Peopleís Reaction to the Horses and Wagon -
It never ceases to amaze me at the wide variety of reactions. About half the people I meet (when theyíre going less than 50 mph) are very enthusiastic about seeing the horses and wagon. I have noticed that when people are going fast, they seldom slow down to check it out. I think theyíre in the ďIíve got to get thereĒ mode and canít take the time, even if theyíre interested.
When theyíre moving slower, about half the people will smile and wave if I wave at them. If theyíre standing outside, two thirds of the people will wave. About a third of the people will not even take the time to look at a wagon being pulled by four horses. I suspect the majority of these are people that are so wrapped up looking inward that they canít see much beyond their own shadow.
I always meet a large number of well wishers that are very enthusiastic about my trip. They are all ages and walks of life. People that have or have had horses are more likely to fall into this group. Nearly all younger kids enjoy seeing and petting the horses.
Horse Condition and Performance
Both the condition and performance of the horses continues to improve. The previous problems that I had with a couple of the horses getting shoulder and neck sores have been solved. I made Deedee a special collar pad that took care of her neck sore. I bought some smaller collars for Joyce and Dollie that took care of the small shoulder galls they were getting.
Theyíre all in better condition now at the end of the day and are able to run longer with less days off. The most limiting thing I have to contend with now is the shorter days. Iíll have to start getting up earlier and feed the horses in the dark. This will allow me to get out earlier and still have a full day of travel.
I have to be careful about making small changes to the harnesses. When I tightened up Dollieís overhead check line a little, she stopped pulling half the time (she likes to walk with her head lower and canít stand the extra bit pressure.) I loosened it back up and sheís going great now.
My Time -
Iím generally busy from about 5:30 am until 9 pm. With the horse care, wagon maintenance, driving, meeting with the public and writing my blog, I have very little time left over for anything else. Most of my days off are spent doing horse and wagon maintenance and getting supplies. When Iím someplace warm enough so that Father Winter isnít threatening to snow me in, Iím going to take a least one day off a week to relax and do some writing.
The Wagon -
In the immediate future, I have to get some weather stripping for around the doors and a few places behind the drawers and closet. Iím losing quite a bit of heat there. I think Iíll also get a couple of clear shower curtains to box in the front driving compartment. Iíll also need another 20 pound can of LP gas for my propane heater. I could put the heater up front and keep it warm enough to drive.
When I get time for a refit this winter Iím going to do the following changes - 1. Iím going to pull the solar hot water heater and put in a propane one.
2. I need to change the rear brakes over from Mechanical to Hydraulic.