Thoughts From The Farm: Hot Brakes

Keelin Faulkner, 13, breakaway roping at Pioneer Days in Manassa, Colo. Photo by Sage Faulkner 


We loaded up the big trailer for a weekend of rodeoing and as usual, it was a scramble. My safety checks have turned into more of a one kid takes left side, another checks gates and another takes right. We jump in and go, having planned to have left an hour earlier.

Just as I hit Chama, I see a bit of smoke coming off the trailer tires. Now, some of you know I burnt a truck up last year. Smoke in a moving vehicle is not something I ever want to see again. My heart drops. I pull over immediately and run to the trailer. Hot tires. I can feel the heat, so we unload horses and Monte grabs the fire extinguisher. I hit the smoking area in hopes that it not get any hotter. The lady who runs the Y motel hollers at me asking if I needed a hose. I think I’m ok with the extinguisher so I thank her. Our sweet friend Mrs. Johanna sees Keek holding horses and stops. She tells us to go get their trailer if we need it.

I’m under the gooseneck looking, and sure enough, my emergency disconnect has pulled loose. This is an awesome safety feature that sets the trailer brakes if the trailer disconnects from the ball. Mine has just accidentally pulled loose, and since I wasn’t needing to stop, I just pulled my trailer with the brakes trying to stop it. No bueno. An employee of the Lowe’s comes running out, carrying a huge fire extinguisher (biggest one I have ever seen, they aren’t messing around), asking if I need it. Things seem to be cooling down and there is no smoke, so I thank him and we start looking things over. I reconnect my emergency plug.

I hate calling Shane while he’s working, but I do, because my confidence is shot. He tells me what to look for and I go over everything as best I can. His worry is that my brakes may stay locked, but they don’t. I’m able to go ahead and get to the rodeo and home without any further issue. We’ve got a friend who will pull the tires off and inspect the damage and we will repair what needs it.

So, here I am again reminding you all that vehicles and extinguishers need to travel together! My eyes need to look over everything, no matter how big a hurry we are in and how much the kids want to help. They need to learn this process, too, and one thing about riding with me, they’ll learn why it’s important. I told the kids I sure feel like God likes to teach me a lot of the same lessons over and over, but here we are again, telling a story that could have had a much worse outcome.

It seems like most of my life has been some version of the lesson “spend the extra minute closing the gate and save hours trying to put up loose cattle/horses/kids.” What was that old saying, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure? Check that emergency disconnect if you haul….and stay tuned, I’m certain I’ll have more tips down the road! Have a good day y’all! Make it so!