Conley's Horse Photos

2012 Rader's Wagon Train

 

Our friend and president of the Community Draft Horse and Mule Association, Homer Rader, organized a short 3 day wagon train ride leading up to the weekend ride at Danny Crawford's farm that was scheduled for the weekend of July 21-22, 2012.  As a result, on the morning of Wednesday, July 18, 2012, a group of 8 units, consisting of both wagons and buggies, left Columbiana Farm near Paris, Kentucky which Homer manages for the Ochocki family of California.  The plan was to make the 53 mile drive over to the Crawford farm near Hillsboro, Kentucky in 3 days with a daily move up of the trailers to use for hauling supplies and to provide sleeping quarters for the participants.  This meant a lot less had to be carried on the wagons during the hot weather that was expected to prevail at this time of the year.  In fact, the entire middle part of the country had been under rather severe drought conditions with temperatures topping out over 100F right up until the day we started our ride.  The three days we were riding however, there were occasional rain showers and a few overnight thunderstorms which made for some interesting issues along the way.  While this made things better for the horses, it also affected the ability of your photographer to capture all of the things that occurred along the way. There were several periods where my cameras were hiding in a big black plastic trash bag trying to stay dry.  BELOW is a brief daily log about the ride:

 

Wednesday 7/18/12:  We were a little late leaving the grounds of the beautiful Columbiana Farm due to the late arrival of a few of the participants, but it was no problem as the plan was to only move a short 14 miles this first day.  Members of the Ochochi family were on hand to see the riders off.  We rode past miles of board fence on the beautiful horse farms of Bourbon County. After a rather uneventful day, we reached North Middletown and the camping area for the night.  While overcast much of the day, there were occasional periods of sunshine. There was no rain to speak of until we got set up for the night and a light rain began to fall.             

 

Thursday 7/19/12: The rains had stopped by morning and the dry ground quickly soaked up the small amount of rain that had fallen.  We hit the road early as this was the longest driving day of the ride.  The plan was to cover about 25 miles.  We had picked up another wagon and the total count now was 9 units. We moved into the more agricultural Nicholas County. Again, it was an overcast day with temperatures in the mid 80's making the hilly terrain much less of a problem for the horses although the high humidity made the air feel hotter.  We stopped for lunch in Moorefield, Ky. and proceeded on to our camping area in some remote bottom land very near the Licking River.  This area had about 6 inches of hard rain the previous night and we had to keep our trailers near the road in order to ensure that we didn't get stuck.  In fact, Rick Willoughby did get stuck and a farm tractor was required to pull his trailer out. About 10 PM, we had quite a thunderstorm, but by then, most everyone was already in bed.

  

Friday 7/20/12:  Again, we got an early start.  We first had to move our trailers on over to Danny's farm.  We were required to drive along the river on a narrow, dark, overgrown gravel road and had to stop to get out a chainsaw in order to clear some of the debris left by the previous nights storms.  Once we returned and got the teams underway, however, it really wasn't a bad day at all.  The skies remained overcast for most of the day, but the ride was only about 14 miles and the weather made it easier on the horses and mules.  We stopped for lunch at a small country store in Sherburne, Kentucky.  Danny told us that the sandwiches from this store were the best we would find anywhere.  The store was in an old building that is on its last legs and one which will probably not survive the next big flood which usually hits this area about every 8-10 years.  We arrived at Danny's farm in mid afternoon and the previous nights rain made for some challenges getting our vehicle's into the river bottom fields where we planned to spend the weekend.  Danny had a tractor from his large collection of Case tractors on hand ready to assist anyone who needed help.  Overall, the three days of riding went well with no serious tack or equipment failures.  Most of the rain and storms seemed to go around wherever we were located, although we often heard storms in the distance. 

 

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