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6-5-14, Valley Falls, OR - To borrow a phrase from Hammersmith (see the guestbook), the trip has been put on a big “Whoa”.  There were a lot of unexpected equipment failures, but the clincher was the health and well being of Bill, my 17 year old sorrel gelding.  Last year, Bill started “tying up” some on longer camping trips into the mountains. I started giving him a pint of vegetable oil a day, just in case it was EPSM, and it seemed that his discomfort had eased.  While training for the trip he was doing pretty good, but was still sleeping while lying down about twice as much as the other horses. After a couple of days on the road, I’m now convinced that he was sore in the hindquarters.  He probably has some arthritis in the hips.

After a day of rest, my friend Geren trailered him home from our camp in the National Forest.  The next day, Doc and Bob pulled the wagon home.

This is Doc and Bill on the outward journey, about 10 miles into the trip.

As I explained in the last post, the wagon and trailer were 2,000 pounds too heavy to make the journey with just Bob and Doc.  I would have had to drop the trailer, rebuild the shelf on the wagon, then carry just the bare minimum amount of supplies and water to get across the more remote regions of the route.  As Bob is now sixteen years old, and I don’t like to push a poor position, I decided to cancel the trip.

On the way home, the lads still had time to stretch their soft noses out for a few pets.

I originally planned on a two day journey home, but we reached the halfway point by 11 am..  Both of the lads were dreaming about the home paddock, so they managed to march the 32 miles home in less than 10 hours (with several breaks and a one hour lunch included). Of course the route home was a steady, slight downhill run, the whole way. We arrived home by 4:30 pm and the lads were glad to be reunited with Bill.

               Another bunch of ‘young-uns that enjoy petting horses - Paisley, OR.

With the trip sidelined, I still have a busy summer planned. There are always home projects to keep me busy.  I also have to finish training Monty, the quarterhorse that I started last year. In addit, I plan on doing a little cowboying, to include a 2 day cattle drive, starting June 21st.  In August, after that cows are settled on to their range in the mountains, we plan on taking a week long horsepacking trip into the Gerhart Mountain Wilderness.  Some shorter wagon adventures are also planned for the summer.

Bob and Doc, trekking home through the fields of meadow grass which are irrigated by the Chewacan River.

Stay tuned for blogs on the summer adventures.

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