Sunday, October 31, 2010

Blankets and Visitors

As always Jason and I were not looking for things to do this weekend. We had fun visiting with MyLight's people and Wiz's owner over the weekend. As always I think Bear gets as much attention as any of the horses. I say it over and over on here but we have been so fortunate over the years to attract both wonderful horses and wonderful people to the farm. We're truly blessed.

My other them of the weekend was blankets. It feels weird to be thinking about blankets when it is in the high 70's and sunny outside but unfortunately we can't enjoy that weather 365 days per year. All of the blankets were sent out for cleaning and repairs and they have been piled up in a mound in the barn for three weeks. It was starting to look pretty redneck around here so it was time to address the pile. I've been remarking names, spraying on more waterproofing for any blanket I feel might be questionable in that department and then distributing blankets to their various storage locations. I'm now two thirds of the way through this project and hopefully will be done in a couple more days.

I hope everyone had a great weekend!

Hoffy, Chance, Ivan and Apollo waiting for the farrier
Traveller was having fun on the gravel pile
Noble, Spike and O'Reilly
Lightening and Teddy
Winston, Chimano and Romeo
Darby and Ogie coming for breakfast very early one morning
Harmony and Missy having some quiet time
Sebastian, Gus and Asterik (apparently you had to be a somewhat dirty gray horse to be in this picture)
Justin trotting through the pasture with Bella
Maisie and MyLight hanging out nose to tail in the shade
Cinnamon and Bonnie waiting for breakfast

Thursday, October 28, 2010

No, I Won't Meet You at a Truck Stop

I had a new experience yesterday. I had a commercial shipper, one that I had never heard of or worked with before, demand that I meet them at a very busy truck stop right off of I-24 to pick up a horse - at midnight no less. For what seem to be extremely obvious reasons (at least to me) I said no.

There is a lot wrong with this scenario. First of all someone from the office of this company had called me last week and asked if I would be willing to do this. I told them absolutely not, under no circumstances would I be unloading and reloading a horse I had never seen nor handled at a busy truck stop right off the interstate late at night. I thought the matter was settled. I also relayed to the horse's owner that the company had asked me to do this and for safety reasons I told them no. She thanked me profusely for looking out for her horse and we all thought that was the end of that stupid request. This did make me curious about the company in question though so I looked them up on the internet. I was surprised to see that they keep a fleet of three semi's on the road, so not exactly the next door neighbor with a horse trailer.

Fast forward to yesterday. I'm feeding dinner to my last group of horses when my cell phone rings. I don't normally keep the phone with me but when I have a horse en route I always do. I recognized the area code on the number from the shipper's prior call. Silly me answers the phone thinking I will be getting an arrival time for the horse.

The phone call starts off with "so you're meeting us at X truck stop correct?" I said no, that I had told whomever called me last week that I would not be meeting them at the truck stop. They got very difficult with me and said "well, how are we supposed to get to you?" This question confused me so much I asked the person to repeat it. "How are we supposed to drive to your farm?" They really said this!!

I said "by driving on the interstate and then driving one mile off the interstate." Then I hear "but it will be dark, how will we find your driveway?" I tell them that many other shippers have found our driveway just fine, even in the dark. Then I get "but we're in a full sized semi" and I tell them that full sized semis come here routinely. This person finally writes down directions and says they will be here between 11pm and midnight.

10 minutes later another phone call. "I spoke with my boss and they said we cannot come to your farm because it will put the truck too far behind schedule." I told them again that I would not be meeting them at a truck stop or anywhere else but my farm and that was that. The person then tells me "you are making this very difficult" and I said I didn't see it that way and that I would seem them when they got here.

10 minutes later ANOTHER phone call: "I spoke with my boss again and he told me to tell you that the only way you would be receiving the horse would be to meet us at the truck stop." I do not respond well to threats in case you are wondering. I only wish they had tried that line on Jason!!

I told them if that was the case then it seemed the horse would be staying on the truck with them to wherever they were going. This seemed to be the safer option for him than being unloaded at a BUSY truck stop at MIDNIGHT. I then said "please don't tell me you do this regularly, dropping horses off at truck stops. That is bad enough, but not even telling the owner that is your plan, well that is even worse." We then called the owner and relayed all of this to her. To say she was frantic with worry about her horse and extremely upset would be an understatement.

Finally after calling me three times and then the owner calling them and going ballistic they extremely reluctantly agreed to bring the horse to the farm. I was told again I was going to "put them behind schedule" and was "being difficult." I said I saw nothing "difficult" about looking out for the safety of the horse and myself.

The horse did arrive here safe and sound and in good shape. They did bring him to the farm. The drivers were actually quite pleasant once they arrived which confirms my feelings all along that they were simply following orders from the owner of the company.

So to anyone reading this who is wondering if I will pick your horse up at a truck stop at midnight, or any other time of the day, the answer is NO. The above story is exactly why I have a list of shippers that I recommend depending on the area where the horse will be coming from. I know these shippers, they have been here many times and they always do a great job. They communicate, they take good care of the horses, they show up as expected and they don't ask me to meet them at midnight at a truck stop to pick up a horse that I don't even own.

I posted this story on a horse forum that I read and I must say SmartAlex, a fellow blogger whose blogs I read, had the best comment in response to this mess: "Hi, this is your moving company... could you meet us at the truck stop to get your houseload of furniture?"

In other news my Stupid Truck is parked in the driveway again. The belt was replaced and all seems to be right in its world. Hopefully it will stay that way. A little less drama in my life over the next few days would be a really beautiful things. I hope everyone has a great weekend!

Alex and B-Rad

MyLight and Fuzzy Punch

Dutch and Boo running through the pasture along with Bella the dog

Maisie grazing while MyLight was hanging out

Romeo and Winston

Gus and Asterik grooming each other

Norman and Traveller

Lexi, Cinnamon and Sky

Gus, Winston, Chimano, Romeo, Sebastian and Asterik (and Bella the dog - again!)

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Good Start, Bad Ending

The day started off nicely. I headed to the new farm this morning since today was farrier day there. The weather was exceptionally pleasant, breezy and overcast but with a temperature in the high 70's. The horses were in a great mood, very relaxed and copacetic about life.

When I know I am going to be bringing horses in later in the day I usually slip their halters on while they are eating breakfast. It makes it easier to sneak up on them later and just grab the halter. I watched Hemi and Thomas playing a fun game of halter tag with each other.

Hemi and Thomas playing halter tag

Later in the morning I started bringing horses into the barn for some spa treatments. I am one that really enjoys grooming and bathing horses so I did a lot of grooming and bathing of horses. The farrier came mid-day and as always we had a pleasant time chatting and gossiping while working on the horses. After the horses were done with their pedicures and spa treatments they went back outside and resumed their regularly scheduled program of grazing. I watched them grazing for a few minutes and enjoyed the serenity.

The Big Boys grazing quietly

I wrapped up my work there and was heading home. Jason was going to be finishing out the day at the new farm and I needed to do some errands and other things around the house. I'm driving along on the interstate and suddenly all is not well. The dashboard on the truck lit up like a Christmas tree and the electronic readout is flashing "battery not charging" at me. Ummmm, what the heck?

Then I realize I have no power steering, no power anything. Thankfully I happened to be right at an exit ramp and I exited the interstate and coasted into the parking lot of a gas station that was right off the ramp. I pretty much pulled my arms out the sockets turning the steering wheel, and shifted into neutral and stood on the brakes and stopped. I was very thankful to have made it off the interstate in one piece minus one serpentine belt. Stupid truck only has like 30,000 miles on it. GRRRRRR.

I call AAA to have a tow truck come. Talk about a frustrating conversation:

AAA operator: I need the address of your location
Me: I'm right off of Exit 'X' on I-65
AAA: But I need the exact address
Me: I just coasted off of I-65 at Exit 'X'; I have no idea what the address is.
AAA: What street are you on?
Me: (starting to get a very irritated edge in my voice) I'm on whatever road is right off of Exit X on I-65

We continue round and round on this scenario until she finally gets it that we're not going to be giving out a street address. Geesh. Then she asks where I want the truck to be towed.

Me: Walker Chevrolet in Franklin
AAA: What is the address for Walker Chevrolet
Me: We aren't going through this again are we?
AAA: Well I need the address to give to the tow truck driver
Me: I can assure you the tow truck driver will know where Walker Chevrolet is located.

I finally end the world's most frustrating conversation with AAA and wait for the tow truck. In the meantime I thankfully track down my dad who is able to come and rescue me.

While I am waiting for the tow truck and my dad I start having the "it could be worse" conversation with myself. I do try to be an optimist. I start with "it could be raining right now. I could be stranded here in the pouring rain." Well, that was the cue for a torrential downfall of rain to start. My goodness I must have peed in someone's Wheaties today. I can barely hear myself thinking over the driving rain but I try again and go for a safer one this time - "at least I'm not hauling horses." Yes, thank goodness I am not stranded on the interstate with horses in tow in the pouring rain. I instantly felt better.

The tow truck and my Dad arrived within a few minutes of each other. The clouds parted and the rain stopped so at least no one had to get wet while the stupid truck was loaded onto the tow truck. Right now I am not a fan of Chevrolet Duramax Diesel trucks. Right now I would like to have another Ford Powerstroke diesel. I said to Jason it is no wonder GM is bankrupt, they can't build a decent vehicle.

Stupid Truck loaded on the tow truck

I now refer to the truck as Stupid Truck. Stupid Truck is at Walker Chevrolet awaiting a new serpentine belt. Stupid Truck should be back in our driveway shortly. The rest of the day was uneventful which was nice.

A video from Sunday. It was windy on Sunday and all of the horses were hyper. This is a video of Faune, Gus, Chimano, Winston, Romeo and Asterik running around and being silly. ALL of the horses were acting like this but I had my camera handy to capture these guys on video.

Clay rolling while B-Rad and Alex watch

B-Rad decided he was going to roll too

Then Alex joined in the fun

B-Rad watching Alex

B-Rad bumping Alex and saying "that was fun, eh?" (they pick up the phrase "eh" from Jason)

Leo and HemiApollo
Maisie and MyLight
Darby and Ogie
Romeo and Sebastian

Faune, Chimano and Winston (who is sticking his tongue out for some reason)
Lexi and Cinnamon

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Weekend Pictures

As always we had a very busy weekend. I am happy to say it is raining as I type which is very welcome! It has been so dry the leaves have already changed and are falling off the trees. Hopefully the rain means I won't sneeze as much tomorrow. Hope everyone had a great weekend!

Levendi, Grand and Hemi taking a stroll

Ivan and Apollo with Trigger hiding behind them

Homer (Homey, Home Boy, Home Fry)

Trigger and Levendi

Leo taking a nap

Romeo and Asterik hanging out

MyLight and Missy

Boo and Murphy

Dutch, Wiz, B-Rad and Alex

Fuzzy and Justin

Lexi and Cinnamon

Darby, Ogie and Justin hanging out

My pretty girl Sky


Norman and Lexi