WRANGLING ON THE RANGE #5
It has been a couple of weeks of winter weather once more
for this last half of March 2009. Just not nice enough to do
anything out at the Ranch. But today near the last day of March
it is Spring in the air, and with sunshine I head West for a day
at the Ranch.
I arrive about noon and to my surprise as I walk into the
barn the boys have about 30 or more horses and ponies all saddle up.
After our usual greetings, I inquire if there are lots of people coming
out to ride.
"Oh no Keith," Tom tells me, "not today, but on Tuesday we
have 28 kids coming from some school, so we needed to make sure all
the saddles are okay on the horses we will use."
"Well that is great to hear," I respond.
"Are you busy on Tuesday Keith?" Tom asks me.
"What time are they coming Tom?"
"At 2 p.m."
"Oh, I'm teaching at 3 p.m. so sorry I can not help. Why did
they choose a Tuesday. If it was Friday, I could be here. I do
not teach on Fridays."
"I'm not sure why it has to be Tuesday, I was not talking to
the teacher directly," Tom answered.
"Well probably it's the schedule in the school organization
of this or that event," I replied.
"Ya, I guess so," Tom said.
I set about bringing in Goldie and feeding her the special
food mash I always give her.
"We have a family coming at 2 p.m. Keith, can you take them
out," Bob inquired.
"Yes sure, no problem," I answered back.
I had no sooner turned around as they say, and 2 p.m. was
here. The people going for a trail ride were two mothers and two
young girls, a daughter each of the ladies. The girls were about
9 or 10 years old, so they were on ponies. The little girl behind
me on her pony was called "Hope."
We proceeded down the trail about half a mile, and a couple
of adults were coming back to the barn from their trail ride. And
sure enough as I thought would happen, the little pony Hope was
on wanted to turn and follow the two horses the adults were on
and go back to the barn. Yes, we were all out of sink, you get
one horse or pony turning around to go back to the barn and they
all want to do so. Naturally, as it is for horses and ponies, they
love to go back to the barn, I mean why work if you do not have
to, and besides it's nice and cosy in the barn, is what goes
through their mind I guess.
"Hope," I now had to tell her, "you must shorten your reins
and I want you to pull to the left and kick with your heels.
You've got to tell your pony we are not going back to the barn."
Hope did her best, but ponies can be very determined at
times. As Hope pulled to the left the pony turned all the way
around and was back heading to the barn. We had to do it all
about three times. In the meantime of course the other two horses
and pony in our little group, were standing, half turned back to
face the barn, and just wondering what on earth was going on. But
finally, without me having to get off Goldie and lead Hope's pony
in the right direction, the little girl did it. She got her pony
to realize the way we needed to go, and once more we were all off
in the same direction.
All guided trail rides at the Ranch are done in single file.
The guided rides are the trail rides where the people are least
experienced with horses and ponies.
I decided to go through the valley trail, but did not
realize a herd of the horses were out in that range. Too late,
we're through the gate and half way into the valley. Ah, there's
the herd of horses, and of course they had to come over to see
who we were, and so Hope's pony thought well this is another good
time to turn around and maybe stand around with the herd, now in
just about a complete circle around us. They are all horses of
the Ranch, just not brought in to ride on this particular day. So
they are all very friendly, just coming to say hello.
I had to tell Hope again to pull this way or that way and
kick with her heels, to guide her pony behind me as we moved
through the herd. It took again a few attempts, but finally she
did it and once more we were on our way.
The rest of the ride up and around the hill was nice and
smooth, uneventful. The mothers were "girl-guide leaders" and
their group was coming out in May for a trail ride. They wanted
to ride a few times before then, to break in the feeling of
"We have to come back through the herd of horses," I
informed my little group, "but it will be much easier, for the
herd has said hello to us, and will not do so on the way back, and as
we will be heading for the barn, your horses and ponies will just
keep goin' with no problem."
The two mothers (probably from farm background growing up,
said, "Oh, yes we know horses like to go back to the barn."
"They do indeed. No problem making them go when they are
heading towards the barn," I replied.
It was an enjoyable ride, they all liked it. I told them I'd
probably see them when their whole girl-guide group was out in
No more trail rides that day, so by the time I got back with
my group the horses were all unsaddled and ready to go out on the
I said my goodbye to Goldie and the day was once more over
on the Ranch.
To be continued