In My Boots: Horse life is a highway…
…and Kristen Kovatch wants to ride it all day long–or at least until her trailer gets a flat. She treats us to a play-by-play of a recent road trip.
If you’re like me, hauling horses long-distance (which I am defining as anywhere beyond a one-hour or so radius) is an opportunity for reflection, recollection, philosophical musings, time with one’s thoughts, and singing as loudly and emotionally as possible. If this doesn’t sound like your idea of a trailer road trip… well, welcome to my world.
Good morning, horses!…why is it still dark out. The journey of 240 miles and an 11:00 appointment time awaits.
Better start the diesel… OK, Horse #1! Time to hop in the trailer!
No, but for real… GET IN THE TRAILER.
Horse #2, make me proud.
Horse #3, excellent work. Goodbye, barn! The open road awaits!
Setting the windshield to defrost when starting the truck would have been an excellent idea.
Hitting the road! Got directions, got my water bottle, got the radio dial set, got my trusty navigating dog Sage, we are good to go.
At least there’s no traffic at this hour. There’s still no sunlight, either.
Yes, businessman commuting to work, go ahead and stare… I’m an independent woman with three horses and a dog and a BIG TRUCK! Feel the power of my DIESEL ENGINE!
Gahh… the sun is WAY too bright in the rearview mirror.
The cups song! I totally know this song.
I don’t, apparently, know the cup part.
Woohoo! Making great time!
And good morning, rush hour traffic. Why is it that as soon as you cross state lines the drivers get so RUDE?
Yes, by all means, cut me off a third time. Don’t worry, the horses in the back love it when I have to hit the brakes like that.
Time to fuel up the truck… oh good, truck stops always have plenty of room to park this trailer without shutting down the entire parking lot.
They also have some sort of secret language that only truckers must know to make the fuel pump work.
Oh yes, attendant, of course I knew I had to pre-pay inside. Naturally, I knew all along that this card reader was only for secret club members.
Horse #2, pawing constantly is not going to make this pump work any faster.
Should I get a snack now? Nah, I’ll have plenty of time to grab lunch on the way home.
Back on the open road! The sun is shining, the highway’s wide open, we’re making good–HOLY MOTHER OF PEARL that was a big gust of wind. Hang on, horses.
Boy, I could have slept in another hour!
Oh wait, I didn’t notice this second page of directions.
OK, well we WERE making good time.
Here I am! I am almost exactly on time!
A successful appointment for all–time to head back home! Hope I’m not forgetting everything.
Oh yes, the horses.
Horse #1, this does mean you will have to get on the trailer…
Excellent, everyone is loaded and it’s just starting to rain. Also, that left rear trailer tire looks suspiciously low.
But it’s a full trailer load. They always look a little low… right?
Wow, that tire’s kind of soft. Hopefully I can find a truck stop in a few miles to top the thing off.
There is a suspicious lack of truck stops in this part of the country.
Yes, thank you for honking and shouting “YOU HAVE A FLAAAAAAAAT” out your window, I wasn’t aware. WHERE ARE ALL OF YOUR TRUCK STOPS.
At last!…the same truck stop I fueled at this morning. At least I have unlocked the mystery of your diesel pumps.
But not, however, the mystery of your air pump.
Yes, truck-service-garage-people, please take pity on me and my lack of innate knowledge on how to use this device. Pull the trailer around so you can do it? I mean, I’m an independent woman and all that… get out of the way, I’m pulling around so you can do it.
What do you mean, the tire has a hole in it?
Why yes, I would love to pull into the garage so you can put on the spare for me, thanks so much for asking. Do I have to unload the horses? Because Horse #1 is not gonna play that game.
While you tinker around with that, Mr. Very Helpful Truck Mechanic, imma take a quick photo and SnapChat it to everyone… I guarantee this truck garage has never had this many horses in it.
Horse #2 must be hypnotized by the way the trailer’s angled up since he’s miraculously stopped pawing.
Horse #2 really does not like that pneumatic wrench.
You think the spare tire might also be flat? What great news.
Mr. Very Helpful Truck Mechanic, whose name I tragically never caught, may the angels of diesel watch over you always, for you are the greatest man I’ve ever known. BACK ON THE ROAD!
Life is so great. I have such a great affinity for all of you other drivers out here on the road. We’re all just happy brothers and sisters of the highway together.
Now it’s raining again. And it’s dark again. And the journey of 240 miles has reached its twelfth hour. Who said this was fun?
This state could budget a little more money for this particular stretch of pothole… I mean highway.
The promised land! Horses, we’ve made it!
The happy sounds of horses chewing hay has almost made me forget the fiasco of bringing them all home. Anything for you guys. Really, I mean it.
Kristen was an English major at Alfred University and was then hired on after graduation as the western teacher and trainer at the university’s Bromeley-Daggett Equestrian Center. She would joke on that irony but her students don’t find it very funny any more. Kristen coaches the varsity western team and teaches classes in western riding and draft horse driving. She has shown reined cow horse, reining, western pleasure, and draft horses, as well as dabbled in hunt seat equitation. Between her horses and her students, Kristen is never short on stories to tell. Some of these stories can be read at her blog at thewesternlife.wordpress.com. She has also been published in Today’s Equestrian, Take the Reins and Ranch and Reata.
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