It’s time to take the horses to winter pasture; this is always a time of mixed feelings for me. I love to watch them run loose and free…but I sure miss having them right across the street to hear and see anytime. It’s Tuesday November 25 and this is our third attempt to take them down. We had planned on two weeks earlier, but a friend called and asked if they (the horses) could be part of a “show and tell” for the kids at the elementary school she works at. So plans were made to haul them to Ft. Collins’ Irish Elementary on Thursday. Whoa! Thursday gets here and a winter ice storm has moved into our mountain area. We decided it was not worth risking an accident in the canyon hauling a loaded horse-trailer on icy roads, so we called the school and begged off. Now we finally get another day that is dry and clear, and convenient for Ida to meet us at the pasture.
We should have had a clue this was not going to be an easy task. Bill went to hook up the trailer while I grabbed halters for all three horses. My part was easy. The horses had heard the truck fire up and were all waiting at the feeder, vying for places to see who got haltered first. They really do like to go and they know the sound of our truck! I walked Ranger to the hitch-rail in front of the Lodge as I saw Bill park the truck back in front. I suddenly realized I had parked the smaller truck too close to the trailer; it would have to be moved over. OK, I go to get another horse, Jesse, and come back noticing Bill unlocking the front door of the Lodge. What? Oops. The battery is dead on the PU that needs to be moved; he’s going after the jump box. I head back after the last horse, Washoe, who is very excitedly racing up and down the fence line, thinking he is getting left behind. He races me to the gate with tail in the air.
Finally, after getting the smaller truck started and moved over, Bill gets the trailer hooked up. I have all three horses standing at the rail, very excited about going for a ride. The trailer is pulled around front and our guys load like pros. We are off, headed down the mountain on a beautiful, sunny, calm day.
As we are pulling out of Lyons, I phone Ida so she can meet us at the field and unlock the gate. Less than five minutes later, Bill notices a smell he doesn’t like. I take a whiff, thinking it might be fresh manure being spread on the fields we are passing, then realize it has a rubber odor to it. We quickly check the mirrors for flat tires or stuck brakes on the trailer. Everything looks good, but Bill pulls to the side so we can get out and do a walk around. As soon as he pulls to the side of the road, smoke starts pouring out from under the hood of the truck. The smoke turned out to be steam, but the news wasn’t any better. Instead of finding a broken water hose or leaky radiator, we found gray, frothy stuff spewing from the water reservoir. This can’t be good! There was obviously oil mixed with the water spraying out. Even my limited mechanical expertise knows of no systems in a diesel engine that combines water and oil. Mind you, this is the same truck that died on us a month ago, for no apparent reason, and had gotten a clean bill of health from the shop mechanics. I guess it knew something we didn’t.
I called AAA, again, for a tow. I think they know my voice now because they asked if this was the same truck, or maybe they keep good computer records. Then I called Ida and told her the story. Again, our cowgirl angel came to the rescue. She happened to be driving her truck, so she came over and hooked onto the trailer so we could get the horses to their pasture. Bill was stuck waiting for the tow vehicle while I got to let the horses loose. What a sight. Her mare, Audobon is sharing this particular pasture with our guys for now. She came racing across this huge area when Ida called and she saw company. Ida and I took the halters off our horses and let them go, but they just stood by us watching Audobon coming. Finally our horses took off running to greet her and it was truly a glorious sight to see them all racing loose in a huge field, manes and tails blowing in the breezes. I tried to get my video camera set up so I could get pictures this year, and even it didn’t function. The tape had gotten stuck and then the moment was over. Oh well, I have great mental pictures.
As Ida and I turned to leave, a car pulled into the driveway behind us. I had forgotten that Nelle, our daughter, was going to meet us for lunch. Instead of lunch, she drove me back to the Lodge to pick up our car, so I could meet Bill at the shop. It was another perfectly orchestrated break-down. I hope we don’t push our luck and go for a third one!