Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Grand Central

What a difference a day makes.  Yesterday I had a wonderful, quiet ride alone on Rock.  Today it was as if someone opened the floodgates and people poured into my neighborhood.  I had to face the fact that Mr. Wonderful, my most favorite trail horse in the world, has ADD.

Let's start with BEFORE I even mounted.  I had a delivery of pellets scheduled, but the feed store won't even narrow it down to a 4-hour window.  You just have to wait all day for a phone call telling you that the driver is on his way.  The good thing is that they know me real well at the feed store and the do always call ahead.

Anyway, the driver called and I was hanging out with the horses waiting for him to arrive.  I was making kissing noises at Gabbrielle and talking to her when she and Rock suddenly popped their heads up and looked at my neighbor's place.  I looked over to see this man's head peering over the patio wall at me.  Gah!  I didn't even know anyone was touring the house.  I usually hear them drive up.

My delivery arrived and I was walking in and out of the house, and every time I walked out, this same man who already toured the house and property multiple times was back over there staring into my yard watching our activities.  This guy's real estate agent must be a saint, because this client has sucked up so much of his time, and the man can't seem to make up his mind whether he wants the place or not.  Each time he comes back to tour the house, he stays for several hours, and spends most of it pointing at things in my backyard.  I really don't want this man to buy the house, because he has no manners.  He stares excessively and is overly interested in my activities, which is the last thing I need in a neighbor.  I moved 750 miles and bought a large acreage in order to get away from that.

Well, sure enough, the guy spent another three hours over there, and Rock couldn't stop staring back.  He gets highly distracted by strangers.  When they finally left and restored my privacy, I saddled up.  As I was retrieving Rock from the hitching post, I could see that he was distracted and pumped up about something.  He was looking off in the distance.  I tried to mount, but he wouldn't hold still.  He kept staring off into the distance and dancing around.   I said, "Okay, you're distracted by something.  Let's go see what it is."

I led him to the front of the house and looked up and down the street, but didn't see anything.  Then we heard hoof beats and voices.  Three horseback riders passed in the desert.  I was amazed that he sensed them more than half a mile away.  He settled down once they passed, so I started to mount, but then he jumped away from the mounting stool and craned his neck over toward the snowbirds' place.  I sighed and said, "What now?"

I could hear voices and doors slamming.  I had to wait for that distraction to pass to get him to hold still for the mount, and then I rode out.  I rode him up a hill to reach the highest trail that looks down on the rest of the desert, and he popped his head up and halted...

I could see an endurance rider out conditioning her Arabian horse.  They were trotting toward us on an adjacent trail.  I dug my heels in and urged Rock to keep moving and focus on us and our destination, but he wouldn't budge.  I grabbed the quirt to smack him, but he tried to spin and head for home, so I had to drop the quirt and wrestle him back into the direction we were headed.

I thought that he thought the Arab was running from something, and he was going to run too, but by then the rider had stopped her horse and was standing still.  I wondered if she stopped because she saw me struggling to get control of Rock, but it turned out that Rock was trying to turn around because there were two riders on gaited horses coming up fast from behind him on an adjacent trail.  He wanted to get eyes on them.  The endurance rider stopped, because her horse was getting riled up about those gaited horses coming toward them so fast.  She called out to them and asked them to slow to a walk.  They didn't exactly slow to a walk, but slowed down enough that she thanked them and was able to pass.  I don't even know if any of the other riders noticed me wrestling Rock on the hill.

I rode along the ridge and it wasn't even five minutes later that Rock tossed up his head and came to a halt again.  Two more riders were coming toward us on an adjacent trail and of course, he had to stare.

That was kind of the theme of the ride... stopping and staring...

If we're going to continue to have this much activity along the trails, I'll need to remember to wear my spurs so that I can keep his head pointed forward and his feet moving simultaneously.  I'm just so thankful that Rock never gets angry and bucks or rears when I get into these wrestling matches with him.  For what he lacks in responsiveness, he makes up for in patience.

Here's a good picture of what it's like to squeeze through the types of gates set up to let hikers and horses through, but keep motorized vehicles out...

I get a lot of bruised knees.

Here's my stacks of horse pellets in the tack room...

That should last me at least four months.

After I got home from my ride, a FedEx driver delivered some dog food, rang the doorbell and called out to me.  They usually don't need a signature, so I shoved the dogs aside and squeezed out the door to see what he wanted.  He was admiring our windmill and wanted to know where we got it!  I had to break the news to him that it was handmade by a relative.

The dogs had to pee really bad after that excitement, so I put leashes on them and then my phone rang.  It was my ex-neighbor.  I figured that guy finally made an offer on the house, but he still hasn't!  She just wanted to let me know what was going on with her.  She said she and her husband and all her dogs and horses may have to move back into the house because her husband lost his job and they can't afford to live in the house they just bought anymore.  I think I'd rather have them back with their eight barking guard dogs than to have the man who stares at me in my back yard.  I'd take noise over nosy any day.


Camryn said...

WOW, that's a lot of feed! I'm only half way thru a 50lb bag I got the Mini's the beginning of Jan. They literally only receive a handful twice a day. I don't realize how little they eat sometimes and still get tubby. know way my knees would've cleared that gate on Camryn!!!

Linda said...

All horses have their days--even the Rocks. lol. That was a lot for a horse to take in. It was the perfect storm of events. For all he knew, those horses were running away from something very dangerous. I took Cowboy to a poker ride last fall and there were two actual run-away horses--threw their riders and took off for the high hills past us. And, there were people running the routes, rather than walking, as the rules said. I had to dismount and walk Cowboy back to the arena, work & get his mind back, and then go back out once things calmed down. Generally, I avoid group rides, and that helped me remember why I do.