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Saturday, July 21, 2012


A special warning to my blog reader and friend Funder: this post is going to freak you out. 

Growing up in a semi rural area, with parents that arbitrarily demanded that the woodpile be moved several times a year, I know the golden rule of never ever putting your hands where you can't see them, what a black widow web feels and looks like (and have developed an excellent split second reaction that yanks whatever body part involved away) and wearing gloves whenever I remember when engaging in "high risk" activities (like randomly moving the wood pile).....

I even make an exception in my "don't squish insects because they are crunchy" policy  for black widows.  I have ZERO problem squishing their shiny black bodies and spilling out their yellow green guts out their split abdomens. 

But last night, something special happened. 

There was a black widow ON ME.  I was feeding at dusk, and just happened to be wearing a long sleeved white shirt (a riding shirt that is fairly form fitting, especially on the arms), pants, and boots.  APPROPRIATE attire for feeding unlike tank top, shorts, and crocs.  Which has never happened I swear......

I looked down at my arm and there was one CRAWLING ON MY ARM.  I flicked it hard with my opposite hand but I didn't quite get it square on, but I couldn't see it any more, so I hoped it had fallen off. 

But then, a couple minutes later I looked down and THERE IT STILL WAS.  This time I flicked and distinctly saw it hit the ground so I knew it was off of me. 

I zipped my shirt ALL the way up so my neck was covered and was very careful the rest of the night.

It must have been on the end of a hay bale, or on a fence post or something I brushed up against.  It was really weird and a little unnerving.  Yes, you may see them during the day, usually tucked up in their little corners, but I know during the night they definitely are more in the open (knowledge gained through going on nightime "widow" hunts with my mom, jars, and a flashlight.....I think I may have had a weird childhood.....Please someone else tell me that this brings back memories of their childhood so I can feel normal again!). 

Getting bit wouldn't have been likely to kill me, I would have had time to get to the urgent care for treatment, but it definitely would have been painful and unpleasant and NOT how I want to spend the remainder of my summer!!!!!!  I'm suprised the black widow bites to humans and animals aren't more common in this area, knowing how many widows are in the average home/yard/garage/barn, but unlike a lot of other poisonous spiders, widows retreat when they can and aren't especially aggressive. 

Even to myself it seems silly to go on and on and on in a post about getting a spider on me, but I'm still really disturbed and a picture of the black spider against my white clothed arm is seared into my memory.  LOL.  One of the closer calls with poisonous wildlife (although coming very close to getting struck by the biggest rattler I've ever seen in the back country of a solo backpacking trip certainly takes first place.....).

I'm preparing a post on a grass fire that occurred at my parents yesterday that involved asking a man to take off his belt in order to secure the neighbors horses, which sounds very sexy and forward until you consider that the man happened to be my father.  There were tons of lessons learned in the horse and livestock category, some of which I had never considered.  It should be an interesting post (and I have pictures!).  So, while that post is percolating, I want to do a quick catchup of what I've been doing. 

Farley has been ridden 3-4 times a week, mostly on the trail with a dressage ride thrown in here and there.  She feels great, sound, and by some miracle is managing to stay in season the entire freakin' summer.  Our rides are about 1.5 hours each and usually consist of some walking, trotting, and a little cantering if we are in the mood.  I'm not pushing, I'm not timing, and I'm not even logging or recording our rides.  I'm listening to my horse, having fun, and not putting too much pressure on either of us.  That being said, I don't see why I couldn't get her to an LD by the end of the season.  That would mean that Farley and I have attended at least one ride every season together, since I got her.  That would be nice.  She came off this last week a bit sore in the hindquarters, so I've backed off for a couple of days, but I think most of it is her tendency to be a lazy beast and stand in her pen and take long naps.  I think she had secretly hoped that vet school had consumed me and her life would consist of naps, carrots, hay, a friend, and an occasional walk down the trail.  Sorry girl.  You are only 13 and way too much fun to ride....

The researcher I work for is another endurance rider and ride and tie person!  We talked yesterday and it looks like we would be well matched as a ride and tie team.  Her horse is older, but hasn't had any soundness issues at all.  He likes to sprint and has done some ride and ties so is experienced.  We are going to start working with Farley a bit.  I'm going to have to be careful because I don't want her to think that all her rides are going to be fast sprints, but she's a smart horse and the atmosphere will be different enough at a ride and tie, and think she'll still know when we are going out for 50-100 miles.  I don't typically tie her to trees and run away during a 100......The tentative plan is to do a 14 mile ride and tie this fall.  I think we will probably end up using her horse, but I'm going to have Farley ready as well just so there is options.  I'll keep you guys posted!  I think it's going to be a lot of fun (I first typed "a lot of run", which is actually kinda true in a way.....)


  1. SHRIEK! I need to move my straw bale stack further away from my trailer for fire purposes. not only now will I be worried about rattlesnakes, but black widows too!
    - The Equestrian Vagabond

  2. Aaaa spiders aaaaaaa :( Glad you're riding again!

  3. Put your mind at ease. Your childhood was normal....for your mother.


  4. (whispering...I kind-of like spiders, and I even relocate black windows. They're so very docile, and do a good job in the ecosystem. But if they were on me I'd definitely do the spider dance. Now wasps on the other hand...)

    And glad you're out having fun on Farley without the pressure, just enjoying your horse. My neighbors do ride and tie, it looks pretty fun. A new adventure to look forward to!


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