Roundup Reunion – Day 2 (09/15): Sandpoint Day

We were originally scheduled to choose two of three possible events for today, but the boat ride was cancelled due to some mechanical problems, so we visited two local “attractions” in Sandpoint.

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In the morning we went to Parnell Ranch. This is where the Clydesdale breed of horses has been being saved for the past 40 years of so. This had not been one of my choices, since I have been to Budweiser Clydesdale crèches in both New Hampshire and St. Louis. I am so glad to have come here. The family owned farmers are so passionate about the development and continuity of this breed. They so love their horses and their progenitors.

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The dad farmer told us what had prompted his father to start saving horses to save the breed. After the advent of motorized transport, “millions” of draft horses were loaded onto trains and taken away to be slaughtered. If it had not been for a few men like Parnell’s dad, we would have no Clydesdales today. They gave us three experiences with the horses.

First up, how they braid the horse’s main and tail when it’s being shown. We saw a lovely mare get braided up while her 4-month old baby, Jack, was taking a nap.

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Then we took a ride in a wagon drawn by two of the horses. We got to look at the farm’s two breeding stallions. The younger one was a mighty force, neck arched, nostrils flared, high knee trotting, up and down the fence. Exuberance!

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After the wagon ride, we got to spend time with the farmer wife, who is the force behind today’s breeding program. She told us all about the artificial insemination process from collecting semen to inseminating mares to following the pregnancy and attending the birth of the young horse. She also shared the technology of shipping semen to other farms.

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These folks are so passionate about the work they are doing, clearly a labor of love. The love shows in every act they take in their work and I am so glad to have been able to share a few hours with them.

In the afternoon we visited the Bird Museum of Aviation and Invention.

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While most of us loved this showy collection of the late Dr. Bird’s aircraft, automobiles, inventions and the inventions of his friends and colleagues, I found it an overwhelming muddle. I couldn’t find a focus. Just a jumbled accumulation of machines and pictures.

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Dr. Bird was surely a genius of high order and clearly contributed to the good of medicine and mankind, but this place was bizarre. On the other hand the road overlooking the private airstrip, provided the best views of Lake Pendoreille we have seen yet.

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In the evening, we received a presentation from the Girl Scout national organization addressing what they are planning to do about volunteer engagement, particularly with alumnae as are most of us old Roundup-ers. The day ended with signing – one old Regional song after another. We are such dinosaurs and we have such beautiful voices.

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