A Day of Desperation, Tuesday, July 31. It is roughly 3:30 pm local time. The B.C. Interior suffers under a broiling heat wave. Travelling from Summerland, B.C. to Sundre, Alberta, my wife Barbara, with a young horsewoman as her passenger, is hauling a trailer with two horses across the mountains behind our trusty Sierra Diesel. Having passed through Golden, B.C., the vehicle’s radiator blows some 5 km outside of town. On a close-to-failing cell phone connection, my wife calls me at home to inform me of the incident. Knowing nothing of the services available in Golden, I advise her to call the BCAA Emergency number. The operator regrets to advise that there are no facilities for emergency help with live horses on a trailer.
Meanwhile, I research the internet for possible area-based services. By a stroke of luck, I find and phone the number of Kicking Horse Ford in Golden. I speak with service manager Kristy Patterson, who immediately offers all the help she can. During this phone call, Kristy also advises me that she will immediately ask her husband to find both truck and trailer and bring them to safety. (He will be unable to reach the area in question because I had confused “west” and “east” when I spoke to Kristy earlier.)
Meanwhile, it is vital to get our truck and trailer out of their perilous position close to the high-speed traffic on that particular section of Highway 1. With help from her passenger, my wife manages to turn truck and trailer around and limp back to Golden.
Immediately upon arrival at Kicking Horse Ford, Kristy makes sure the two horses are unloaded from the trailer to be fed and watered in a sheltered area on the company’s property. A technician’s pressure test quickly confirms substantial radiator damage: (A foreign object of unknown origin had fallen into the rotating fan and bounced around in the radiator shroud, shattering the fan blades and smashing the radiator core in several areas.)
Within a few minutes, Kristy Patterson has ascertained the availability of a new replacement radiator in Calgary and also sourced a replacement fan. Both items need to be shipped to Golden by their respective suppliers. The parts would arrive only after the weekend.
With the end of the business day approaching, Kristy sees to it that the truck is stored securely over the weekend, and our friend from Sundre comes to pick up trailer and horses. A week later, we take possession of our freshly repaired Sierra. The trip home to Summerland is safe and uneventful.
To Kristy and her team at Kicking Horse Ford, we owe a great debt of gratitude. Not only where the horses and their needs were concerned, but also with a view to Kristy’s blow-by-blow situation reports to me on the phone in Summerland. Her quick and decisive actions turned a chaotic and potential disaster into a situation that was both helpful and reassuring.
Our thanks go to all participants for going the extra mile and for performing so well beyond the call of duty. It is a rescue that we will not forget, and the episode will remain in our memory as “The Day Kicking Horse Ford Kicked xxx.”
Kicking Horse Ford has every reason to be proud of Kristy Patterson and her team!
Roger and Barbara Carey