WRANGLING ON THE RANGE #30
It was a very pleasant Sunday before camp 5 started on
Monday. I arrived at the Ranch about 3 pm and unpacked my kit and
my food into the fridge and one of the kitchen cupboards. The
walk area where the box stalls are needed to be cleaned, so that
kept me busy for 45 minutes or so. I took a 7 pm trail ride out,
got back and filled the horse water trough with good cold well
water. I then put out a salt block, read from one of the horse
magazines for a while, and called it a day.
Monday was blue skies with 80 F temperature. This weeks camp
is 41 children and 18 "Cool School" kids from 13 to 18, all
girls. Kate and I had 8 children in the pony group this week,
with various helpers from the Cool School group, young ladies in
training they are, training to be eventual leaders, the next step
up for them is moving into "volunteer helpers" and then finally
junior paid staff.
The pony kids were very good again this week, caught on
quickly, hence moved right along with the basics.
In the evening it was time to take Goldie out for a work-
out, a trail ride which includes a very steep climb up the side
of a hill. None of the other horses ever do this climb, too hard
on them, unless you are a strong athlete like Goldie.
At 9 am on Tuesday morning went on a good "lope" or canter
ride with Paul on his Mare that gave him trouble a week back. She
did very nicely. I could see Paul was pleased and had much more
confidence in her and himself.
Continuing with Tuesday; the skies had heavy rain clouds but
they skirted by and we were dry. Pony kids did well turning and
circles and figure eights, all at a walk of course. In the
afternoon we went West on a trail ride, but turned around and
came back as the black clouds rolled in and it looked like a good
down-pour was going to soak us through. Passing the barn we
headed North into a better looking sky above.
The Cool School youngsters did riding drills from 4 to 6 pm
in the outdoor arena. I went on the two hour Fox trail with
Goldie. We got to the race track 1/4 section but she let me know
(by stopping and wanting to turn around) that she was not
interested in any shooting like a bullet this evening. So I
dismounted and walked the track with her this time just so she
knows not to think I will desire to fly each time we come this
way. You have to be flexible at times and not "sour" a horse
about anything. Some horses can be pretty consistent but others
have good days and not so good days, probably in today's world
that is a good reason we have not had a "Triple Crown" winner in
.... I think it is 30 years or thereabouts.
Wednesday it was nice and sunny all day. Trail rides were
good as was practicing for the Friday show, doing the Pony Dance
drill and trotting races. In the evening I took Goldie to jump
the fences. Made the mistake of not warming her up with cantering
figure eights, and so until I did she did not want to jump.
Warmed her up and then she jumped them all - clear round. I was
pleased. Of course we are not doing any high jumps, the highest being
about 3 to 3 and 1/2 feet. I do not get the time to work with her
on a steady basis, so it is hard to develop her more than that
height. With what little time I can devote to jumping that height
with her she seems quite content and happy.
Thursday. I did the morning "hold-up" as usual. This is
where I dress in black, with a black hat and black mask, and
pretend I'm the "black Robin Hood" of the wild west; I jump on
the bus coming in and threaten to take their lunches and pocket
money for my merry men, after all they need food and money for
chocolate bars. I ask them a few horse questions and have them
tell me which leaders I should take to be part of my merry men.
Usually they have a leader or two they desire to get rid of, in fun,
and most all point and call out the leaders' name. A few times in the
past 5 years I've had a young one start to cry, thinking it was a
real hold up, but a leader gets in real quick to tell them it's
all a play joke.
Kate and I took the pony group to the big outdoor tire
arena and they practiced the Pony Dance, then I demonstrated
jumping, but she was not happy till I gave her more speed, then
she jumped them all, a clear round.
In the evening Paul asked if I would come along with him and
his 5 young lady students; this was their third lesson at two
hours a lesson. He wanted to have them lope or canter this time.
We took a trail that has many areas to lope. The young ladies did
very well. Goldie this evening was wanting to be on the race track,
a slow canter was not near fast enough for her, so she got herself
all worked up into a sweat, but as she led on the way back with mostly
her speed of walk she settled down and enjoyed it.
I was invited to the bunk house where the girls were
staying, for the evening meal of "beef roast" - beans - potatoes -
salad .... it was all done superbly, and was a treat indeed.
After eating the girls were given an 18 question test. The
questions were given verbally, the girls wrote them down and then
had 1 hour and 40 minutes to answer them. You could hear a pin
drop and pen hands just working away. One girl handed her paper
in within five minutes; she was either writing in short hand
(which is not taught today) or she was not interested in going
any further in any serious way with this horse and pony camp. A
couple of girls did take the whole hour and forty minutes to
answer the questions. It was 10 pm and time to call it a day for
Friday. Rained in the night but was sunny and warm during
the day. There was a great turn-out of parents and relatives etc.
to watch the afternoon show by the children on their horses and
ponies. My singing voice was only half there, and way down low,
so my Roy Rogers act at noon had to be revamped some; I read a
lot from a cowboy book I have that gives all kinds of "goodies"
from the cowboy world of the late 19th century and into the early
part of the 20th century. Things like "The cowboy lingo for the
horn on the saddle" when grabbing it (i.e. "pulling leather"
"squeezing Jane"). Real names of some cowboy horses like "Rubber
Lips" - "Apron Face" - "Molasses Mouth" - "Big Henry" - "Snortin'
Sam." Many other things are covered in this book about the world
of the old original cowboys.
The Family ride went without a hitch, everyone enjoyed.
Goldie did her leading and a fine job of it she did. I had given
her hay cubes throughout the day and so she needed not to be
trying to grab a mouthful of grass every ten feet. She kept her
head up, walked a good speed and brought us all back in a good
The day and week of camp was over again. I put away my
electronics and speakers etc. that I use for the noon show. And
it was 6 pm and time to head back to for a nice Sabbath rest.
With weeks like this, wow, you really appreciate the Sabbath day.
Next week the camp (starting Monday August 3rd) is only 30
children in it. So it will give a little breather for us and some
of the horses, the older ones especially.
To be continued