By Patty Wilber
So, as you may know, Judith and I have this three-year old named H, and he is a pretty cool dude. So cool, in fact, that I think he could make money as an Open Reined Cow Horse, as well as excelling at all the Ranch Horse Events, and then going on to be an outstanding Non-Pro horse.
Because of my high opinion of H’s cow horse talents, and the fact that he is a co-owned prospect (as in we plan to sell him), we made the decision to send him to Cody Crow’s No Where But Up Performance Horses in Colorado.
Let’s face it, I can get H on cows once a week, at best, in a smallish arena, and yes, he is making progress, but Cody can have him on cows every day if he chooses, in a full size indoor, super size outdoor, a round pen or in a cutting pen.
Plus, I like Cody’s philosophy and approach, and he is successful at the bigger venues where I believe H will shine.
After getting that choice made (and not lightly), the next step was to drive 500 miles with H and Lucy (who went so I could get some coaching on cows with her– I REALLY MISS having a nearby coach!!).
Got all my stuff together and pulled out Friday morning. I noticed that the heat gauge on my truck was acting a little wonky right off the bat, but then it seemed to go back to behaving….so I kept driving, but when I got to the big hills on I25 just before Pecos, it was clear things were not working right.
I stopped and assessed. The radiator seemed ok– no leaking, normal fluid levels. No mechanic shops were open, yet, but the Napa Auto Parts woman gave me some tips and a gas station guy did, also. Finally, I called my mechanic at American Diesel, thinking maybe I had a faulty temperature sensor, and he said to bring it in and he would see if he could get me fixed up and on the road. I headed home.
Broken truck. Making it to the border looking dim.
On the way back south, I called my friend Richard who was laying low due to an eye issue, so I figured I’d regale him with my tale of woe. He listened and then out of the blue offered me their truck, so I said, “OK!”
I rescheduled the mechanic for Monday, got to the Kingsbury’s place, offered the horses a drink and more food, switched trucks and was on the road again by 11.
I got quite a long ways and the brake light in the borrowed truck came on. Oh boy. Called Richard. We decided I would add brake fluid when I stopped for fuel.
I have never added brake fluid so I got some help at the truck stop tire shop. They put in an entire quart and then said, “This is not normal!”
They were really kind and also got interested in figuring out the issue. Good thing, too, because it turns out that while you add brake fluid under the hood, you check for leaks around the tires…I looked under the front of the truck and did not see a leak, they looked around the tires and I had one. A big one, on the back right. The tire guys could not fix it.
Called Richard again, and he and the shop guys figured out a way to stop the leak (they pinched off the hose with a locking vice grip). But this left me lame on the right hind, and going over Raton Pass without a tip-top braking system, two horses, and a heavy trailer did not seem like the thing to do.
Brakes broke. Not making the border. Headed back south again.
After I settled the horses at the Kingbury’s because my own truck was broken and I couldn’t haul them home, Jim came over and we all had pizza dinner.
And extra bonus: Richard knows people, such as his nephew Jeremy who is a car mechanic. He was able to fix those brakes and I was able to get on the road the next day!
Breaking for the border on Saturday and we made it to Colorado!!
The horses took a break (not broken) and I set up my sleeping arrangements with the “new” trailer. I plugged it in and ran a fan and my phone chargers!! I set up my table and chair and stove. So exciting.
Then, I rode Lucy and Cody rode H–in and out of lots of gates, in with the cattle, through some head high weeds out side the arena, and up a steep incline. H done good.
The next day we worked cows. Lucy cowed up really well, but when I add a lot of speed, she gets a little stiff on the stops, which can make her turns a little stiff as well. I got some great ideas on how to improve that which will help her on cows and will also translate into better rollbacks, spins, sliding stops and downward transitions.
Boy, do I miss having a coach. I think I might be too far along in my college teaching career (as in I could retire already) to quit that job and go to work as a cow horse intern, but the thought did cross my mind! So much fun stuff to learn and do!
H did a good job for Cody! Since H has a good set of dry work basics according to Cody (yay, me!) and is a cowy son of a gun, Junior Working Cow Horse at Appaloosa World’s is on the table for H with Cody.
And, according to Cody, it should also be on the table for me and Lucy! With the tips I got and a trial balloon in the form of an actual show in Oklahoma next weekend…maybe…
We rode again on Monday, and then I packed up and headed out. It was a hard thing to leave H knowing he may well find a new home instead of returning here…
(I could buy his other half…)
Thank goodness Lucy is not for sale!