Keith Hunt - Wrangling on the Range - Page Thirty- eight   Restitution of All Things

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Wrangling on the Range #38

Cochrane Town Labor Day Parade

                        WRANGLING ON THE RANGE #38


     The morning came early for me, up at 5 am. It was a mild
morning and the wind had subsided from the previous evening. The
stars were out, a few clouds here and there. I took my flashlight
to the pasture paddock where the 3 horses I needed to bring in
and saddle were staying for the night. It was not hard to find
Goldie and Applejack, they are best friends and were standing
together, Dopey was off by himself, but not too far away. I first
brought in Goldie and Applejack and then went back for Dopey. It
did not take me very long to saddle Applejack and Dopey, I even
had time to brush out their mane and tail. Goldie I brought over
to barn "B" where all her tack etc. is kept. I gave all three of
them the sweet-feed I give Goldie. It took longer to get my horse
ready and put on my special roping saddle I turned into a silver
parade saddle (I spent the winter months doing the work, about 4
years ago). Goldie is shined up with "Show-shine" and her mane
and tail all looking as white as the white keys on a piano.
     I had breakfast, gathered my fancy Roy Rogers clothes with
fancy gun-belt and guns (only plastic guns as the Canadian laws
will not let you use the real thing), I had my fancy boots and
spurs (that really do jingle - made especially to do that), and
my snow white cowboy hat. Packed them in the car and headed out
behind Tom and Tyler pulling the horse trailer. Yes it was the time 
Tom wanted 6:45 and we were off to town.

     We were some of the first to arrive, but some indeed were
there before us, I think ones from out of town had arrived the
night before. We unloaded the 3 horses and tied them to the side
of the trailer. Tom and Tyler were off to do whatever it was they
had to do that early in the morning. I had to park my car across
the road in a car parking lot, so I dressed into my fancy duds in
the car. When I got back to the horses Betty had just pulled in
with her trailer and the other horses. There would be 6 of us
riding and Betty would be leading her tiny little pony all
dressed out in comical clothes. It sure looked cute and you could
tell it thought this was going to be real fun, and he would steel
the show. All Betty's riders pitched in and got the final touches
on the horses. Kate (the lady who works with me teaching the
pony group in the summer camp) did some tail braiding on some of
the horses. Before we knew it, they were calling everyone to be
ready for the line up out on to the road to start the parade. We
still had Dopey but no Fire Chief Marshall. It turned out he had
been looking for us but did not know where we were. Well they did
get hold of him on the cell-phone and he came dashing to us, he
was already up at the front of the parade with no horse. We got
him up on Dopey, but Dopey did not want to leave us, so Laurel
(Betty's neighbor) rode with him on her horse up to the start of
the parade line. Dopey must have gone okay from that point on as
we did not see him again until the end of the parade.

     We stood in line for about half an hour before the parade
actually started to move. It was longer than ever before, and I
would say about twice as many horses as other parade days.

     Debbie, the lady from whom I bought Goldie managed to find
me before the parade started moving. I told her where we were
stationed in the gathering area so after the parade she could
find me, so I could take a look at her silver saddle she wanted
to sell. From the photos she had sent me it looked super fine.

     Finally we were off, the parade had started! The first
people waiting to see the parade were about 1/4 of a mile away,
when I got there I turned Goldie around and had a walk backwards.
I do this with her for 40 feet or so. One of the officials came
out with a very concerned look on his face saying, "Do you need
help?" He thought my horse was acting up and I was having trouble
keeper her under control. I smiled and said, "I'm fine, I'm doing
this with her deliberately."
     I was purposely behind our group to do this with Goldie, I
had told our group I would be the last one so I could do some
things with Goldie. 
     We arrived at the main street of the town and it was packed
with people. The main street is perhaps 1/2 mile in length, at
each intersection it was overflowing with people. I had planned
this year to not only do some walking backwards and sidestepping
with Goldie but also now and again rope spinning. I just used a
small loop, but I went down low and to the back of Goldie on the
right side, came up over her head and neck and down low on the
left side. I did this routine 4 or 5 times in the whole 3
mile route of the parade. A few friends called out to me.
Interestingly I had two people in different parts of the parade
route call out and say "Your horse looks like Trigger." I called
back and said, "Yes, you remember Trigger, yes, she's a lot like
Trigger."

     The Parade was another success, longer than ever, more horses 
than ever, and more people than ever turned out to see it. Oh yes, 
directly behind me in the parade I had a fellow dressed up as Ronald McDonald the clown, and of course the kids just loved that, many 
shouting out, "Look, there's Ronald McDonald - Wow Wooppee!"

     After the parade Debbie did find me at the collecting area, 
and I introduced her to Betty and the rest of the riders with us. 
Debbie suggested we go for lunch, and I suggested that maybe all 
would like to go together for lunch. Everyone agreed it would be nice. 
So we all met at the designated restaurant we chose. I had determined 
that I would pay the tab for it all. Hence I talked to the manager of
the waitresses and told her I would foot the bill, but not to say
anything to any of our group. Everyone ordered what their
appetite called for, and they all thanked me for paying it all.
Dave (one of our riders) was going to leave a tip, but I told him
I had added 15 per cent on the bill to include a tip, so he could
put his money back in his wallet.

     I had already before the restaurant meal told Debbie I
wanted to try her silver saddle on Goldie, so it was in my car.
Tom and Tyler were already back at the Ranch with Goldie and the
other two horses. I told Debbie how great it was to see her
again, we hugged and Debbie was off back home, about an hours
drive north, and I was off to the Ranch.

     Arriving there I was eager to see this silver saddle of
Debbie's on Goldie. So off came mind and on went Debbie's. It
certainly did look very nice indeed, and I really was hoping it
would fit. Some saddles are deceptive in that they look like they
fit but until you place that foot in the stirrup and mount up you
do not know. I had that experience some 4 years ago with the
Australian saddle I bought. It looked like it was fitting but
stepping up it would pull sideways towards you, and it made no
difference what you did, it simply in actual fact did not fit, as
they say sight can be deceptive, and I learned a big lesson, you
do not buy a saddle until AFTER you make sure it fits. I was able to 
finally sell that Aussie saddle to someone who had the horse it
would fit.
     I took Goldie to the inside arena of barn "B" and placed a
foot in the stirrup; as I put weight on, the saddle slipped
towards me. Now Goldie is a horse that when you cinch her up she
blows out her stomach. So I pulled the cinch tighter, hoping this
was the problem. Once more I placed my foot in the stirrup and
tried to mount up - once more the saddle slipped. When I
tightened the cinch even more (which deep down I knew was too
tight), Goldie pinned her ears back, gave me this look in her
eyes, as if to say, "Come on now, trying to make this saddle fit
me just ain't going to work, and I ain't liking it!"
     The saddle slipped again for the third time as I tried to
mount up. I had to say to Goldie, "Okay girl, you are right, this
is not going to work, and I have to admit it, so let's get you
free from it."
     I walked back with her to her stall, kinda sad, but knowing
there was no choice. I looked at the tree lay of Debbie's saddle
and the tree lay of my roping saddle made into a show saddle, and
could see the difference. The show saddle from Debbie was not
made for the back of my Quarter horse, and that was all there was
to say. No good trying to say otherwise.
     I had to email Debbie with the news. She thinks she will put
it on "consignment" in Denise's store "Grand Saddlery" in
town. It is a beauty of a show saddle and someone should be
out there that wants to buy it, after they know it fits their
horse.

     I put Goldie in the back corral with the rest of the herd.
The day was over at the Ranch, no other riders booked, it had
been a day of "member" riders only. Bob set the gates and the
herd was turned out onto the range. It was 6 pm and time for me
to head back to home. Overall a fine day, a long one for me,
having to be up at 5 am. I was ready for an earlier turn out the
lights and hit the bunk, which I did indeed do that Monday
evening.
     
     Three teaching days only this week for me and then I'll be
back at the Ranch come Friday, and they say the weather is to get
very hot again as we head for the week-end.

                            ...................


To be continued


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