WRANGLING ON THE RANGE #21
It was a warm and sunny Sunday, June 14th. And it was
relatively quiet at the Ranch. Some "members" out riding the
trails, and only one "guided" ride to leave at 1 p.m.
I saddled up and took Goldie over to the jump arena to tamp
down the soil by walking over it where the jumps are. It's
getting to be a firmer bed of soil, but still needs more work
before I'm ready to canter Goldie over the jumps.
The 1 p.m. people came and it turned out to be 5 children
and one adult in all. Moreen (our shorter Moreen) showed up and
said hello and informed me she would be coming as outrider for
the group I was leading out.
"I'll do the short valley 'Fox trail' I told Moreen, "as I'm
pretty sure the West trail will be very muddy, after the rain and
hail that apparently came yesterday."
"Oh, that is true, I and others did it yesterday evening and
it was very muddy in parts," was Moreen's reply to me, with my
decision to not do the West tree line trail.
Goldie was good for about 25 minutes of the hour ride, and
then the slow pace just got to her, which it seems to do these
days more and more. She starts to get impatient, throws her head
up and down, and just simply tells me she's had enough of the
"Moreen, please come and lead on your horse," I called out
to her, "My horse needs me to move her up and down the line, she
can only stand this slow pace in the lead for so long."
Moreen came into the lead on her quiet plod-along horse, a
nice horse for leading a slow line of ponies and one slow horse
(the adult was on). Now I could move Goldie up and down the line,
back and forth, giving her some faster movement, which she
enjoys. Goldie would make a great "cutting horse" if trained,
she'd love that quick on your toes cutting out a cow from the
group. She's one of those horses that has to have her mind and
body doing interesting things with some quickness involved,
remember I've told you she would also love to be on the race
One little girl riding one of our small black ponies, did
real well. It was her first time ever on a pony.
"You mean you've never ever ridden a pony before," I asked
"That's right, this is the first time I've been on a pony."
"Well you sure have done well; for your first time ever," I
said praising her.
We were close to returning and I thought I might wash down
Goldie, and get her mane back to pure snow white, but the dark
looking thunder/rain clouds were coming in, and a good down-pour
of rain looked as if it was going to be soon upon us. I decided
Goldie's suds bath would have to be for another day.
Betty caught me getting Goldie ready to send out with the
"Keith, would you be kind enough to take these two ponies
back down to the pony corral," asked Betty.
"Yes sure, that's no problem," I replied, and off I went
with the two little ponies. When I got to the pony corral I saw
that the hay needed to be "pushed up" to the eating fence, it was
too far back for them to now reach. We always leave a fork or two
down at the pony corral, just for that purpose. It was about 15
minutes work, as we have three hay eating fences for the ponies.
When you have a dozen or so ponies you have to spread out the
hay, or the bossy ones will keep the timid ones away from the
hay. In any group of horses or ponies you have a pecking order,
ones at the top and ones at the bottom, and others inbetween.
I turned Goldie out to join the rest of the herd, that the
boys had just set free to go onto the now very green ranges on
With that done, there was one more thing to do and that was
clean the one side of barn number two, where I now put Goldie
when saddling and un-saddling. Betty has been keeping the other
side very clean after she finishes with her pony class, teaching
three or four small children, over the week-ends until the summer
camp starts in full swing come July. The stalls in that barn are
down the center with about a 6 foot cement walk way to the back
of the stalls all the way down, which is maybe 150 feet in
length. We use the "bobcat" with a half truck tire on a plate
that goes on the front of the bobcat. We lower the tire down so
it is just touching the floor, and we "muck-out" by pushing the
tire down the walk way on both sides. Of course we have
previously "pulled out" the horse droppings from the stalls into
the walk ways. It's a pretty quick way of cleaning this barn,
especially when you consider that in the summer camp we could
have as many as 40 horses down each side of the center stalls.
These stalls are separated with a raised walk-way, which allows
us to walk the full length of the stalls and give the horses
(then on our left and right) their oats in a half car tire in
front of them as they stand in the stall. When the camp is in,
the horses and ponies get oats before the day begins and at the
end of the day. For people who have never worked in this kind of
barn with all the horses and ponies, that could add up to 90,
they get a smile when we bring out the "oat" containers, as the
horses will start to "neigh" their high-pitched whinnying and
some stamp their right or left hoof on the floor of their stall.
It's time for their daily "chocolate bar" we might say, and they
let us know they are eager to have it.
The thunder and rain storm did arrive and lasted for about
half an hour.
With everything good and tidey in barn two, it was time to
pack up my things and I was homeward bound.
To be continued