Keith Hunt - Diary of Wrangling on the Range - Page Four   Restitution of All Things

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Diary of Wrangling on the Range #4

Learning lessons the Hard Way!

                    DIARY OF WRANGLING ON THE RANGE #4



     It was a sunny day in late March 2009, and it seemed spring
was in the air, but then you never quite know around here and
the foot hills to the Canadian Rockies. It is an up and down
Winter into Spring around here, but today was a nice day anyway,
so off I went to the Ranch and my horse Goldie.

     The boys were already up for some time now and greeted me with 
a little different look and sound, a more quite and .... well different. 
It was not long before I found out what had transpired. They had gone 
looking for a horse that had wandered away from one of the herds out 
on one of the ranges. It is unusual for a horse to move away from all 
the others, far enough away that you have to go looking for it. Horses 
are herd animals and they usually stay within their group or sub-group, 
as that is one of their automatic protective shields, stay as a
group, run as a group if being attacked, and that way you have a
better chance that it is the other fellow or gal that gets eaten
and not you.

     The boys are young and although they have been raised around
horses, sometimes in growing up you may have been missed in
having things told to you, or you just get sloppy. A number of
"horse people" have been either killed or badly injured when
putting the guard down, as they work with horses. 

     "I had a very bad scare today Keith," Bob spoke up, "Tom
and I went looking for this mare that got herself lost or
something. I acted too cowboyish and roped her. She freaked out
after a while, pulled my horse sideways and I was being pulled
into a tree. I was frantically trying to undaly my ranch rope. We
just missed having a total smash up, I was really scared and then
Tom's horse started to act up seeing all this happening."

     "Bob, would she not follow the two of you back?" I asked
him.
     "Well, for a while, but I was trying I guess to be this
cowboy guy, and roped her. She led for a while but then finally
freaked out."

     Bob and Tom learned a lesson the hard way, which when
dealing with horses that can be 1,000 to 1,4000 pounds (as they
are on this Ranch) is a dangerous lesson to have to learn.
     You NEVER, NEVER, rope a horse! That is it pure and simple,
especially if the horse is wild or even half wild (as this mare
was). You are asking for trouble if you do, and the trouble could
be very serious indeed for you. You NEVER rope a horse even from
another horse. If you see it in the movies, I can tell you it is
done for "effect" - probably with a very tame horse, or if not,
they are using stunt men who get paid for taking their life in
their hands.
     Just stop and think now. Roping a horse from another horse
is not safe. You may think you have a big strong horse under you,
but it only takes the horse you've roped to pull a certain way,
and your horse to be surprised and unbalanced, and you have a
1,000 pound or more horse able to bring you and yourself smashing
to the ground, and if your rope is still around your saddle horn,
you are in BIG trouble. The different scenarios to your crash
.... well I'm sure your imagination can tell you how serious it
could be.

     If you are ever trying to bring back a horse that "got away"
from the herd, you take a halter along and halter lead it back,
if it will not just follow you. And if it is half wild and will
not let you put a halter on, then you better WAIT and go get more
of your friends on horse back and go out and corral it back.

     Never rope a horse from another horse, that is the safest
rule to always remember. Bob not only broke that rule but had
his rope tied around his saddle horn, and yes was frantic as his
freaked out horse was pulling him and his horse under him into a
tree.

     I gave Goldie her special mash, brushed her down, combed out
her mane and tail, saddle her up and off we went. The range over
towards the West actually belongs to the First Nations people as
they liked to now be called in Canada, to call them "Indians" is
no longer politically correct in Canada. They had closed the use
of trail riding on their land for a few years, but now it was
open again to us, so that is where Goldie and I headed. It had
been about 3 years since I rode over there, so the change was
good. There are some very nice trails in those wooded foot-hills.
Because of the tree line there was still a good deal of snow on
the trails, but it was good exercise for my horse, she seemed to
like it.

     Came back to the Ranch ready to take out a young couple for
an hours trail ride. They had never been out to the Ranch, as so
often happens they got lost, but finally arrived. I took them
down through the valley and by one of the herds grazing there. On
the way back I opened the gate from Goldie and one of the horse
from the herd stuck through along with us. Just wanted to go to
the barn I thought, maybe had a friend or two in the herd at the
barn corral.
     We got close to the barn and it decided it really did not
want to go to the barn after all, and stood at a fence deciding
what it wanted to do. I continued with the young couple and
brought them back to the barn. Bob was there to greet us. "One
of the horses from down in the valley came through the gate with
us, I'll go put it back with the others." I shouted out to Bob.

     I turned Goldie around and headed back, the horse had made up
its mind by then that it did not want to be up at the barn and
was running back to the herd in the valley. Now the gate was
closed to that range, so it headed through the gate that was
open, being the next range. I opened up the gate to the range
where it belonged, and went in the other range and around the
"horse that sneaked through" I'll call it. It was stopped looking
at the range and horses where it came from, trying to figure,
"Now how do I get over there." I pushed it on Goldie down the
fence line, to the gate and then it saw the other gate was open
now, so in it went nice as pie, back to join its herd. I closed
up the gate with Goldie doing her thing, that is pushing the gate
with her nose and then side-stepping to put the final touch on
closing it.

     Glodie thought she had had a great day, was pleased with
herself, and was now sure happy that it was barn time again. I
loosed the rein, she started into her lope or canter. She wanted
to burst forth into a fast gallop, I could just feel her under
me, saying, "Let me go, let me go, I'd like to fly," but the road
conditions were still somewhat sloppy in parts, so I said, "Not
today girl, just a nice lope, that's all we can do today to be
safe."

     Before leaving I trimmed up her back hooves, as I had only
trimmed the front up some weeks ago. Now she's looking nice and
neat in the feet. I asked Bob if they were going to use John,
the farrier Betty (the lady who runs the summer horse/pony camp
for kids) uses to do the trimming and shoeing. "Well Keith we're
looking for someone not as expensive."
     "Hummmm, okay, BUT remember whoever you decide upon needs to
really know their stuff, you have someone who does not and you
are going to have a crippled horse that will be out of commission
for a number of months. I've seen it happen Bob, so be careful."

     So another day was finished for wrangling on the range, a
day Tom and Bob will not soon forget.

     The weather is supposed to turn back to sleety snow for a few days,
so looks like it will be a week before I'm out there again.

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


To be continued


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