Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Misty Missed Her Monday Muse

Misty was too busy to post yesterday as promised. She ran out of steam before she could sit down to the computer. That seems to be happening a lot lately. So here is her Monday Muse on Tuesday.

My Summer Vacation
Misty the Percheron

This summer, I went on a road trip to attend a Kathleen Sullivan natural horsemanship clinic in Durango Colorado. Marley came along to keep me company. It was the first long haul we've made in the trailer with My Lady driving. Here I am moments before being loaded into the trailer in my new red shipping boots. They'll never be this clean again. I also had to wear this annoying fly mask so debris wouldn't get into my eyes during the trip with the windows open. Marley had new blue boots, but his weren't as stylin' as mine.

Even horses get new boots.

Breakfast service in the trailer was nice, but breakfast ran out long before we arrived at the ranch in Durango. It took us all day to get there because we had some trouble.

First, after driving for hours, My Lady overshot the exit from the Interstate. As she left the highway to turn around and go back to the missed exit, a highway patrol officer waved her to a stop and informed her that the tack door on the trailer was open. Goodness gracious...how long were we cruising on the Interstate with the tack door open? Fortunately nothing fell out of the trailer. We would have been mortified if we had caused motorists behind us to dodge feed buckets, saddles, a mounting block, a muck bucket, and a manure fork bouncing on the highway.

Next, as we were about to get back onto the Interstate (tack door doubly locked this time), My Lady realized the truck engine was too hot. So we sat on the side of the entrance ramp for an hour to let it cool. Then My Lady looked at the coolant reservoir and was concerned that it was empty so she called US Rider. They were wonderful and sent a nice fellow to our aid who added coolant to the radiator and into the coolant reservoir. It was a very hot day and we think it was "operator error" that caused the overheating. My Lady was driving the old truck too fast (going the speed limit with the A/C on). We still had the toughest part of the drive ahead of us - Laveda Pass and Wolf Creek Pass. We were advised to keep the RPMs around 2,000, turn the heater on to vent the engine, and the nice man with the coolant showed My Lady how to take the truck out of overdrive with just the touch of a button. My Lady felt really dumb. Remember, she's new to this horse hauling activity and doesn't know much about diesel trucks. She knows a lot more now - enough to fill a thimble.

As we started up the first pass, My Lady was nervous and watched the engine temperature and the RPMs very closely. She thought the engine was getting hot again, so we sat on the side of Laveda pass for awhile, just to be safe. We made it over both passes, but could only go 25 mph up Laveda. On Wolf Creek we had to drop down into 1st gear and could only go between 12 and 15 mph on the upside while other cars and trucks zoomed past us. We were jealous of their speed.

Downhill was easier, but had its own challenges, as you can imagine.

The mountain scenery was beautiful. My Lady says she would have enjoyed it if she hadn't been stressed to her wits end and worried about Marley and me because we refused to drink any water during the whole ordeal.

It was all down hill after those mountain passes...pun intended...and we finally arrived at the ranch. My Lady was dehydrated, exhausted, and had a sun burn on her left arm and the left side of her neck. She was a wreck.

Marley and I were shown to our lovely accommodations - a big pen with loafing shed, featuring a lovely view of the mountains, green fields, and a herd of grazing horses. We trotted around, kicked up our heels, had a nice long drink of water, then settled down for dinner. We felt right at home.

The ranch owners were very kind to My Lady, knowing she had just made her first long haul with horses and had encountered some trouble along the way. They parked the trailer for her and had her sit down and have some dinner and a tall glass of ice water before she left for her motel.

The clinic was great. In the morning we did ground work and in the afternoon we worked under saddle. Marley participated too. A beginner student without a horse worked with Marley. I'm happy to report that Marley was a pretty good boy. Oh, he did show her his ornery side and got away from her a few times on the lead line. But he took good care of her under saddle and she did a fine job with him. I was good too, and was especially graceful, for a draft horse, at turning a 360 degree circle, by moving my front end, then back end repeatedly, while ridden under saddle and in the confines of a square made of ground poles.

The trip home was much better. We still had to go slow over the passes and slower than everyone else on the highways, but we made it without incident this time, although the transmission temperature rose well into the yellow warning zone as we approached the summit of Wolf Creek. The truck is in the shop getting a radiator flush and a new thermostat. They found a small leak in the water pump which may have contributed to overheating. But the mechanic said it is not a good truck for hauling horses over mountains. The truck is a pre-PowerStroke F250 and not as hardy as the newer models. We're hoping for a new truck to haul us over the mountains. Until then, Mr. OnceUpon suggests we attend clinics in Kansas or Nebraska.

Take a rocky ride over Wolf Creek Pass with a real trucker.

P.S. We have another busy week planned. We're getting Marley ready for a special activity. Hopefully he'll be a good boy again and we'll have some fun pictures to share.


  1. Wow, sounds like you had quite an adventure! Hopefully you will have better hauling luck next time.

  2. Misty, congratulations on your very nice new red boots. They fitted you very well!
    Then you have to tell Your Lady that she is a VERY tough one, to drive you alone on such a long trip. Hats off to you, Once Upon!

    And thanks for adding the video too, so we could follow you on the way.
    Beautiful scenery, but I understand that it was difficult to enjoy it, lol! It would have been the same for me. It must have been nice though, to get some advice before you started on the most difficult part.
    You know it doesn't look much different from driving through the mountains in Norway. Strange, since it is so far off!
    We are looking forward to hear about next busy weekend...

  3. So glad you arrived safely! Also glad your clinic went well!!! Hooray!

  4. Glad to hear everything turned out well even if you did have a very interesting ride. Hope the next one is less eventful.
    Love the classy new boots too.

  5. Boy, I'm sure glad it wasn't me who had to drive over those passes! Pretty scary! We've done a couple of 1000 mile hauls, but mostly on flatish ground. Sounds like the clinic went well for all of you!

  6. As someone who is still working towards my first trailer and dreading the huge responsibility of hauling my beloved horses, I applaud your courage in undertaking such a challenging solo haul. Awesome job!

  7. RMY, I don't think I'll go over the mountains for the rest of the year.

    HOC, I'm a mountain girl more than a beach girl. I'd like to go back and enjoy the area without the stress.

    Thanks juliette, I was relieved to be home safely. The clinic was worth it.

    GreyHorse, fortunately most of my horse towing is local. I learned a lot about my truck though.

    Kate, thanks, the clinic went very well. Flat land driving with horses is the best!

    Thank you One Red Horse. I'm still pretty timid about towing, since I've only been doing it since April. It takes time behind the wheel and lots of practice backing. Backing & parking are still a challenge. But the freedom of having a horse trailer is wonderful. Keep working toward one. You'll love it.

    Have a good weekend All. It will be another busy one for us.

  8. WOW - what a STUNNING new design on your blog!!!!
    It was just the perfect match for your blog name!