WRANGLING ON THE RANGE #12
It was a beautiful sunny and warm day the 3rd of May. I
stopped on the way out to the Ranch at the small "Business and
Trade Show" being held in Cochrane. The boys and Betty (who runs
the summer camp for the children) had a booth there. Betty, Paul,
and a couple of the young ladies were there. I had not seen or
talked to Betty for a number of months, so it was good to see her
and have a chit-chat. About noon I pushed off to the Ranch.
Though it was a warm sunny day not that many people were
booked to come and trail ride. By the time I fed Goldie, brushed
her down, and saddle her up, there was a young couple ready to
ride out. Bob asked me if I would get them on their way, which I
said it would be a pleasure to do so.
They were from the nearby town and University, he was taking "accounting" and she was taking "business administration."
We got through the first gate and I tried to then let them
go on their own, but the horses they were on did not want to have
me and Godlie stay behind. The couple had obviously not dome much
horse-back riding. They had dome some Mule riding way down in
Mexico and it had not been a nice experience, the way the Mules
had been handled and the condition they looked to be in, which to
them did not appear very good.
I got them through the next gate, and told them they should
now be okay as the horses knew the trail and it led back home to
the barn. I headed back. And yes they were fine from that point
on. When I got back to the barn I could see them coming over the
range I expected on their route home.
The Farrier and his partner were at the Ranch today,
working away at getting many of the horses shod. Most of them
only need to be shod on the front feet (most of the weight of a
horse, saddle and rider is on the front feet) and out trails are
I asked the farrier what he would charge to shoe my horse all the
way around. He told me $100 and I asked him to do it next time he
was out to finish shoeing the Ranch horses.
Sam and Kate from the summer camp (they've worked for
Betty a number of years now in the camp) were out in the
afternoon, to ride some of the horses used in the camp, getting
them back in the saddle, the horses that is, a number of the
horses and ponies don't get used very much until the camp starts
in July, so they need to be "warmed up" so to speak before July
and the kids get on them.
Sam, he's about 14, a small lad, jockey type, so he rides
the ponies. Kate is about 30 years old, has one daughter, 6
years old, that comes with her on many of the days during the
summer months, when her Mom is working in the camp. Actually
Kate is my partner in teaching the "pony" kids, they are the
8,9,10 year old children that ride the ponies. We work as a fine
team, and know each other's stress points so well, that we
automatically take turns in leading. When you have 15 or so young
kids who have, most of them, never been on a pony before, it can
get pretty stressful. So I appreciate Kate and she appreciates
me. Yes we work as a good team.
Sam had a friend with him today, who is going to work in
the Restaurant during the two summer months. His name is Len. He
has not done that much horse riding. But we put him on a horse
and the four of us headed out on the trail. Kate wanted to ride
on the Indian Reservation as she had never done so. We headed
West and did the hour long ride, there are more trails out on the
Reservation which go much longer than an hour, but an hour was
all anyone had time for today.
Along the trail Kate asked, "Keith, do you every ride
"I have a little, but only no more than a trot," I replied.
"I would think the trot would be the hardest," inquired
"Well, yes, in some ways, but the main problem is that when
you get older like me, as you get older you loose your sense of
balance, and riding bare-back is all to do with balance, yes a
certain amount of leg strength, but it is balance mainly. I used
to ride a lot bare-back when I was your age and younger,
galloping, turning, everything, I could do bare-back. But not any
Kate seemed resigned to my answer, but when you are young,
it can be hard to put yourself into the shoes of someone my age,
someone in their 60s, that's a long way off when you are only 30
years old. I'm sure the younger ones don't think of me as being
in my 60s as I can in the saddle ride Goldie very fast when I
open her up, like a race horse she is, and people in their 60s do
not tend to want to ride race horses.
We finished up at the Ranch, turned out the horses onto the
Range, mucked out the barn, and I headed home to a nice hot
To be continued