The jitters are all gone from the first night of racing. The Chuckwagon Drivers, the outriders, the barn hands and all the outstanding volunteers feel them on the first day of competition. Once that first race day is under our belt, it is full force from then on. Routine sets in.
The mornings here are just fabulous when the weather is cooperating. We’ve had such amazing warm temperatures here in Grande Prairie, AB, which tends to put horses and humans in really good arrays. Once the ponies run around stretch, buck and kick after they are let out of their stalls, they settle themselves down, and rest. They can sleep either lying down or standing up.
With 19 horses to look after day in and day out, there is a unique routine that we follow each and every day. Our on the road “Team 23” consists of Rick and I and our 2 helpers, Duncan and Karina. Dunce hails from across the waters, in Australia. He ventured over to Canada just under two years ago to explore our great country. Karina, comes to us from Ontario. They met up in the beautiful mountainous area called Banff. Duncan happened to be working on a Ranch down south near Bassano, AB some time ago where he met our friend Derek who worked for us prior. They got chatting about life in general and Chuckwagon racing came into the conversation. Duncan was given our number in case he would be interested in checking us out. Well he kept that number in his pocket and decided to give us a call this spring. He and Karina were ready for an adventure. They packed up their belongings and headed out west to the Fraser Ranch. These two have been hard-working young kids enjoying the tour thus far.
Our Team is always up for some helpers. These two young fellas, Karter and Ethan, (our World Professional Chuckwagon Association Secretary Tammy’s Boy’s) happened to stop by with their mom. Well we put them right to work helping us make the evening mash for the horses. As they are city kids, they found this quite appealing. We had to make sure they left with a little something, something, so the candy dish came out.
The horses love their oats, beet pulp and mineral. Especially Nickle. He tries his darndest to get an extra nibble any time he can when we’re not looking. We have to be very careful where we place the wheel barrow. The horses all have a personality, just like people. He’s one of our older right hand lead horses which we have had for quite some time now. He’s a keeper.
When race time arrives, and the horses hear the rumbling of the passing chuckwagons and the sound of the starting horn, their ears perk up. They know its time to race. They get their adrenaline pumping. They were born to run. They amaze me, as they are very much like a human athlete.
Tonight our hook coming off the 3 barrel, we had Bicardi on the Left Lead, Spin on the Right Lead, Jim on the Left Wheel and Law on the Right Wheel. Ed was rode by our lead outrider man, Cole Somerville, and Stadium was our stove horse rode by Casey Knight.
Things went according to plan getting out of the infield. Rick drove a great race placing 13th on the night, and 8th overall. Still sitting not to bad in the show. Need two more real good runs. It looks like the sunny warm weather is going to hold for us for the rest of the event.
As I was walking from our trailer to our horse barn, which happens many times a day, I spied this very beautiful, bright yellow dandelion. Now many may curse this plant, but when you look close up and see the beauty within, it may just give you a different opinion.
From the Travelin Trailer
Sue, with Rick and “Team 23”
P.S. Everything has its beauty, but not everyone see’s it.