Posts Tagged ‘Neal Hart’

Spring: It’s the new winter

April 1, 2009

Aprils Fools, and it’s hard to remember a nice weather day since the first day of spring. A storm March 26-27 left about 10 inches of wet snow here, with a water content of about 1 inch.

April Fools elk.

April Fools elk on Bear Basin Ranch.

A small but wicked storm Monday morning brought little moisture but the accompanying high wind whipped up a vicious ground blizzard. Sometime during this our little calf was caught out in the open and when I found her covered in windblown snow I thought she was dead. As I was walking away I saw a twitch and realized she actually was still alive.

I moved the calf to the barn on a sled, then rounded up the mother cow and put her in the paddock with her. Since Monday the calf has been under a heat lamp and I’ve been feeding it milk and milk replacement with an esophogeal tube and bag. Also, injections of vitamins A-D, B and C, and a drug called Nuflor. Three days later the calf is still unable to stand and nurse. Will she survive? I haven’t the slightest idea, but am surprised she has made it this long considering she was all but dead when I found her.

Word came yesterday that Neal Hart has passed away at the age of 84. Neal, the father of fellow pack-burro racer Steve Hart, has for years headed up the Ham radio team that keeps track of runners and their burros on the courses at the Leadville, Fairplay and Buena Vista races. His face was always a welcome and reassuring sight when I would see him on Mosquito Pass along with his faded-orange International Scout with the antennae for his radio equipment. I can still hear him — and it could be in a lightning storm, fog, blowing snow or hail, on a hot sunny day, or through a hypoxic haze. I didn’t matter whether I was winning or off the back. He would ask: “You need anything, Hal?” Neal always struck me as a kind and gentle man. I was very said to hear of his passing and know he will be greatly missed by all who knew him.

Here’s the good news: Steve Edwards and I are planning a donkey and mule training clinic here in Westcliffe in September. The bad news: The clinic will limited to only 12 participants and their animals, though spectators will be welcome.

Steve is a renowned longears trainer and also has developed his own line of saddles and tack. He’s been featured on the Rural Heritage Hour on RFD TV and also teaches classes at Central Arizona College. Stay tuned for more details or contact me for more info or to reserve a space.