Tuesday, September 22, 2009

On the Road Again, the Tale of Trailering two Thoroughbreds

This past Thursday, Kimberly and I began the adventure of trailering Ocean Chief and Podger to their foster home. Now this sounds like a simple enough task to complete. We started the day with Kimberly (also the foster mom) driving up from Valley Center in the San Diego County area to Bradbury and Sunshine Farms where the horses had been at for the past couple months. The owner and trainer of these two horses had been waiting for an adoption that hadn't taken place, so these two charges were now the property of The Second Race. Ocean Chief "Chief" and Podger loaded up like champs, which is especially interesting as the trailer is a step up design and race horses are used to ramps. Anyway, Chief loads up after Podger and thinks that "bitey face" is a good idea, we secure Chief and began the 2 hour trip down the road. I was enjoying the boys with their heads out of the trailer, taking in the hot dusty air outside of Norco, when I heard a loud pop followed by the breaking up of tire tread bouncy off the freeway and the smell of rubber. Kimberly's trailer had a flat, and all I could think of was how would I keep two Thoroughbreds quiet on the side of the road. My mind raced as Kimberly pulled over to the median and we both got out to look at the damaged tire. We decided to limp the trailer along to the first off ramp and find a place to park. I said I would call my friends to help us out. Unknown to me someone on the freeway had also noticed the tire blow out and followed us off the freeway ramp. A young gal got out of her SUV and introduced herself. She had three stalls in her backyard, lived in the area and said that if were to be delayed for any length of time, she would be happy to allow us to put Chief and Podger in her barn overnight if necessary. Turns out she is a realtor in the area and as we chatted some more, she told me she had an older Thoroughbred that she was looking for a pasture mate for, or would be willing to have him adopted out for the same purpose. I called my friends to see if they could help us out. Mario who is a jockey and former trainer and his wife, Teresa live outside of Corona (where the tire had blown) and I was able to catch him prior to his leaving for Pomona to ride at Fairplex that afternoon. They have their own horse trailer and Mario said he would pull off a tire for us to use. While we waited for our guardian angels to arrive, we found literally the only shade tree in the shopping center parking lot for the horses, while they stayed in the trailer. The temperature was 100 degrees outside. Kimberly had some carrots and I had horse cookies in my car so we appeased the curious boys with goodies to keep them calm. Our 'angels' arrived and unfortunately discovered that we had a six lug nut tire and Mario's tire had five. Fortunately, Discount Tire was a few blocks away and the tire was replaced. All of this easily delayed our trip about an hour, but Mario was a champ and was able to hoist up the trailer (horses inside) with a jack and change the tire for us. (don't tell me jockeys aren't strong). Now the sidebar of this was when we returned from the tire store, we pulled up to Mario holding court with two ladies looking at the horse trailer and the contents inside in wonderment. They introduced themselves as visiting from Michigan and said "that had never seen a real race horse in person". They both remarked how beautiful the horses where and how they didn't look "like regular horses". One of the ladies and I struck up a conversation and it turns out she rescues rabbits and cats and has a national pet sitting business (which is why she was in the area). We exchanged information as she said she is often asked to place horses and didn't have a resource to go to. Now who can network two different resources while awaiting a tire to be fixed! I have always said there are no such things as "accidents" in the universe. We were back on the freeway heading down through the Temecula area when we approached dead stopped traffic, by now the temperature is soaring around 105 degrees. NOW WHAT I heard myself yell out, we inched along for almost one hour in traffic to find a jack knifed truck that had spilled it's load and fuel on the highway. Eventually we made our way past this mess and arrived 4 1/2 hours later from the original two. We hosed the geldings off as they left the trailer, gave them some water to drink, took pictures and then turned them out to the paddock to run and stretch their legs. Chief was the first let off the trailer, and the pride that I felt when he ran around, I can't describe. As I was leaving, Chief ran up to me, stopped, put his head down and leaned his forehead against my shoulder as if to say "thank you" and took off again farting and squealing with excitement. It was a glorious day!


  1. All is well that ends well, but that sounds like quite the adventure!

    I would have had the same thought on the side of the road with my two, even though only one is a Thoroughbred.

    Glad it all turned out okay, and love the video!

  2. An even better happy ending, Ocean Chief was adopted today!


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