WRANGLING ON THE RANGE #17
What a glorious warm and sunny day was Friday, May 29th.
Wonderful blue sky with puffy white clouds here and there.
Leaving the west edge of the city where I live and about 2 miles
out, the Rockies seem to half moon you, and in reality they do as
the Rockies go South-East as you travel West, so they are in
front of you but also wrap around to the South and East of you.
Snow is still on them, indicating we have indeed had a very late
Spring, actually does not seem like we have had a Spring, just
gone from winter into summer. All the budding trees and bushes
are at least a month late, many only in the budding stage; yet
one more week will see them all leafed out, but that is a month
later than usual.
I stopped at the Vet office in to pick up Goldie's second yearly shot.
Also very near by is the "tack and feed" store, picked up a bag of protein
There was nothing booked until 2 pm. A "family and friends"
group, some going on a wagon ride and some on a trail ride.
Brought Goldie in to barn two, nice and cool in that barn as it
is insulated. Was setting about getting the mash ready for Goldie
when there was, "High Keith," from the staff room. It was Jane (I
saw her car outside so knew she was somewhere around). Jane is
about 23 years old and goes to University, across the water (about an
hours ferry ride) from Vancouver, B.C. She comes and works with Betty's Summer Camp for Kids; been doing it for about 9 years now, 3 or 4 years before I got associated with the Ranch. Jane is a star Basketball Player. She's 6'2" tall, maybe a few inches taller than our tall Moreen, Bob's girl-
friend. And Tom, his girl-friend is 5'10" - so we have 3 tall girls out at the Ranch right now.
"Well how are you Jane? Did you have a good year at
University and Basketball," I answered and inquired from her.
"Yes, I had a very fine year in both areas," Jane replied.
"I hear from Paul (Betty's 's right had man) that you may be
going to the USA for 3 weeks playing Basketball."
"Well, actually only about a week, but I may be going over
to Europe to play for 3 weeks. I think I may know over the week-
I was not yet at the barn office, so we were speaking in
high volume, through the wall and door (which was open).
When I got to the office Jane was busy painting; it sure
needed to be freshened up, the white walls were not very white
"Wow, you're doing a fine job there Jane, that sure
brightens the office up," was my encouraging words to her.
"Thanks Keith, yes it was needed, a fresh paint job."
"Is there a ride today," Jane inquired.
"Yes, but not until 2 pm," I answered.
"Do you think the boys will need an extra out-rider," Jane
"Could well be," I said, "as there is supposed to be 10
"I bring Goldie over here to this barn, it is cooler and she
likes it here, as you know, we ran the summer camp out of this
barn for the last two years. But she does enjoy the box stall at
the main barn, so she can push the door open with her nose. She
thinks that's a fine game to play, especially with the door opening
"Ya, I know, you trained her good on that one."
"She actually caught on right away, when I pushed her nose
against the door and it swung open. She thought that was pretty
cool. If horses could only express themselves like children,
Goldie would have been jumping for joy and saying, 'Oh come on
let's do that again, and again, that's fun.'"
"Yes, she sure does like doing that trick," Jane responded.
"I better get her fed and brushed and combed out. So I'll
talk to you later Jane." And with that I set about doing just
that, getting Goldie looking super fine.
I took her over to the main barn and put her in a box stall.
Tom said hello to me and introduced a young guy by the name of
Joe, who was obviously Indian.
"Pleased to me you Joe," I said as we shook hands.
Is Joe going to be with us through the coming summer," I
inquired from Tom.
"Yes, I'm sure he will be," Tom replied.
Joe was quiet and said nothing, I could tell he was the
"shy" type, but nice.
"I haven't seen the guy and gal from Australia lately Tom."
"No, he decided to go and do the "rodeo" stuff," he answered.
The outdoor arena needed to be smoothed out some, ready for
the kids summer camp. I jumped into the Bobcat, put on the front
bucket I thought would do the best job, but had forgotten that
when I lift up the front sitting arm that comes across your body
there is a black button you must press to get it in gear and to
move. I was wondering why it would not backup or go forward (I'd
just been out of the drivers seat to push the locking bars into
place on the bucket). I was getting a little frustrated, and was
going to called out for Jane, as she was nearby and I knew should
would remember what I'd forgotten over the winter. Then it came
to me, the little black button Keith, you've forgotten to press
it. Problem solved and I headed off to the outdoor arena. I was
not down there that long when John rode up on a horse.
"Keith, we will bring down the big tractor and put the harrows on
and get the arena level," Bob told me.
"Oh, that's good, okay I'll head back," I replied.
The large group for 2 pm arrived about 1:45. It was a convoy
of cars and vans as they all came following each other. It turned
out that only 5 instead of the original 10, wanted to horse trail
We got them up and I led out on Goldie, of course she did
her thing with the nose door pushing of the box stall, to her
smiling pleasure if she could smile.
I was at first going to do the same route as the wagon rides
(Tom and his Dad had decided to hitch up two wagons, easier work
for two pair of horses instead on one pair), but within a few
hundred yards I said, "Would you all like to see some super view
"Yes indeed, we would," was the reply from all 5 of our
"All right I'll change my mind as to the trail I was going
to take you on."
I led then to the left and into another range.
We climbed up the hill through some tree line, with out back
to the Canadian Rockies, it is only when you get to the top and
turn to face the West that you are breath-taken by the view. You
see the Ranch valley from south to north, below you, now
in its full green pasture ranges. You see some tree lined
foothills on the other side of the valley, and then above it all
you have this spectacular scene from north to south of the
Canadian Rockies. With a lovely blue sky and puffy white clouds
floating above the Rockies, you really think you are in paradise.
A cowboy's heaven if there ever was one.
Bob and his girl-friend Moreen were out-riders and they then
took some photos for the 5 riders to cherish.
The group of adults were from different parts of Canada,
from Nova Scotia, Ontario and British Columbia. They had all
arrived just this day, Friday, and were here to celebrate the
wedding of a couple in the group. The wedding was over the next
few days, well the partying would I'm sure be a few days or more.
"We are going to head down now, and I shall take you down
hill, not the way I brought you up, so legs a little forward,
heels down, and lean back some," I instructed our little group of
riders. And I do take people down a certain way that is a little nerve-
racking in the slope of it all, but no one has ever complained. I
think they think it is fun going down-hill nice and slow, but
certainly knowing it is down-hill. The horses are all used to it
and go very carefully, little steps at a time. It's not really
dangerous, don't get me wrong, dangerous is something we NEVER do
with our riders.
All had great fun, and everyone was very happy and thanked
us, when we got back to the barn.
"Is there any more riders coming?" I asked Bob.
"No that's it for today Keith," was the reply.
"Okay, then Goldie and I are going out on "Fox trail" for a
few hours. I've got my little axe tied to the saddle, as I need
to cut a few fallen branches from the trail."
"Thanks Keith, for all your help today," Bob replied.
As I've stated before, the boys are really nice young men,
very polite and it seems so are all their relatives, cousins and
For the last number of times with Goldie, she has been
itching for me to let her loose in a run. It is like Roy Rogers
once said about Trigger (the original Trigger), you can feel as
you move along the trail, you have a real athlete under you.
Goldie and I moved through the north valley and through
another gate that led into "crown land" and down hill into the
next valley. We moved along through this valley, me singing my
Roy Rogers and Sons of the Pioneers cowboy songs, which I think
Goldie must know by heart by now, she's heard them that many
times. We went passed the Texas gate and then to what I call the
"race track" - which is a flat grassy straight-away with a slight
left curve, about 1/4 of a mile long. Yes Goldie was getting
excited, she picked up the pace, she knew I often let her fly
this 1/4 mile stretch.
"Are you ready girl," I asked her. She bounced up and down,
to tell me she was ready.
Let's do it then girl, let's go!!
Goldie moved swiftly into a few step lopes, then into her
gallop. I gave full slack to the reins.
Goldie was off, like on the race track.
"Oh 30 miles an hour girl ... now ... 35 ... now 37 ... go
for it girl ... WOW ... 38 miles an hour. WUPPPEEE!"
Goldie came around the slight bend, she waited to see if I
would still let her fly. I kept the reins loose.
"Okay, all the way girl."
Goldie picked up gear once more for the final stretch home,
just like she had a dozen horses she was racing against.
What a thrill!!
Your probably wondering what is this crazy man doing at just
about 67 years of age, galloping as if on the race track. I must
admit few would even want to do this, especially if in their 60s.
But I've always been a fast speed junky in certain ways. I was
the Inter-School champion in my age group all through grade one
to twelve, in the 100 and 220 yard dash, only lost one race in
all those years. So it was natural for me when starting to ride
horses at age 16 that I would want to ride "fast ones." And I
sure have over the years, and with Goldie ... well I can again.
You bet I hang on to the saddle horn today, when I did not have
to as a young guy. But I still get as much "rush" out of it all
as Goldie does. Running at that speed on a golden Palomino with
long white mane blowing up at you, is as great a spectacle in the
physical world as you can get, well for me it is, for me it sure is.
The same can be said of "show jumping" and the "three day
event" - there is something about jumping and cross country
event in the three day event in the horse competitions. There is
something about jumping that is special, for people like me that
is. Certainly not all people into horses want to do what I like
to do, but for me the rush comes from a fast run or doing jumps.
I feel real blessed in so many ways from the Lord. I have been
able to keep myself in good physical shape all my life. I've had to
work on keeping weight off after I got over 40 years old. I can't
do the things I once could with horses like riding bare-back, and
certainly not trick-riding; those days have long gone. But I
appreciate what I can still do. It is a blessing to have a horse
like Goldie, super looks, intelligent, and talented. I am in my
older years most blessed in this physical side of my life.
Now, I have to believe the Lord has granted me this physical
blessing. I have to have faith He will be with me, grant me
protection. I must not take silly chances with my horse riding
and tempt the Lord. I have faith God wants me to still do much
for Him in His work, yet He desires also I have some pleasure and
fun with some of the abilities and talents He has given me. And
with those abilities I try to give back to people what the Father
has graciously given to me in my lifetime. And we should all be
doing what we can and with what God has given us to do with, to
serve others in our corner of the world.
I cut down some tree branches that had fallen over the trail
during the winter time, and headed back to the barn. Everything
was now closed up, the horses out on the range, and just Goldie
and I. I brought Goldie a handful or two of oats and decided it
was a good time to wash her mane. It had become somewhat dirty
over the winter months, and it was not the snow white that I know
it is when it is clean. That done, she was now itching to go and
join her friends out on the range. I let her go to join them.
I was thirsty like a desert. I had drunk all I brought with
me, so before I left the Ranch I called on Paul and asked if I
could have a nice long drink of water. He invited me in and we
chit-chatted for a while. I asked him if he had John's phone
number, which he had and gave to me. Now John is a farrier, and
has shod the horse's feet when they were under Betty's control for
the summer camp (now it's the boys responsibility to look after
the horses feet and who they bring in to do the farrier work).
Paul told me John did his horse's feet all way around with brand
new shoes, for $100.
"That included coming out here and also the brand new
shoes?" I asked Paul.
"Yes, all of that," Paul responded.
He could see I was pleasantly surprised.
"I thought that was a lot, one hundred dollars," Paul said.
"Not really," I answered, "I know one farrier who charges
$120 and that does not include the shoes."
So with John's phone number in hand I said goodbye to Paul,
and headed for home. Along the way I thought I better call John
to make arrangements for him to come to shoe Goldie. I pulled
over to the side of the road and called him on his cell phone. We
exchanged pleasant "good to talk to you again" greetings (it had
been may months since we last talked). John said he would call
me during the week and see what day and time he could set up with
me and the boys at the Ranch, to shoe Goldie.
With that it had been a long day, and I was happy to get
home, take a hot shower and look forward to the coming of the
Sabbath and also Pentecost Sunday. A double Sabbath, a double
blessing this week-end of the last two days of May 2009.
To be continued