Saturday, April 14, 2012

New Sounds ...

I heard a sound I didn't recognize last night and I couldn't figure out what it was until my mom told me - the sound of wind blowing through the palm trees.  It's windy again this morning and I'm enamored with this sound because it's so new to me.  It sounds like sheets of rain falling on the roof/windows until you look out and see there is no rain.  I lived in Sacramento for a summer almost twenty years ago but I don't remember this sound.  But I lived downtown and I don't think we had this many palm trees - or this much open space.  The other cool thing is that our hotel looks out over a big golf course and there are jack rabbits running around the green.

Our flight down was kind of annoying - more annoying than the last few times we've taken a plane.  Part of it may just be hormonal angst on my part.  But I was having a really hard not being incredibly cranky near the end of the flight.  There was a toddler behind us who cried the whole first hour then as soon as he calmed down the toddler next to him started crying.  But that didn't seem to be bothering me so much.  I'm used to children crying - you know, from having one.  I know how hard it for children to be stuck on their parent's lap between one and two years old - it's just torture for them not being able to move and run around.  But I think it was that and that the guy in front of me leaned his seat back all the way so it was practically in my lap to the point where I couldn't even put my lap top on the tray in front of me because the seat was too much in my lap.  And there was this woman two rows behind us who was talking at the top of her lungs the WHOLE DAMN FLIGHT.  I am always amazed by people who are so oblivious to other people that they don't realize that they are talking really, really loud and it's driving people nuts.  There were brief (very brief) breaks in her talking when I think her soft-spoken, Asian friend was saying something because I could just barely hear a whispering, accented sound when she was actually quiet, but after just a moment she would say, "Oh, I totally know! Oh my god! And then we did blah blah blah and it was soooooo awesome! And did you KNOW that her brother is soooooo cute and I got to sit next to him ..."  Aaaaagh!  You've been talking three fucking hours straight - can't you shut up just for a moment!!!  Just add some packing peanuts floating around and a floor covered with juniper and I would be in Hell.  I used to say that Hell was filled with creeping Juniper and packing peanuts but I think it's also filled with self-important 30-somethings who can't stop talking really loudly in small enclosed places. 

Thankfully, when I whispered to my husband that I was really cranky he whispered back, "It's that damn woman two rows behind us, isn't it?"  which made me feel better.  Then he said, "Why do you think the spiky haired guy behind us is on his third rum and coke?"  It was true, I saw him walk by us in the terminal and he was on his cell phone, seriously weaving and saying to someone, "I just flew today on the worst flight!"

Every year when we come visit my parents in Arizona we stay at a Hilton-chain hotel but last year it had really gone downhill - they were two hours late checking us into our room, which was tiny and cramped and smelled bad, the towels were little threadbare and frayed, and the bathroom floor was dirty.  So, this year we're staying at their Marriott-chain competitor and it's way better. Waaaaay better.  This morning over breakfast my daughter said staying here made her feel like a princess. 

I miss my pets and horses already.  I was thinking this morning about how it was just a year ago (before I had met her) that Toad was owned by the irresponsible teenager and she had mud fever on her hind feet (a fungus that causes painful sores and scabs around the coronet band, fetlock and pastern and comes on from legs being caked in mud) but she was so freaked out and wild that no one could touch her back legs to clean them, so she had to live with it until summer when it dried out and cleared up on its own.  Even the vet said that someone needed to work with her because if she got a serious injury it wouldn't even be able to be cleaned without completely sedating her.  Trainer K. told me that story (with that "good god!" look of horror in her eyes that Toad wasn't getting the care she needed and the irresponsible teen would not hire a trainer for help).  I was thinking about that this morning and how now when it's super muddy and I'm the one bringing her in, I can just take her right into the washroom and scrub her hooves, pastern and fetlock, then rub it dry with a towel and she just stands there politely.  I knew she had it in her, she just needed a professional trainer, like Trainer K. working with consistently and an owner that loves her and will follow directions on how to work with her. 

In fact, let me list some of the wonderful ways that she has improved since I bought her in August '11.  She leads like a dream from her stall to the groom room, bathing rack, and arena.  We're still working on leading outside (especially when she wants grass) but it's still nothing like when I first got her when she would literally try to drag me with her and she ran to the grass.  In the arena she will even follow and listen to my commands without a lead rope.  When we go into the arena to free lunge she now follows me in (98%) will be polite (and the other 2% will be polite after correction) and will walk around with me while I go to close gates and put down my whip and will stand quietly while I take her halter off.  Before she would rush into the arena and it was all you could do to try and get the halter off before she'd explode and fly off - sometimes before you got the halter all the way off.  She was never bad about me picking her feet but now after I pick up one foot to clean, all I have to do is lean over next to another foot and she'll pick it up for me without me even touching it.   I'm so glad I decided to keep her because even though we're still not to the point where I can just hop on and ride her outside of training, her ground work is showing her to be such an amazing, sweet and good horse.

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