I just got off the phone from my mother. She reminded me how difficult any long journey like this is in the beginning. It takes 2 to 3 weeks for things to smooth out. And essentially, we are starting over. Well, I’ll just say it straight- day two downright sucked. Hope we can last 2-3 weeks of this!
It started by not being able to ride Satchmo. That means Richard had to ride Fiddle. We always have problems with her cinch area rubbing when she is ridden. Plus, Richard is nursing a cold (and trying to share it with me.)
Chance had a fresh rub mark on his cinch area from yesterday so we had to adjust the cinches to make sure it wouldn’t rub again. Then partway down the road, we discovered that Tiska’s cinch was loose. She has a talent for sucking her belly out and unless we tighten the saddle extremely tight in the beginning, it gets loose. Guess we didn’t tighten it enough. Since she is gaited, she can get by with a looser cinch and we weren’t able to tighten it without taking off her pack (which takes a while to do), so we decided to keep a close eye on it. Bad idea.
In the middle of Elizabethtown, a large city, Chance decided again to pull back with everything he had. Mind you, he was tied to Tiska. This resulted in Chance pulling the ENTIRE PACK, SADDLE AND PADS OFF TISKA! I looked back at her just as she was jumping out of it! I couldn’t believe what I had just seen with my own eyes. Once many years ago, a horse bucked it’s saddle off over it’s head along with me. Now I had just seen a saddle come off the opposite way! Thank God the cars were paying attention, because Chance was snorting at the pack that he was tied to- now on the ground, Satchmo who was tied to Chance was out on the rode as well as Fiddle and Bella- who both had no idea what was going on or what to do! The nursing home we were in front of got quite a show! We were laughing at the bizarre-ness of it, but shaken by how close a call it was and by the fact that we had no idea what to do about Chance pulling back.
1 hour later, we had finally repacked Tiska as well as Chance- just to make sure nothing was hurting him. I put on Apache’s breast collar, donned my leather gloves, and pulled Chance through downtown E-town. He tried several times to pull back unsuccessfully. But then he waited till just the right moment when I wasn’t paying close attention to him, and WHAM! He pulled back, sat down in the street, and pulled the rope out of my hands. He got away with it again. The result- horses freaked out and all over the street again. Another near miss. By that time, we were plumb angry with Chance, but nothing we tried seemed to help. Maybe he was just giving up and refusing to finish this trip.
About 3/4 of the way through the day, Apache started walking real funny. I couldn’t figure out what was wrong. He had been hyper all day and I didn’t know if it was his hyper walk or in-pain walk, but I was concerned that something was wrong.
2 hours later than estimated, we arrived at our next hosts- friends of the Browns. Upon removing our gear and saddles, we discovered a potential source of our problems. Our new gear had some adjusting that needed to be done. There were leather pieces that were digging into Apache, Fiddle, and Chance’s withers. So guess what? I took my knife to our gear again! No hesitation anymore to hack on expensive items. If it needs changing- it needs changing! Unfortunately, Apache had a sore on his withers, but at least we figured out the cause. And we thought perhaps Chance will quit pulling if that was bothering him.
We were wrong….