Home > Trip > Dispatches > Daily Dispatches 2013 > Daily Dispatch #174

September 14, 2013: Al and Robin Near’s Place

We went from Butte to Coeur d’Alene in less than a day. Next on our agenda/social register was a visit with Robin and Al Near. I didn’t know Robin personally-rather I knew of her. She is a former Fairbanks resident who is still a member of the Alaska Icelandic Horse Association. She moved from Alaska to Oregon the year before Pete and I moved from Montana to Alaska. This was 11 and 12 years ago, respectively.

Robin has written extensively for the Alaska Icelandic Horse Association newsletter, so I also knew of her having read everything she’d written. My favorite piece was about her two horses, Drago and Falki, walking into a barn in which a concrete slab had just been

Robin with her two horses, Drago and Falki

poured. The two intensely curious Icelandics left their hoofprints, as well as horse poop. According to Robin, the floor had to be replaced. This necessitated breaking up the hardened concrete.

I asked my Fairbanks friend and newsletter editor Fran Bundtzen if she thought Robin might welcome visitors. Fran immediately contacted Robin, who said that she’d love to have us visit. To this end, Robin immediately sent me a welcoming email.

I responded and warned Robin about our having Rainbow and Ryder with us, adding that our having an untrained puppy put us in the category of high maintenance visitors. “No problem,” Robin said, “come anyways.” She added that she’d most likely have to keep her older dog Sheba away from the pair, since Sheba is a dominant dog. Lastly, I mentioned that we also had Signy and Raudi with us. Robin indicated that this also wasn’t a problem. She was currently boarding her two horses, so we could put our horses in their backyard space.

I can imagine it is one thing to say that you are going to visit and have two dogs and two horses with you. But it’s quite another to have a honking big ass truck and trailer pull into your driveway on a very hot day. If either Robin or Al were at all phased by this, neither indicated it. Rather, they set to being consummate hosts.

Dogs went into one yard, and horses into another. Then we got a house tour. The Nears live in beautiful two story house that has a basement apartment. They recently purchased this place, and have since repainted it and put in new carpeting. I later said to Pete that it did feel as though we had fallen into the lap of luxury, since for the past four days we’d been camping at the Butte rodeo grounds.

Sometimes you meet people and become instant friends. This was so of the four of us. Of course, Robin and I spent considerable time talking Icelandic horses. This was a real treat for me, because I had not had an extended conversation about breed care, management, and feeding since meeting Karen Olsen Fields back at the I know you Rider ride.

We also came up with a game plan for the next two days. Tomorrow we are going to where Drago and Falki are being boarded and go for a trail ride. Then the following day we’ll go for a ride with members of the Backcountry Horsemen of Idaho. Pete suggested that tomorrow we work with Falki on ponying, this way he’ll be able to come along on Sunday. I suspect that he will take to this because he is an Icelandic horse, and they enjoy being ponied.

Next: 175: 9/14/13: Messing with Horses