Riding 29 year old Sandy in 1997

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Road trip!

I have just returned from a trip to Oregon to bring Dash and Dawn's mother, Dottie, home.  She's been up there at the home of a friend of mine for about 15 months on a lease that didn't work out due to the mare developing severe arthritis.  So I flew up there Wednesday, and Thursday through today (Saturday) we drove down here in my friend's rig to bring her home.

We came through northeast California and stayed the night in Susanville.  Dottie was stabled at a private ranch while we stayed in a cheap motel (cheap being $55 a night versus the $88 we were quoted at a name-brand motel).  The second day was a hard drive through Nevada -- 11 hours on the road, about 2 of which were due to innumerable construction delays.  By the time we found the stable in Vegas, the sun had set, we were both tired and cranky, and the "cheap motel" for that night was $110 versus the $190 quoted by the first place I called.  Everything is relative.

The $110 motel was a Hampton Inn, the room was spacious and immaculate, the beds cushy, the walls soundproof, and the drapes blackout.  The shower was hot, the towels fluffy and plentiful, and a free hot breakfast awaited us this morning.

You could have put three of the first motel's bathrooms into the one that came at the Hampton.

After a good night's sleep, we picked up Dottie and headed out.  After a relatively short 7 hour day, we arrived in Star Valley at about 4 p.m.

The highlight of the trip was being stopped by a cop who looked to be about 19 years old for driving faster than the "vehicles towing trailers" limit of 55 on an otherwise 65 mph stretch of virtually deserted highway in California.  But he was nice and let us off with a warning to slow down from the 73 we had been going until we saw him.

The second highlight of the trip was seeing a couple of wild burros in a small town in Nevada.

Other than those two things, the trip was uneventful.  We listened to audio books on the way, I had my wifi unit with me and was on the internet some of the time, reading my kindle some of the time, working on a manuscript edit some of the time and trying not to fall asleep pretty much all of the time.

We ate a lot of fast food and somehow managed not to visit a single Dairy Queen along the way, although we did take note of all the DQ's we passed.

Dottie handled the trip fine.  We stopped every couple of hours for gas or food, and Thursday and Friday we unloaded her around noon and walked her around a bit.  We had her legs wrapped and she traveled fine and there was never any sign of swelling in her legs.  She was eating well and feeling energetic.

Now she is home, and of course neither of us had camera or even cell phone in hand to get a picture when Dottie met her daughters again for the first time in over a year.  After they all sniffed noses, I separated alpha mare Dash from the other two for the first night, leaving Dawn between Dash and their mother.  A little later I got to witness something I've never seen before -- Dawn and Dottie with their foreheads touching over the gate between their pens, Dottie making an unusual "huh huh huh" sound and neither of them offering to squeal or strike, which usually happens when two mares meet.  I really think Dottie recognized that this was her daughter and was greeting her.  It was a sweet moment, but I'll have to remember it in my heart -- the Kodak moment came and went before I could even think about trying to get a camera.

So now there are three horses at Rancho Mucho Caca.  Dottie is believed to be unrideable although I will be talking to my vet about possible treatments that might ease the arthritis in her hock enough to allow her to do some light work, maybe as a lesson horse, or pulling a cart.  I think she would be happier with a job than just standing around all day doing nothing but we'll see what the vet thinks.

I do know that she is nowhere near wanting to be put to sleep.  Her pain has been easily managed with a low dose of bute and regular glucosamine.  We brought her back to Arizona because she didn't winter well in Oregon between the cold and the rain and mud so maybe she will be more comfortable in a warmer and drier climate.

She presented me with two foals who have grown into the beautiful mature mares pictured on this page and I will do what I can to ensure her comfort and happiness until she and I both agree it is time for her to go.  She's a sweet beautiful mare and I'm glad to have her back home again.

I'll post a picture of her tomorrow when I get a chance to find my camera.

And that's the latest from the Ranch.

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