I drove up Friday and came back the next day with my mare, Brittany. Truly, I do not have a confirmation that she is in foal, however, she has never missed conceiving and it is so late in the season right now anyway, that if she were not, I would choose to wait until next Spring.
For those who know me, know that the term "Road Trip" in my life usually involves 'adventure'. That is a word my Mother used to use when things did not go exactly as planned. "It is just an adventure Dear!" Gone now for 6 years I could still hear her sweet voice in my head.
I had made it all the way to Tennessee with not one incident. the weather was perfect, the road conditions were good.. well except in Arkansas... but just DON'T get me started on that subject! In Texas you can drive so fast you feel like your hair is on fire.. and guess what - that IS the speed limit!
The return trip got off to a great start as well. Good weather, gas stations with diesel fuel everywhere when I needed them and I did not even have trouble with fatigue. I should probably mention though that with all of the selection of energy drinks on the market.. I was probably only 1 Five Hour Energy drink away from testing positive for Crank!
Going to Tennessee, it took less than 12 hours. Returning with my precious cargo though, by the time I turned onto our 18 mile stretch of country road, more than 13 hours had passsed. I was ready to get out of the truck, stretch my legs and then just relax. I am sure Brittany felt the same!
The road winds back and forth, up and down some beautiful hills and we were literaly on the home stretch. A mere 1/3 mile away from our farm, I came around a bend and had to come to an abrupt stop. A police car had all the traffic stopped. No siren, but the lights were rolling. I looked over the car in front of me to asses the situation. I could see the officer talking into his radio and then all of a sudden he started to run out into the road. There was the problem... 2 little miniature horses were playing chase running back and forth across our farm road where the speed limit is 65 miles an hour! Neither one wearing a stich of leather or nylon to grab and no one seemed to have any of the necessary tools to help. The more the men chased the little beasts, the faster they ran!
Oh Lord, I thought to myself... I almost made it... There it is - my home just up the road .. right over there... my hot bath is waiting ... my comfortable bed.... real food that is not enclosed in air tight plastic... It is ALL right there in front of me! I slumped a little as I turned off my engine and opened door. I walked back to my trailer tack room and went in to see what I had that could be of use. No halters, only bridles and certainly nothing small enough to work on these little guys. All I could come up with was a lunge rope. I stepped down, caught sight of the escapees and just walked up to them. I slipped a rope over one of their necks and then 3 men, including the officer came over. I asked the officer what he wanted to do with them. He did not have a clue. I knew the woman who lived just across the street and I tried to call her. She was not home.
I sighed and shook my head as I almost could not believe the words that were coming out of my mouth. I told the officer and the other men helping that if they could wrangle the mini's into the back of my trailer, I would take them to my farm and put them in a paddock until someone claimed them. As easy as can be, the men scooped up the horses and put them into the trailer and off I drove.
Don was outside waiting for me. He knew I was minutes away from home and wondered what the delay was. As I jumped out of the drivers seat, I tried to expalin my excess cargo. I went into the barn and grabbed 2 lead ropes thinking we could just place them about the mini's necks and kind of pull them into the paddock.
Have you figured out yet that I do not know much about minis ... or ponies ... or just about anything shy of 16 HH?
Well, as prepared as we THOUGHT we were.... we were not. The minute I opened up that back door, those mini's shot out of the back of the trailer like bullets and took off down the drive way.. and you guessed it - right back out onto the road! My heart just sank. Immediately, a muscle I had strained in exercise class a week ago tightened up on me and I was running down the road with such a limp, the only thing missing was the other person in what appeared to be the gait of a 3-legged race. Don was actually running faster than I, even though that poor man has been to hell and back with 11 months of Hepatitis C treatment (akin to chemo)
The police were gone, it was getting seriously dark and since the trailer was still attached to the truck...and might I add, Brittany was still inside, I could not just take it back out onto the road for light either. We flagged down several very nice people to help, slow, if not stop traffic while we once again tried to wrangle the escapees.
They ran up the road and they ran down the road.. but the one place they were determined NOT to go was back up our driveway. Finally one of the people who drove by recognized the horses and knew where they lived. Not only that, but she actually had the guys phone number and proceeded to call him. I should have known.. he did not answer and she left a message.
As I talked to another woman, she gasped. I turned to see what she was looking at as I heard her say, "Did someone just fall down?" I focused my eyes only to see 2 legs straight up in the air with the rest of the body obviously in a ditch. Never did I stop to think it could have been my husband.. but it was. He had lost his footing, twisted his ankle and went head first into the ditch cutting his hands, his forehead and his knee. That did not stop him though. We continued to corral the minis back to their home, now that we knew where they lived.
They must have recognized their home because unlike the approach they took to our drive way, they ran straight into the drive of this home. There was a large automatic wrought iron gate completely open to the farm drive. We tried to close it, but there was no manual override.
By this time, everyone but Debbie, the woman who knew this was the horses home had left us. We called the police again, but they had been called to a higher priority call. After hearing that I sarcastically told Don, "The cops are busy keeping Mr. Bubba from hurting Mrs. Bubba and they are not coming!"
I did not know what to do. Without closing the gate, the horses could easily just walk back out again.. After inspecting it further Don told me what tools to get from the farm and he would dismantle the arm from the gate so it could be closed. I retrieved what he asked for and when I returned, the owner of the horses was out there sitting on a 4 wheeler..... completely and totally inebriated from one form of intoxication or another. He was explaining to Don and Debbie that he always left that gate open and that even if the horses got out they did not go anywhere... He stated that the remote for the gate was back at the house and had a dead battery in it.
I was APPAULED. Completely and totally thankful that it was dark or there would have been no denying the expression on my face that was screaming ... YOU IDIOT!!! Debbie offered to get him some batteries for his remote and reminded him that it was not only the horses that were in danger. He said he would go and get some and close the gate... obviously dismissing us from the situation.
The gate did get shut... but I am left to wonder how long before this situation just repeats itself... Probably for the life of the batteries in the remote would be my guess......