WRANGLING ON THE RANGE
Sunday was a sunny pleasant day out at the Ranch. Some
members were out, including a few ladies that I had recommended
they ride a certain horse - he's a steady smooth as butter trot on
him. I rode him all the second summer long that I was associated
with the Ranch. He was only green broke and so I take the
credit for training him to be the horse he is today. I wanted to
buy him after that second summer but the Ranch owner would not
sell him to me, and the next thing I knew, he had taken him up to his
home for his daughter. They had trouble catching him out in a
large area, so they finally brought him back to the trail riding
herd. By that time I had found and bought Goldie. Next to Goldie
he's my "special" at the Ranch. I've actually never ridden him since the
end of that second summer ... I think I must ride him again
sometime ... but probably will not until next summer at the
Our two big rides for the day were at 1 pm and 4 pm. Both of
those trail rides had 20 in total, adults and children. I led on
both rides. The first was out and onto the Indian reservation in
the west, and back on to the Ranch, a large circle. The second
ride was all on the Ranch, a large circle to the east. Both rides
were enjoyable. The second ride the 4 children on their ponies
were the first in line behind me. They were talkative children,
and kept themselves amused between each other. The outriders are
the ones who get to talk to the people, when your the lead you
only get to talk to the one behind you. All the persons on both
rides enjoyed themselves, so many I'm sure will be back.
Oh yes, nearly forgot an important part of that afternoon.
Betty had arranged for a young lady (paid for by her boyfriend)
to take another lesson (she had had a few already) and Betty
asked me during the week if I would take her out for an hour -
lesson and trail ride. I did not know the young lady was also
coming at 1 pm, so I suggested to Betty, when she arrived at the
Ranch, that Jennifer (the young lady) could ride in the trail
ride and then after the ride I would spend an hour with her
privately. Both Betty and Jennifer agreed that my suggestion was
great. So we did exactly that. Then I could help both sides - the
boys running the trail riding and Betty who has her little business
on the Ranch.
At the beginning of the private lesson with Jennifer, I used
the main outdoor arena and did some posting trotting, giving
Jennifer some tips and instruction on what she should be trying
to do. She was catching on nicely. Then we did some slow
cantering or loping as they call it in the Western circle of
riding. The horse I used for Jennifer is a small gelding horse -
a blue roan called "Taz." The horse is used in the summer camp,
so I knew Jennifer would be safe, but I really did not know much
else about the horse, as to how responsive it would be in a
private lesson. But I soon found out, and that horse choice of
mine hit the bulls eye. Taz and Jennifer matched perfectly. It is
so rewarding when you match up the abilities of a horse with the
ability of the rider, and in fact when both the horse and rider
are learning with each other. The trotting and cantering figures
I was doing are not in the summer camp. Taz had Goldie to follow
and of course that made it much easier. We then hit the trail
down into the valley, doing a lot of trotting and some cantering,
with instructions to Jennifer once more on sitting the canter,
deeper in the saddle, relaxing, sitting back some and just
thinking of sitting in a rocking chair. Jennifer had done some
"English" riding down East (where she was born and raised) in
fact only English riding. I pointed out the differences, which
she readily understood from even the feel of the Western saddle
from the English saddle, and from a looser rein on the bit from
the "constant mouth" contact in English riding.
She did real well and was very pleased with her progress
into Western riding, and was very pleased that Taz was the horse
she needed at this stage of Western riding. Needless to say I was
pleased that my choice of horse was right on the button, more of
luck than cold calculation (as far as responsiveness in taking it
up a step or two from the summer children's camp) but I will not
say no to some luck at times.
Those were the big events of my day. The Parade was
now just hours away. The horse called "Dopey" (no idea why he
got that name, and I've never asked) would be for the Fire Chief
Parade Marshal. We would put Dopey, Applejack (for another rider)
and Goldie, across the road from the main barn, in a paddock, for
the night. Tyler (a cousin to Tom) would come and tell me
later (after he spoke with Tom) as to what time in the morning
they would haul the 3 horses into the gathering/parade prepare
area in town.
I decided to re-watch one of the fine movies of Roy Rogers,
Dale Evans, and the Sons of the Pioneers, the name of the movie
"Roll on Texas Moon" made in 1946. It contains great songs, some
trick-riding, and a one jump into the stirrup by Roy that is a
left foot into the left stirrup and then a swing over Trigger's neck
of the right leg into the right stirrup. Now, you horse people, think
about that; a hold of the saddle horn, a pull up to put the left
foot into the left stirrup and swinging the right leg over into
the right stirrup. Roy also did this in one other movie I have,
the name of which escapes me at present. Roy was a very fine
athlete in his younger to middle age life. He would have been 35
years old when he made "Roll on Texas Moon."
It was 10 pm; I had set my cell-phone alarm to sound at 6:30
am. The Parade did not start until 10:30 am. Tyler knocked at the
"Keith, I've talked to Tom, he wants to leave for at 6:45 am.
Would you bring in your horse and the other two and saddle them,
ready to leave at 6:45."
"Well, yes, I can do that. I will re-set my alarm to be up
and ready to leave at 6:45."
I did not ask why Tom needed to leave at 6:45 in the
morning, obviously there had to be good reasons. I figured
getting up, having breakfast, shaving, saddling three horses ...
I better set the alarm for 5 am.
And so it was. I was up and going at it from 5 am and we did
indeed leave at 6:45 for the Parade ground. It was a nice morning,
and it was going to be what the weather man/woman had said,
sunny with clouds, but not much above 60 F.
To be continued