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Near Miss


7/8/10, Pagosa Junction, CO - The last few days have been busy ones; full of haying, irrigation, a horseback ride, and also a near miss.

There is an old saying ĎIf youíre going to be stupid, you better be tough (and quick). But, no matter how tough (and quick) you are, it is possible to be too stupid.í  Yesterday morning, I was almost too stupid!

Yesterday morning, when I went out to grain the horses, I treated everything like it was my normal herd of three horses and walked amongst them with the grain bucket, pouring grain in each of the feed pans.  I know the horses have enough respect for me to keep their distance, but I keep an eye on them because they defend their grain from each other.  What I didnít take in account, was the addition of LuAnnís two Haflingers. With five horses in the herd, I couldnít keep an eye on everyone.

As I was walking behind B.O.B., he took a double heel kick at one of the Haflingers. which was moving two close to his feed pan. I saw it coming out of the corner of my eye and dodged away, but not quick enough.  Once of his feet just grazed me above the knee, the other foot just grazed my forehead. 

My first response was to give him a good smack.  My second was to say. ďOuchĒ. For my stupidity, I had a goose egg above the knee - which is now gone.  I also have a nice scrape on my forehead, which will serve to remind me that I wasnít too bright.

From now on, Iím putting out the grain behind a closed gate, then letting the horses into their feed (which is what I should have done all along!

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Oops! I guess Iíll try and be a little smarter next time.  By the way, later that day, B.O.B. walked up to me, put his head on my shoulder, and said heís sorry!

The past couple of days have been spent putting together an irrigation system for LuAnnís pasture. I now have a system that waters about 1/2 acre a day and is fairly easy to move. 

LuAnn, her friend Penny, and I went for a nice horseback ride through some side canyons. We didnít see any of the wild horses which frequent the area, but we saw plenty of sign, including several large stud piles.  I rode Doc, who is quite nimble and enjoys a good romp in some wild country.

Today, I spent the afternoon helping to pick up hay at a neighborís field. It was a good old fashioned hay day, with lots of help and a great meal when the work was done.  It reminded me of hay days when I was a kid.

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The Lads, going out for their evening graze with the Haflingers.

A couple of people have asked me to comment on the runaway accident at the parade in Iowa.  I would like to express my deepest condolences to the unfortunate Teamster who lost his wife.  He obviously did everything he could to stop the team and control the situation, but without a bridle on one of the horses, he was faced with a near impossible task.

Iíve never had a horse lose a bridle from rubbing on his teammate, but even with a tight throat lash, Iíve head the headstall come in front of one ear - so I know it is something that could happen and is almost impossible to prevent. When a horse panics and starts running, the only things a Teamster can try and do are: try to stop the horses before they get two jumps (once they get a head of steam, they canít be stopped with the driving lines).  Some directional control remains in a runaway, so you can steer them away from people or maybe crash them into something. However, both of these options require the bits to be in the horsesí mouth. Without a bridle on one of the horses, he had no real control. He still did the best he could, and Iím sorry things didnít work out better.

In a week, weíre traveling by horse and wagon to the ĎLittle Beaverí Parade, in the Jicarilla Apache town of Dulce, NM.  Iíll be pulling a 16 passenger people mover type wagon, while LuAnn drives her carriage. With some outriders, it ought to be a great trip.  The road there is along a roadbed built on the old narrow gage railroad bed and is quite remote.  After participating in the parade, it will be a one day drive back to the ranch.