.  I was kind of expecting that, because he's been misbehaving lately.  He bit me on the head yesterday when I bent down to look at a cut on his leg.  He got spanked for that.  Then he tried to bite my hand when I was reaching for the gate.  He got a rope thrown at him for that.  He's been Mr. Attitude.  Anyway, I was able to get him to go right by stopping him and making him stand, then asking him to move forward and right.  He just needed a few seconds of time out to forget about our struggle, and then his mood improved...

Clouds were building up and a cold wind was causing me to shiver, so I didn't want to stay out long.  It's days like this when I never know whether to wear a jacket or not.  It can be freezing one minute and boiling the next.  All it takes is for the clouds to move and the temperature either rockets up or plummets.

Bombay was still eating his breakfast at lunch time.  He is the world's slowest eating horse.  I keep thinking there are problems with his teeth, but the dentist and the vet never find anything that should interfere with his ability to chew.  Being a slow eater is just part of his personality.  Right now Bombay has a chunk taken out of his neck thanks to Rock.  I've been trying to get it to heal before the flies return, which should happen by the end of this week.  I'm going to break Rock of his biting habit come hell or high water.  We go through this every time he's been out of training for a few weeks.

Look how clean my tack room floor is...

No more bunny piddles and poodles.

When I got back into the house, I didn't find any accidents, but I did find that I forgot to put my pillow up high, so Midge was sleeping on it.  She is the stinkiest dog.  I had to donate my other pillow to the dogs because she kept sleeping on it (even though every dog has its own dog bed), and I had to keep washing the pillow to get the stink out, which caused it to get lumpy.  I bought a new one and swore I would not let her sleep on it, but she takes advantage of my inattention and absence every chance she gets.  I guess she prefers my pillow because it smells like me.  Apparently, I smell a lot better to her than she does to me.  Once it warms up, there will be a lot of baths handed out to dogs and horses alike.

Now that I'm back on my anti-inflammatories, I was able to hike one mile this weekend, and two miles yesterday.  I'm hoping to get even further than that soon.  The Wellesse liquid joint movement supplement that Grey Horse Matters recommended has been making a difference in lessening my knee pain.


ellie k said...

Maybe you need to get a childs play pen to put the dogs in when you need some me time to sit down and relax for a few minutes or write a little.

Crystal said...

ugh dogs. They can be so needy. Of course our horses and cats can be like that some times too. Glad you got a ride in anyways sounds like you needed it

Camryn said...

Funny that Midge is stinky. I've found my Cardigans to be the most un stinky dogs I've ever been owned by! I've have several poop eaters, all females. Some say it's instinct that they must keep the nest clean so preditors can't find pups. Ivy prefers hers frozen as in poopsicles, though her Mother liked hers fresh from the oven 😖😖😖. Our Vet has mentioned that while not a great habit, it seems to keep Ivys teeth free from tartar buildup!

Linda said...

I love that picture of Rock when he's tired of being asked to do work. That is the exact look Leah gives me when I ask her to trot. If she decides to trot, all is fine, but if I ask her--pissy attitude. The ears go back just like that. LOL.

Nuzzling Muzzles said...

Camryn - I'm glad you said something about that, because I was wondering if that was a female dog behavior. I did have male dog who was bad about it too once, but he was a freak of nature and somewhat effeminate. Everyone called him a "she", even the vet. That dog would actually follow other dogs around and encourage them to poop in his mouth. Most disgusting thing on earth.