From Wisconsin to Texas – Part 2

THE JOURNEY BEGINS!

As I left off in Part 1, our journey from Wisconsin to Texas and our new home began on February 24, 2014 at 4 PM.

Alex and Loki made one last check and we were on the road!

Alex and Loki made one last check and we were on the road!

I should say that I originally had plans of taking lots of pictures to chronicle our journey south; however, leaving late as we did, there were no real pictures to take. That is, unless images of random gas stations would count.

 

 

 

 

Our caravan consisted of the following:

Taking the lead was Terry driving our Ford F150 pickup and pulling a 3-horse slant bumper pull trailer.  The trailer was filled to the top with all manner of tools, a motorcycle and the personal belongings we wanted to have with us when we first arrived. Our son, Kyle was co-pilot.  Along with them was Terry’s other co-pilot – Molly (short for hot tamale).  Molly is the amazing Chihuahua that is pictured on my main blog page as header.  She is 5 lbs. of awesome!

Bringing up the rear was our Chevy HHR with our daughter, Alex, driving the first leg and me resting as co-pilot.  Our cargo consisted of Spaz (my rat terrier), Loki (Alex’s baby mini schnauzer) and two cats – Bart and Bailey.  You would think that traveling for almost 22 hours with these animals would be traumatic; however, they all rode like champions.

Throughout this long and tiring journey, Alex shared the driving responsibilities with me and was a joy to talk to.  Alexandra made what could have been a very long and boring trip a whole lot more enjoyable.  I am so grateful for the help our kids gave us along the way.  They are the greatest!

INTO THE STORM!

Near white-out conditions made the trip exhausting!

Near white-out conditions made the trip exhausting!

The weather was 16 for a high and -4 for a low (Fahrenheit) – the low felt more accurate.  While the sun was shining as we pulled out our 1000 foot rock-covered driveway for the very last time, little did we know that the weather was about to change.

By the time we got past Albert Lea it was beginning to snow. Light and fluffy, it continued to up the ante until we were driving hours and hours through a full-blown blizzard!  The entire time we drove through Minnesota and Iowa, we had to deal with white out conditions and ever-worsening roads.  Never fear, we were too fixated on the goal to leave the frozen north woods to bat an eye at all that Mother Nature was throwing our way.  We sallied forth!

FINALLY HOME

This pretty cement walkway leads to our new front door. (notice that there is no snow?)

This pretty cement walkway leads to our new front door. (notice that there is no snow?)

Needless to say, after 22 hours of exhaustive and constant driving, we finally pulled into our 50 foot cement covered driveway in Texas.  I wanted to jump out of the car, drop to my knees and kiss the non-snow covered ground.  Alas, my legs were locked in place and my back was screaming words my mouth have never dared utter.

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Bart was so happy that we brought his favorite stool along! Of course his riding companion, Bailey, hid in our room for a while, but she was happy that her carriage had stopped moving finally.

But we were home!

I have said over the course of this post so much about how Kyle and Alex were our invaluable right-hands, but I would be remiss if I didn’t add to that the contributions that Emily Gotch provided down in Texas.  Even though she had recently underwent appendix surgery, this amazing young woman still found time to help ease the transition when we arrived.  Thanks to our wonderful daughter-in-law as well!

There is much more of the story to tell as we opened the door to our new home for the first time and officially became Texans… (did I mention that the moving van was close behind —- NOT!)

From Wisconsin To Texas – Part 1

I know that many have watched my posts on Facebook to see how the progress of our move has been going, but not many know the entire story!  Here is the first installment of our new adventure!

The day was fast approaching, boxes were packed, our address was set to change and everything was ticking along famously.  The only hitch in the git was the weather.  Those of you who are still up in the frozen waste lands know exactly what I am talking about! This was the timetable:

  • Wisconsin Close – February 14, 2014
  • Horses picked up to head to Texas – February 20, 2014
  • Texas Close – February 21, 2014
  • Leave for Texas – February 24, 2014
No way a semi was going to make it up the driveway in this!

No way a semi was going to make it up the driveway in this!

It seemed that each week leading up to and through our move was met with new snowfall and sub-zero temperatures.

Was Wisconsin leaving her mark on us one final time?

 

HORSES HEAD TO THEIR NEW HOME:

No way a semi was going to make it up the driveway in this!

No way a semi was going to make it up the driveway in this!

Spirit and Rusty were none too pleased when, at 9:30 PM the semi pulled up on the road to come take them to their new home.

Unfortunately, Mother Nature had done her best to make this the worst experience possible. The 1,000 foot driveway from the barn to road was glare ice and dangerous for any type of travel.  To get the horses to the trailer safely, I had to lead them through 3 feet of snow in the pasture the entire way. By the time I made the journey I was soaking wet, freezing cold and not just a little cranky.

There was one other emotion as well – Pride.  I was so very proud of both my kids for walking the distance, in the dark by my side with supreme patience.

The drivers were amazing as well. Their first concern was our horses comfort and safety. When they left to head to Texas ahead of us, I felt confident that both Spirit and Rusty would receive the best of care.  We highly recommend Equine Express for their professional service and would use them again.

PACKING:

Bailey is so tuckered out from packing, she took a snooze on the baker’s rack!

Living in one spot for over 20 years is bound to create a lot of possessions – er or just plain Junk!  I consider myself a very practical person who does not store unnecessary items, but I guess I don’t know myself all that well – or others in our family.  We spent months literally packing, selling, giving stuff away and throwing stuff out. With that said, we still had a full moving van plus our horse trailer.

I cannot thank our great friends and neighbors enough for chipping in to take items off our hands.  I hope that all the household goods, horse equipment, furniture and game room items will provide as much joy for you all, as they have for us.

MOVING DAY:

Two Allied moving trucks were needed to transport our boxes to the Semi waiting on the road.

Two Allied moving trucks were needed to transport our boxes to the Semi waiting on the road.

The day arrived and things went pretty smooth.  It took a long time to load all our belongings on the truck as well as a tractor,

lawn mower, 4-wheeler and a Corvette.  Because of good-ole’ Mother Nature, we had to have two straight trucks haul our belongings out and a semi wait on the road for the larger items. Ultimately, they found their place in one truck to make the trek to Texas. After all that was said and done, we had to fill the horse trailer with our remaining things.

Is this the end of the journey?  HELL NO!  As we pulled out of the drive at around 4 PM, our adventure was only beginning – More to come.

Sam emerges from here winter Wisconsin home to make the move south.

Sam emerges from here winter Wisconsin home to make the move south.

*NOTE:  When making a cross-country move, NEVER expect your stuff to be to your new place soon after your arrival.

A Horse of Course – Scooter

Young filly

Young filly

In the early spring of 1992, I had a yearling filly for sale. She was really cute, but not really what I was looking for to train.  After putting an ad in the Horsemen’s News, I received a call.  A young lady was looking for a project that would grow to be at least 15 hands and was very interested in the filly. Only catch was, she couldn’t have two horses. She already had a small yearling  and would take $100 on trade for him.  She said he was a real goof-ball but would not get super big, so since I was getting a good price for the filly, I agreed.

I arrived at the Big Boy restaurant in Oshkosh with snow flying everywhere. The scene was similar to parents switching kids for the week as we unloaded our cargo and switched locations. The little sorrel gelding she presented was indeed small, and slightly built, but he had attitude and this made me smile.  They called him “Windjammer”, but I just wasn’t sure the name fit him. As soon as I brought him home and let him go flying around the pasture, I knew he would be known as Scooter forever more.

 

Scooter was one of those rare horses that taught me as much as I ever did him. He made it all easy. He ran his heart out each and every time we competed and never let me down. Because of his small stature, barrels would never be a prime class, but wherever quickness and agility prevailed – he always nailed it.  He was most effective in Keyhole, Poles, Jumping Figure 8 and Tire Race.  In keyhole, he would literally slide to a stop, spin in place and head back out in such a small area he never messed up the lines. Often times we would turn just inside the entry which was highly difficult.

Scooter was also effective in classes like ball and pail, flags and spear race were his ability to place his rider just where she needed to be created one flawless ride after another. I hardly ever missed when I rode him.

Scooter 8

Scooter was great at tiny tot tire race

My little buddy was also good at other types of activities as well. He was so much fun in parades as he would prance and dance the entire time, he was calm and relaxing on trail rides and even won first place in a 50 mile endurance ride at Kettle Moraine. This win was partly due to his ability to go out at an extended trot for miles with ease.  Even when I tipped the scale at 200 lbs for that ride, he never showed signs of noticing. He did that ride in total ride time of 4 hours and 14 minutes.

For years, Scooter and I were inseparable. He even allowed my inexperienced step-daughter to use him in some events as well – he was a real trooper.

Scooter never colic’d, well I cannot say never, because it was colic that ended his life. It is because of his  toughness and great heart that we probably did not even notice he was having problems until it was too late. What seemed a slight belly-ache was actually the beginning of the end.  We took him in to the vet hospital and after a full evaluation they said he was prolapsed and he had turned a corner.  They could not figure out how he could still be standing, but he was.  We lost him that day.

Because we had so many great adventures together, I am sure I will write about him again down the line, but for now all I can say is that I miss him.

A Horse Of Course – Joshua's Mooneuver

Joshua's Mooneuver

Joshua’s Mooneuver

Many who know me are well aware of my passion for speed and games on horseback. I have loved to compete in everything from barrels and poles to monkey on a barrel. While it may be true that the majority of horses I have owned were for the fast and furious, there have been some that were born and bred for a more refined showing experience.

Josh was such a horse.  Born in 1984 as a registered Quarter Horse he stood about 15.1 hands and was the prettiest bay color. Josh was owned by a family who used him for halter and showmanship events. When it came to riding, they were more interested in POA’s; therefore, Josh was not well trained for mounted classes.

Unfortunately, one evening Josh rolled in his stall and knocked the gate off the front. The hardware was pointing downward so when he rolled back he caught his rump on the protruding bolts. This resulted in a very deep gash going from one side to the other over his hips.  After a long recovery period, it was plain that while his health and movement was not affected, his ability to show at halter was no longer possible.

It was at this time, in 1991 that I was over visiting his owners and found out that he was for sale. This opportunity provided me the perfect chance to train and show a horse for English and Western events.  Of course, because at he was 7 years old and never ridden there were a few rodeo moments, but not many. Soon enough, Josh was beginning to show signs of becoming a respectable show horse.

I remember his first show on May 3, 1992.  It was held at the fairgrounds in Baraboo and he was a brat.  He bucked in his bareback class and continued to rush everything until he began to

Alexandra Gotch learning to ride

Alexandra Gotch learning to ride

get tired. It was at this point that he started to show some promise. Of course, what I haven’t told you yet is that I was 5 months pregnant. I also look at the videos and can see where I had much to learn. My feet pointed out and I leaned forward way too much (a habit I still have to this day).

 

Overall, my time with Josh was always interesting. I loved him dearly. Besides for pleasure events, I enjoyed trail riding and parades with him and after that first few months, could always trust him with any rider.

Sadly, just as we were beginning to progress and learn together, our time together was cut short. In late fall 1995 Josh came down with Colic. The vet came out and we did what every horse owner does to bring them out of it. He responded well and showed signs of full recovery; however, overnight he took a turn and we lost him.   There have been other great horses since Josh as there always will be, but the good ones are neither forgotten

nor replaced. What is most sad is that he left us so soon and was never able to reach his full potential.

All the Cars I Loved Before…

Sitting in a vehicle in -15 temperatures got my mind to wandering. Actually, it is amazing that my frozen noggin could conjure up thoughts with as cold as it is, but there ya go.  Watching my husband turn the key in the ignition and hear the vehicle fire right up really made me remember the “good old days”?

I distinctly remember at least 3 vehicles when I was in my 20’s.  The oldest was a 62 ½ Willy’s Jeep pickup truck. I loved this truck because with a paperclip or piece of wire, you could fix about anything on it. Yea, it was a bit rough, but was strong enough to push a plow in the winter.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Another vehicle, a little less old was an early 70’s International Harvester. This aqua/white poor excuse for a crossover sounded like it was going to fall apart at any moment while driving it down the road. I really shouldn’t complain much because this is the 4 speed I learned to drive on.  How many young people these days can admit to learning how to drive on a stick shift?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lastly, was the pretty one of the bunch – a maroon and black 1975 Chevrolet Monte Carlo. Now this car was one hot ride. Of course, this two-door also came with power steering, automatic windows and “bucket seats”.  I loved riding in this car. Unfortunately, I hit a patch of black ice one day and ended up riding on two wheels – Dukes of Hazzard style- through the ditch as I sheared off yellow posts.  I miss that  car.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You may think that I am simply reminiscing about “all the cars I loved before”; however, there is actually a reason for my musing. As I watched my husband easily turn a key to hear the engine roar in the bitter cold, I am reminded of how many times I sat in a freezing cold vehicle, pumping the gas in order to get it started.  Then after it did begin to come to life, having to use every ounce of finesse I could muster to flutter that same gas pedal until the engine smoothed out and stopped threatening to quit entirely.

Anyone else remember these days?

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