The Right Truck

My horse-crazed daughter, Jamie, insists it's time for a new truck. I'm not so sure: "What's wrong with the one we have?" "Oh, not much Dad. Just the transmission, brakes, and differentials are about gone." "Aren't you being a little fussy?" "Yeah and so was the guy on the freeway who had to dodge our muffler when it fell off last week." "People are so impatient these days." "I'm just worried about the horses. And getting arrested." Fine. I'll buy her a truck. A red one. Of course a red one won't be enough for Jamie. She wants a one ton with a full-floating axle and plenty of gussets at the cross members. And a gooseneck receiver on a long bed. "We don't want the trailer kissing the cab on tight turns, Dad." "That would be inappropriate." "And we need at least a 6.2 liter with an automatic tranny that'll lockup its torque converter in third gear." The girl has full ton dreams and I have a half ton budget. Maybe she would settle for a blue one. Actually, I understand her wanting more power. I've experienced the sinking feeling that comes with losing speed on an incline despite having the pedal glued to the floor. It's not pleasant knowing that your entire future is dependant on the geography in front of you. That is, knowing that if the road doesn't stop going up, the truck and trailer will. So while I don't want to spend a lot of money, I do want to get the right truck. At the very least, I don't want a vehicle I have to fix all the time. Because, well, I don't know how. And I have no desire to learn. We've had our share of trucks that needed constant repair but didn't get it. The most fascinating was a 1986 F-150 that honked by itself. The horn just went off whenever it felt like it. I don't know why. It would do this at the most inopportune moment, like the time we were leaving early from a dressage show during a pas de deux that included a pair of nervous stallions. I've seen people deal with errant horns by popping the hood and yanking on a wire or two, but I was afraid if I did something like that the tires fall off or worse. Jamie won't be easy to fool. The problem is that she knows too much - despite her college education. Of course, it's not unusual for horsewomen to know a lot about trucks these days. Trucks and horses go together like satellite dishes and TV's. One makes the other much more interesting to own. At any given gathering of horsewomen, there is bound to be as much conversation about horsepower and gear ratios as there is about horse feed and riding gear For dedicated horse gals, the search for Mr. Right has become secondary to the search for The Right Truck. In fact, given the dependability and performance of today's trucks, Mr. Right may not even be necessary. He's sort of like optional equipment. "Sure, sweetie, you can come along. But you have to ride in the cub cab. You know my Stubben saddle always goes in front with me." This is precisely why I don't want to buy an expensive, super-reliable truck for my daughter. I want Jamie to find Mr. Right. Then he can buy The Right Truck. And The Right Horse. And The Right Saddle. All of it. Jamie just needs to find something sturdy and hard working. And after the wedding, they can get their super-duper, beefed-up monster with a gas guzzling power stroking steroidal engine capable of pulling a house. And I will ride in the cub cab.