Long time since I’ve posted. With sunnier days now and then, it’s easier for me to be outside with the horses, meaning putting off my homework until evening and cutting into my posting time (do you see the priorities here?). So I will try to catch up somewhat, since we’ve had some fun happenings.
We had plans to meet our daughter, Tel, at John’s place to pick up her horse on Tues. For those of you who haven’t heard yet, Tel is getting married in May. After wracking our brains about a wedding gift (they already have all the typical household stuff, since both parties had their own places), Bill found the perfect gift: a horse trailer. About the only thing positive about this recession is prices are dropping, especially on things like used horse trailers. Bill found a jewel close by; not pretty by any stretch of the imagination, but a very serviceable 2-horse, bumper-pull. We decided it would be a good trial run to take it down the mountain to pick up Tel’s horse, and watch her reaction to the sight of the trailer. Of course, the first action needed was to get our truck set up for bumper-pull; all of our trailers have been gooseneck. The good thing about this is now we can pull anything – when the truck is running!
It was a fantastic warm, sunny, class day for me. Tel and I met after class in Ft. Collins, picked up her younger brother and headed to meet Bill at John’s farm. We called Bill and told him we would be there earlier than expected. We arrived and I watched Tel closely for reactions as Bill was pulling up with the “new” trailer. (We had decided NOT to tell her about it, in case she didn’t like it). I hadn’t realized how much it looked like a smaller version of our trailer until she asked what we had done to the trailer. Realizing it was a different trailer, I told her Bill had found a 2-horse, so she assumed he had bought it for convenience for us (we had talked about doing that). I was trying so hard not to give the surprise away.
Tel said, “We forgot to call Ida!” Fortunately, when I called her, she was close by at one of their leased horse pastures, and said she would be right there, to go ahead out in the back pasture to get Estes. Anyone ever tried getting through someone else’s pasture system (lots of cows) on a really mucky, muddy day?! And electrified. Which gates to use? We were having fun figuring it out when Ida pulled up and walked down a DRY alley next to the pastures, laughing at us. OK, Ida is always laughing; she is one of the happiest people I know whenever we see her outside working with animals – even fencing! We got ourselves un-bogged and went after Estes, who was definitely feeling her oats. No way does she move like a 19 y.o. mare. She and her 16 y.o. daughter, Meeker (10 months pregnant), are floating around the pasture like a moving picture of twins. It only took a couple of minutes to convince Estes it was time to get caught, and Bill walked right up to the two of them, putting his arms around Estes while Tel put a halter on her. Meeker sure looks great – expected to deliver about May 10. I will be driving this way to school in May to watch for the new foal.
As we were maneuvering back through the pasture system, Ida asked us to wait a minute so she could help her dad, John, move a pregnant cow into a shed. She said the cow should be delivering soon and they wanted to watch her for problems. Once the cow was moved we walked Estes around the house to the trailer; Ida stayed with her dad. OK, this might be fun. Estes is used to large, open stock trailers. I didn’t know if she had ever been in a small, enclosed one. She looked it over pretty closely, but after just a little persuasion, she hopped right in. Can’t say enough about Ida’s well-trained horses. Tel made a comment to Bill about the trailer, who in turn made a comment about ruining the surprise. Hearing that, I had made a comment on Jay’s willingness to paint old vehicles. Nothing else was said.
Having only been gone a few minutes, we went back to tell Ida and John goodbye, finding Ida behind the house washing her hands in a tub of water, with an even bigger grin on her face. I looked in the shed and saw something small, black and wet-looking on the ground. I said, “Is that a calf?” John walked over, smiling, saying they had just pulled it ‘cause it wasn’t positioned right. Mom and baby doing fine. Son Thomas said he knew he was a city boy, but he thought it would take a little longer than that. John laughed and said, “You never know what will happen around here when you walk around the house.” Worriedly, Ida asked how Estes had loaded; she indeed had never been in that type trailer. We assured her it had been no problem.
Time to head home. Tel, Thomas and I hop into the car and head back to Ft. Collins from Longmont; Bill starts off for the Lodge with the horse and trailer in tow. As soon as we get on the road, Tel looks at me and says, “Is that my wedding present?” with this big, hopeful grin on her face. She was surprised and seemed quite happy. Apparently, she and Jay had been looking at horse-trailers, too, since they want to get another horse for Jay after they get married.
I’m finally driving up the canyon road. I had tried calling Bill while still in cell-phone range and not gotten an answer. This concerned me since he had plenty of time to get home and unload, unless the truck was acting up again. We just can’t seem to trust it right now. In less than 2000 miles it had quit on us three more times, for no reason that could be found. This is after we have put $10,000 into repairs on it in four months. That’s right, $10K!!! Sure enough, I round a corner and find our rig parked on the side of the road at a pull-over. If you let the truck sit for 15 minutes, it will start and run for a short period of time – maybe long enough to get 1 – 3 miles further and hope there is another place to pull over. The 45 minute trip from John’s took three hours that day. Back to the Ford dealership with the truck a couple of days later; no problems found; truck ran great both ways. It’s really frustrating. Right now is when we have the time to travel with the horses and we are afraid to go anywhere because we don’t know when we will be stranded along the highway with live animals in a trailer! I think Bill is starting a blog about no longer wanting to be a Ford truck owner, after having them for 35 years. He will not be good advertising for the 6.0L engine.