A large part of having horses is transporting them from place to place, whether that’s for competitions, winter turnout or buying/selling, a wagon is a necessity. I must admit, prior to my induction into the horse world I hadn’t given it a thought, other than the odd bit of frustration when stuck behind them on country roads! Now, however, I have heard all the horror stories out there…and I have even been involved in one of my own!
Meet Vera. 18 tonne of lady that has plenty of quirks! Vera has been in the Lofthouse family for 3 years and has been on many adventures. With 3 horses that, to put it nicely can be a royal pain in the arse and don’t always travel well, give the old girl a bit of a battering! Every now and then Sam calls for an inspection of the wagon, leading to the inevitable “hmmmm…..”. I don’t know about other horse husbands out there, but that sound sends a shiver down my spine! The last time this happened I was given the task of removing the internal panels of the wagon so Sams dad could reinforce the sides. Despite getting the job done quickly, apparently a crowbar wasn’t the appropriate tool for the job!
Now as you all know a small issue can quickly turn into a big problem when you’re dealing with half ton beasts that at best can be temperamental and worst, just downright destructive. On one of my early outings with the herd to a competition one such problem occurred.
The day started out like any other competition day, far too early. Having been dragged out of bed in what seemed like the middle of the night I found myself down at the yard with a shovel thrust in my direction. All the jobs still had to be done before we could set off! So whilst Sam was getting Mea cleaned up, being a grey mare that likes to roll in any dirt she can find this took a while, I cracked on and got the other two sorted. Jobs done and Mea loaded up we were ready! Time for a nap.
It was a couple of hours to get to the competition, Sams sister was driving so I thought I’d have a nice chill out in the back. Every now and then Mea would make a bit of a noise but generally she travels quite well. After about half an hour Sam went for the obligatory check. I was rudely awoken from my rest by Sam frantically shouting me to get through the back. Mea had managed to snap one of the front poles holding the partition in and was casually leaning at about a 75 degree angle!
Although seeing a horse casually leaning may be amusing…it wasn’t the time to laugh. Thankfully it was only Mea in the wagon so I managed to get in the next stall and somehow prop the horse up! Thankfully I’m not a small guy, 6’4 and 17 stone. Mea on the other hand is 15.2” and half a ton! So with us travelling down the motorway, having just past an exit and long drive to the next, Sam talking to her sister about the best thing to do, I settled in with my back against the partition for a long half hour!
How had I got myself in this situation? Propping up a horse that had a massive arse that seemed to be getting heavier by the minute. Sam has a lot to answer for! When she finally stuck her head back through, after presumably having a nice brew and a sit down, to ask how I was doing I was drenched in sweat and about to pass out! Thankfully we weren’t far from the next services, with Sam helping prop up the now 10 tonne horse, and attempting to keep me from either passing out or never talking to her again, we managed to keep Mea from falling over.
Once we had successfully pulled up, with Mea still happily munching on some hay none the wiser as to what she had just put me through, the horse decided it was time to stand up straight!! It may have been the lack of oxygen to my brain but I found it funny at the time. With the venue still a good hour away the only option was to abandon the competition and get back to the yard. Great…apart from the journey home with a 20 tonne horse trying to crush me! This was not acceptable. Thankfully the wagon is full of random junk (as I assume all horsey people keep everything…just in case), a rope came to the rescue allowing me to secure the partition to the back of the wagon, my day of being a human horse prop was over!
Originally posted to The Horse Husband