Since I received so many comments about the wheel falling off my car [my column in the Feb. 12, 2011 issue of the Dairy Star], I figured this might be a good time to tell another vehicle story.

For those of you unfamiliar with northern Minnesota agriculture, there's not much alfalfa grown. But there's a lot of grass. So, when we farmed with my dad, we made a lot of grass hay. 

And we made hay all over the place. Dad's two farms are used for grazing and growing corn, so he rents hay ground. Our agreement while we were farming with him was that we would all help with the hay making and then split the harvest.

Since there were hay fields everywhere, a large part of haymaking was hauling the hay home.

One evening during our first summer farming, Dad and Glen were hauling hay home from a farm several miles away. I was at home milking, so I didn't actually experience what happened that night; I got to hear about it later.

Dad and Glen were both pulling loads of hay with their trucks. Glen was following Dad down a gravel road after dark. Glen wasn't driving very fast because the hay wagon he was pulling didn't like high speeds. That was a good thing.

All of a sudden, there in the dusty beams of the truck's headlights, right in the middle of the road, was a horse. Glen hit the brakes and slowed down as fast as he dared, sounding the horn the entire time.

Almost like a deer caught in the headlights, the horse stayed in the middle of the road, pivoting around and around in circles.

Smack! The truck hit the horse. Glen said later that he figured the horse would do less damage then the ditch.

But it still did plenty of damage. The front corner of the truck was pretty mangled. The horse hobbled off the road after the collision and Glen proceeded home.

Since we didn't have cell phones at the time, Glen had to wait until he got home to call the sheriff and report the accident.

I'll never forget that phone call. Dad, his girlfriend, Glen and I were sitting at the counter in the kitchen when Glen made the call.

"I'd like to report an accident," Glen told the dispatcher.

"Okay, what happened, sir?" asked the dispatcher.

"I hit a horse on the road," Glen stated.

"You hit a what?" the dispatcher asked.

"A horse," Glen said.

"A what?" the dispatcher asked.

"A horse!" Glen said a little louder.

"A what?" the dispatcher asked again.

"A horse! Like Mr. Ed, the Talking Horse!" Glen barked into the phone.

By that point, it was all the rest of us could do to keep our laughter silent.

"Sir, is this a prank?" the dispatcher asked.

"No!" Glen said emphatically.

There was a pause in the conversation, then:

"Is the horse okay, sir?" the dispatcher asked.

"Yes, the horse is okay! It hobbled off! But my truck's not!" 

We couldn't contain the laughter any longer. I had to go into the other room, so I don't remember how the call ended. But Glen did manage to get a report filed.

The next morning we called our insurance company and the horse's owner. It turned out the horse's owner didn't have any insurance. He actually offered to pay our deductible if we would report the collision as a deer hit.

Our insurance company – the one with the perky gal in the commercials – didn't really like the fact that the horse's owner didn't have insurance. And, of course, the adjuster didn't think the damage was as bad as the body shop thought it was. By the time the truck was finally fixed, we were ready to switch insurance companies.

We heard later that the horse didn't sustain any injuries in the accident and that the horse's owner had decided to actually plug the electric fencer in.

Nobody ever did ask Glen if he was okay.

Sadie and her husband, Glen, milk 70 cows near Melrose, Minn. They have two children – Dan, 3, and Monika, 1. When she’s not parenting or farming, she’s writing for the Dairy Star. Sadie can be reached at gsfrericks@meltel.net.