My trail exploration on Monday got canceled. I was planning on riding Tuesday, but was struggling with one of my lovely health problems. I had an appointment today, but managed to make it out for a trail ride beforehand.
Rock was testing me left and right by refusing to leave the property and then eating everything he could get his mouth on. He just wanted to graze with me on his back. Kicking him, slapping him, smacking him with the reins and quirt had no effect. He was going to eat, hell or high water. So, I made a mental note to revert back to wearing spurs. I'm not happy about that, because I have to wear my old paddock boots that give me blisters, and it takes longer to get ready. I've been trying to minimize the number of steps it takes to go for a ride, and to lighten my load by not bringing as much stuff with me.
For instance, I just leave a water bottle with old, yucky water in it in the saddle bag at all times instead of getting fresh ice water before the ride and carrying it from the house to the tack room. However, after today's ride, I was feeling the effects of dehydration since I wouldn't touch the yucky water, so I may have to get fresh ice water in the future. The ice is necessary to keep from overheating. Also, I didn't bring my helmet cam, so no pictures.
Most of my struggle to get out the door to go for a ride revolves around the dogs. One always has to insist that he or she has to pee right then, so I have to delay my trail ride to take the dog out. Then when we come back in, another dog is waiting at the door doing its pee pee dance. And the string of interruptions wouldn't be complete without the third dog showing up as I bring in the second dog. So, having less junk to remember like spurs, ice water and a camera makes my life easier.
The ride itself was uneventful once Rock decided to just walk without eyeing the buffet along the sides of the trails. No snakes, thank God. No cholla. I did have to steer him around dried grass to avoid stickers, but that's about it. I found a spot in the desert where someone had cut down a bunch of shrubbery. My first thought was that the rangers were doing trail maintenance, but there were many other places along the trails that needed thinning or cutting back where they didn't do anything. Now I'm thinking that a horseback rider made that clearing, because there used to be thick brush, and then when you walked around the thick brush, a human sized saguaro cactus jumped out at you. It spooks my Arabs every time. By getting rid of the brush, horses can see the cactus up ahead, so it eliminates the spooking.
On the way home, while we were in the street, a neighbor who I rarely see leave his house came striding out from behind a bush. He startled me a little, but Rock just kept on walking. He was more interested in getting home to eat the other horses' leftovers than he was a startling or gawking at my neighbor. After my ride, the dogs greeted me at the door insisted that they needed to pee again, so I took them out. I remember thinking, "My neighbor was just heading out onto the trails to get some exercise ten or fifteen minutes ago, so we shouldn't run into him."
Then as soon as we walked into the dogs' yard, Stewie started barking his head off and there was my neighbor returning from his extremely brief hike. I get so embarrassed when my dogs bark at him. Usually, if he is out, I take the dogs to the other side of the house to avoid that problem. I know I don't like to be barked at when I'm out for a walk. It looks like I'm going to have to do some anti-barking training with Stewie, because he has also started barking at the door when I go out to do my barn chores, which he never did before. Also, my husband's schedule at work has been erratic, so he keeps coming home early, which causes Stewie to bark, and barking at the garage door about the time he's been coming home early is getting to be a habit whether my husband is actually pulling into the garage or not. If it weren't for Stewie, Midge and Scrappy would be very quiet dogs. They just bark when he barks.
My other big task I need to get done before I do anymore trail riding is to bathe Rock and trim his tail. It's dragging on the ground again. Perhaps I'll get pictures of that.