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Wrangling on the Range #11

Some horses like to follow and not Lead

                        WRANGLING ON THE RANGE #11

     The 1st of May, a warm sunny Friday of 2009. Driving out to
the Ranch was spectacular this day. The Canadian Rockies were
more covered with snow (obviously it had snowed a lot in the
Rockies over the last week) than I had seen them all winter. The
sky was clear blue behind them, and it was the best sight I had
seen them in for months, truly awesome and inspiring, even the
saddle-horn peak had a little snow on it, which it seldom ever

     The boys had brought in the horses but none of them were
saddled. In fact it was all very quiet, the cars were gone, and
the boys were no where to be seen. I then remembered they were
probably in the small town nearby, setting up their display
for the week-end, as the town is having its "Trade Week-end Show"
- small businesses have a booth and display what they do.
     I brought in Godlie, gave her the special mash, and was
walking back to the car to bring in the sack of "sweet-feed" I
had bought at the tack and feed store - on the way out, when I saw 
the Aussie young man.
     "Good day," I called out to him, "Sorry but I've forgotten
your name."
     "Ya hi, I'm Tim," he replied in his Aussie accent. We shook
hands and I asked him where the boys were. 
     "Oh, Tom and Bob are in town setting up for the week-end
     "I thought so, as I see their cars are not here."
     We talked some small talk and then we both went to do what
we were crossing paths to do.

     I brushed Goldie down with the "shedding" comb, lots of
winter hair coming off now, probably will all be gone by the
middle of May. Combed out her mane and tail. By the time I was
finished she had eaten her mash so I gave her some hay cubes,
which she also eagerly munched away on.
     Going back to the barn office I noticed on the white board
that a couple were coming at 1 p.m. And a Father and daughter at
3 p.m. - unguided rides, they were members, but that did not seem
to matter much any more, as the boys were selling memberships to
just about anyone.

     I worked with Goldie on the lessons I'm teaching her, side-
step, bow, high-front-leg walk, and a new one, the spreading of
the front legs forward, like a cat does when it stretches. 

     Tom and Bob arrived back from town, and soon the 1 p.m.
couple had arrived. I helped the boys bring in the four horses
needed for the afternoon people.

     The couple for the 1 p.m. ride were soon on their way. I got
Goldie ready for out afternoon ride. I was just leaving when the
man came back on his horse to the barn.
     "Your back already," I said.
     "Well my girlfriend's horse decided to stop and not move,"
he told me. And at that time I saw his girlfriend nearing the
barn on her horse.
     "Okay, I'll lead you out and get you going," I told the two
of them.

     On our way we went. I found out his name was Bill and her
name was Ashley. 
     "Were you heading up the "Scenic Trail," I enquired.
     "Yes," Bill answered.

     The told me what work they did in town. Bill was with the
surveying team for an oil and gas company, and Ashley was with an
environment company besides going to tech school, taking geology.
     We arrived at the spot of the Scenic Trail that goes
gradually up and around and back down the hill in front of us. 
     "Bill you lead on your horse and hopefully Ashley's horse
will follow. I'll drop back and let you both go on."

     The couple did okay for about 30 feet, but Bill's horse then
stopped and just did not want to go, did not want to lead. I rode
up and we tried it all over once more. In much less than 30 feet
it was the same problem. 
     "It looks like I'm going to have to come with you and lead
the way. I guess your horses just do not want to go without my
horse leading. And so we all resigned ourselves that it had to be
this way, at least for this day.

     It was a lovely ride up the small mountain and back down.
The sun was warm, no wild, so very pleasant indeed. We talked
about animals, horses. Bill and Ashley had questions about
breaking horses and I gave them a little information. We talked
about the Ranch, that it was 4,500 acres but we had at
least 10,000 acres we could ride on, when we include "crown" land
and Indian land that we are allowed to use for trail rides. We
talked about dogs, their dog and my dog (that has now been dead
for nearly four years; Puff was her name, a delightful Toy Poodle
that lived till she was 18). 
     "You know," I said to them, "if I had 10 acres I'd probably
have to rescue all the dogs and cats that people turn in because
they do not want them."
     They knew exactly what I meant, but added that some dogs are
turned in because they are not children friendly or have other
problems, which I agreed with.

     We arrived back, and the couple said they enjoyed
themselves. I told Bob neither horse the couple were on would
lead out. 
     "Now, that is strange, Bill's horse we use for roping," Bob
told me.
     The roping Bob talks about is not the calf roping you see
at Rodeos, and there is a big difference in a horse roping as the
boys do, and a horse leading a string of horses on the trail. And
the two horses the couple were riding, I know from the kids
summer horse/pony camp are not lead horses, but following trail
horses. Some horses simply get used to a certain routine on a
trail ride, and many are not lead horses. Now Goldie is whatever
you want her to be, lead, middle, side, tail-end horse. She can
do it all, and is quite happy. But some horses are only happy if
they lead or follow. It's just the nature of whatever horse, they
are all different, and all have different abilities, some more,
some less.
     I told the couple about one of the real life race horse
movies I have. The horse is injured and laid up for some time.
The little girl in the movie, in one evening scene comes and
feeds the horse chocolate cake. In making the movie the horse
acting as the race horse, would do the race scenes but would not
eat chocolate cake, so they had to find a horse that would eat
chocolate cake for that scene. You only saw its head so you did
not know it was not the same horse. All of this is told to you in
the "special feature" stuff they have on the DVD when you buy the

     I did a little more "trick" training with Goldie before I
turned her out to join the herd on the range that the boys had
already sent out. She is not as attentive when the herd has gone,
she naturally want to be with them, so I did not push the matter,
and I let her go to be with her friends.

     It was a nice drive back in the warm sun, how we have all
waited patiently for Spring to finally arrive.


To be continued

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