The first mini rodeo we had was back in the desert when the buckets fell off the pack saddle and Tiska went running in huge circles dragging Fiddle with her- until she was wore out! Then Satchmo and Apache accidentally tore apart a hitching rail and nearly demolished a car! Today, we had a much shorter, but unexpected little rodeo. We had sent for a third pack saddle from home to see how it fits in comparison to our other two. It fits Tiska well, so when Fiddle has the day off, Tiska can wear a pack saddle that fits her instead of suffering with Fiddle’s for a day. This means we always have an extra pack saddle, but we will try it for a while and see how it works. Today was Satchmo’s day off, so it was his turn to carry the spare pack saddle along with two extra saddle pads we were not using that day. Apparently, two thick pads under a saddle with no weight is not the brightest idea, because they slowly slid out from underneath the saddle. We didn’t notice until they finally came loose, fell to the ground, made Satchmo jump, which then made the pack saddle slip underneath him, which made him really jump! This caught Richard and Chance by surprise, and once again, poor Richard was caught by a fast moving rope which pulled him over Chance’s head and landed him square on his back in the middle of the (thankfully quiet) road. Then Chance, who was a bit bewildered by what just happened, stepped on his reins and broke his bridle! Richard was a little sore but totally ok, we caught Chance and Satchmo, fixed the saddle, then spent some tedious time jerry rigging the bridle. All in all, it wasn’t a big deal, but we definitely pay more attention to our empty pack saddle now!
On the road, we stopped at a gas station for a pit stop and were lovingly surrounded by a group of senior citizens interested in what we were up to. We had a great chat with them, picture opportunities, donations for Hearts Up Ranch, and then we continued down the road… to be surprised by one of these gentlemen bringing us two 50 pound bags of grain! He offered to drop them off wherever we were stopping that night. We thought that was very thoughtful and nice. In Manzinola, we paused for a moment to let a bright eyed little girl enjoy our horses. Richard even gave her a pony ride on Satchmo- the very first one that horse has ever done! She got off and hugged him around his head- which was as big as she was. Her mom gave us some yummy mulberry jam as a thank you.
Pastor Jake passed us on to the next cowboy church on East, and the couple who ran it made numerous phone calls on our behalf setting us up with host families for days to come. The first was an older couple who offered a bed and meals, and we highlined the horses to the car port over their motor home. On our way to their house, a woman named Lisa invited us to stay at her home, but we declined as we already had made plans. She, however, ended up being the neighbor that Rex had called to find hay for us! So our hosts Rex and Florence, Lisa with the hay, the man with the grain, and the cowboy church pastor all ended up there helping us that night. One thing I love about us passing through is it provides opportunities for neighbors to get to know neighbors in working together. It really makes us smile to step back and watch the connections build that will be remembered long after we are out of their area.