At Least We Can Show!

(This little story is for those of you who hate trailering horses…)

As many of you know I live in Northeastern Ohio and if you live in this state you find a lot of truth in the common Ohio saying, “If you don’t like the weather, just wait a day and it will change”. This past weekend we had one of those “days”. It was seasonably cold on Saturday morning, but the skies were clear and the roads dry. However, by 2pm the weather took a quick turn with the temperature dropping and snow beginning to fly (LOVE that “Lake Effect”).

Normally this weather does not pose a problem for me. I certainly don’t like it but my little Honda Element can truck through it with no problem. However, this particular snow brought with it a HUGE problem for me. My daughter and I had decided to take both our horses to a morning Sunday show (I was riding in a Show Rider class and she in the Academy classes) and I needed to trailer them myself. For those of you who know me personally, trailering horses just down the road on a clear, beautiful day is a big undertaking for my brain. I hate trailering horses and it makes me incredibly nervous. I am an okay driver (except maybe for Toll Booths…apparently that is a good joking point for those following me – I just am afraid I will run up over the curb or hit one of those walls). My problem is that I always think about everything that could go wrong…What if someone cuts me off while driving down the interstate? What if I have a flat or my truck breaks down? What if I get lost? And, most importantly, What if I have to stop for gas and I get stuck in the gas station and can’t maneuver myself out? (I know that last one is really dumb, but my poor brain just can’t get past it). Yesterday, however, was the mother of all trailering stresses for me…Snow was falling and sticking to the roads – Yikes!

I began getting nervous as soon as I saw the snow begin. Before it even covered the ground I had already started talking myself out of driving the horses. I had looked at weather.com and found it wasn’t really going to be all that bad but unfortunately my brain had decided we were already having the biggest blizzard of the century. I began telling my daughter that we probably wouldn’t be able to go and I told my parent, who were in town, that I was sorry they wouldn’t get to see their granddaughter show her mare. Being the caring parents that they are, they agreed with me and didn’t want to see me get in a bad accident that morning (Of course I played up the “danger” of the situation so that everybody would back me up and make me feel less wimpy). Later that night I texted my instructor and said I just couldn’t trailer in the given weather, but I felt pretty stupid. I slept really bad that night (could it be guilt?)

When I got up at my usual 5 am to feed the horses and let the dogs out to pee, I saw a car drive down our road. Was it really going that fast? Are the roads really not that bad? I went back into the house, sat down to start on my morning pot and a half of coffee and began feeling even more wimpy and guilty. As I sat there, I kept thinking to myself, “Can I do this? Can I muster up the nerve (or other things) to drive my trailer in the snow all by myself?” In one fell swoop, I got up, walked up the stairs and told my daughter to get up and get ready. Although she is definitely not a morning person, she was very happy to hop out of bed that morning.

We both got ready and trudged out to the truck. After we got the windshield deiced, I put it in drive, hit the gas and went no where. We were stuck in the drive, unable to get out using only 2wd. I had to then climb back out of the truck, lock the hubs and put the thing in 4wd, all the while thinking “This is stupid!”. We then hit the road and I quickly realized that the guy I saw driving at that “good clip” down the street must have either been an experienced race car driver or a complete idiot with a death wish. The roads SUCKED! Several times on the way to the barn I thought about just turning around, but since I was already on my way I just kept gripping the steering wheel going straight (and through many 4-stops!). When we finally arrived at the barn all in one piece, I SO wanted that to be the end of my adventure. I had made it THAT far, couldn’t I just go home now? Unfortunately not, I was going to do this come Hell or High Water…we loaded the horses (Who both looked at me like I was absolutely NUTS) and headed back down the road.

The trip from the barn to the location of the show was not far but was very hilly (of course!), adding further to my overload of stress. We did finally make it (please realize that to anybody else this would have been a no-brainer; this road was not that bad in fact, my instructor got there with her trailer way before me even though we left at the same time).

When we turned to go up the winding drive to the show barn, I breathed a sigh of relief; We were there. However, things turned south. Ice on the driveway left over from a previous snow was now covered by a small layer of snow making it slicker than snot and far worse than any of the streets I had been on. Crossing my fingers I hit the gas and tried my best to keep from missing turns and taking out any of those pretty trees and fences that lined the driveway. I was almost to the barn when it happened…we got stuck. Okay, it wasn’t a bad “stuck”, we just couldn’t go anywhere on the ice. I had driven all that way with my little white knuckles only to get stuck 20 stupid feet from the barn! With my brain about ready to explode and my confidence on the brink of destruction, my daughter saved the day…Being a kid who often tries to make her mom feel better, she realized I was tired, stress and frustrated. With that little girl innocent look on her face and that “things are great” tone in her voice she spoke up and said, “Well at least we can show!”. I looked at her, started laughing and said “Yes, at least we can show.” I guess that would be a “Glass Half Full” moment!

5 Responses to At Least We Can Show!

  1. Carole says:

    Beth,

    I sold all of my four wheel drive trucks. I figured out that if I needed four wheel drive I had NO business driving. Once when I was coming back from Kentucky Horse Park from a wonderful performance…I hit a snow storm in southern Wyoming. I hunted up a spot to lay over. I stayed with four horses and two dogs at “Terry Bison Ranch”. The horses stayed in the Camel barn with the camels.This adventure ,of course,is another story. We were there for five days waiting for the roads to open. Thank goodness I don’t have four wheel drive. I can stay home when it snows. Love your story. Get rid of the 4 wheel drive truck.nO FOUR WHEEL DRIVE is the perfect reason to stay under the covers.
    Glad you went and had fun. Cheers,Carole/Dancing Morgnas

  2. jns767 says:

    What a story, but I’m glad you arrived safely – did you have fun at the show atleast?

    It reminds me of the time my mother and I got stuck in a Taco Bell Drive Thru with our little two horse trailer and a very upset (noisy) gelding. That was EMBARRASSING!! We were very inexperienced trailer pullers – obviously.

  3. Black Eye Beth says:

    Just a note…the total accumulation was only about 3 inches…Yes, I am a major wimp!!!

    (we did have a good time at the show. I meant to video my daughter riding Miss Scarlet but in the “trauma” of it all I forgot my video camera)

  4. Carole says:

    Beth,
    Wimps are the smartest people I KNOW…
    It is the really brave people I worry about. Just joking about the brave souls. I, too, am a wimp.
    Cheers,Carole/Dancing Morgans

  5. kad says:

    Too clear the air…
    First of all, your horses looked at you as if you are nuts because you truly are nuts! (Don’t worry so are most of the rest of us.) Second of all you aren’t a wimp … it all goes back to the “nuts” part.
    With that being said, I am sure that even the “brave” drivers sensed a bit of uneasiness driving in that mess.
    And not to steal any thunder from Beth’s story (which was very nicely written I must say) she was not the only one to get stuck in the driveway that morning and though she needed a little help getting unstuck at least she didn’t have to be pulled out by another vehicle as some others did.
    As far as the showing goes, she and her daughter did quite well for their “first ride” on their own horses. But, let’s just say warmly, the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.

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