WRANGLING ON THE RANGE #52
It had been a terrible two weeks of weather, way colder than
normal for October and snow. I had been a week or more in
Branson, MO, observing the Feast of Tabernacles. I had returned
to this horrible weather with the promise that in a few days it
would get back to normal, and it did. By Friday October 16th most
of the snow was gone and there was warmth in the air once more.
Yet, when Sunday morning came around, it was overcast with
drizzle rain. I decided to call Betty and find out what she and
the Ranch were hoping to do. There was no answer, so I left a
message. Within 15 minutes she called.
"It's misty and drizzle rain where I am Betty. What's it
like out the Ranch way where you are?" I enquired.
"Actually not too bad Keith," was Betty's reply.
"What have you going on," I asked.
"There are three little ones coming for 1 pm for a lesson,
and at 3 pm two young girls, early teens, coming for a lesson."
"I know they say it is supposed to be mainly sunny today, so
I'll come out."
"That would be real good Keith; will see you at about
I arrived at the Ranch about 11:30 am. Picked up Goldie's
halter and walked to the corral outside the main barn. There was
my horse, looking like she had had a good roll in the mud in the
early morning, dirty from head to tail. She heard my voice and
looked over. I walked over to her, saying, "Well girl, yes it is
me. I'm still here, still in your life." I placed the halter lead
rope over her neck, and stroked her face and nose. "It sure is
good to see you girl, seems like a long time, right; but I'm back
and you know what I give you; let's go and have your mash." I
think she was happy to see me, but like most horses quiet about
it. She's not one of those horses that runs over to you and
pushes you with her nose. In her calm and quiet way she tells me
she's happy to see me.
I had just finished putting Goldie's mash in her half tire
and was telling her how much mud she had on herself, when Kate
"I heard something in the barn, came to look. Good to see
you Keith; how was your visit to the USA?"
"It was very fine, good flights, all went smooth, and had a
very nice time. Betty emailed me while I was there and told me
what cold and snowy weather you had."
"Oh yes, it sure has been."
"On hearing about the weather I though you probably didn't
get to ride Goldie."
"Well, actually I did a little. One young lady came out for
a lesson and I rode Goldie bare-back in the indoor arena."
"I'm glad you got to ride her a little at least," I
"Keith, I want to ask you if I can ride Goldie, when I'm out
here and you are not."
"Well Kate, you know you are the very first person to ride
Goldie except for me. I would like her to get as much exercise as
possible during the winter months. I know you ride the same way
as I do, so yes, I have no problem with you riding Goldie when
I'm not here."
"That is very nice of you Keith, I appreciate it very much."
I asked Kate what was happening in the main barn, and she
told me there was a 1 pm ride, of about 17 persons.
"I know Betty has 3 little ones coming for 1 pm. Will she
have enough to help her if I lead that 1 pm ride?" I asked Kate.
"Oh yes, there will be herself, my self, and Michael her
nephew, and I think Dave (Betty's friend) is coming.
"Alright, good, I will get Goldie ready and lead the 1 pm
I took a while to brush all that mud off Goldie, but it was
dry and came off relatively easy. I saddled her up and as I was
leading her over to the main barn, Betty drove in. It was good to
see her once more, Betty and Kate, and Dave and Michael (for as
long as he'll be here) have become an important part of my life.
Betty and I greeted each other with a hug and I told her I had a
few little gifts for her from the Roy Rogers Museum. One was a
color photo of Roy on Trigger in the high rearing pose. I told
her she could have it enlarged and frame it and put it on one of
the walls in her new tack shop.
"You know Keith, I think it was prophetic you went to
Branson and got to see the Roy Rogers Museum before it closes
"Your right Betty, it was meant to be for me, this one time
in my life, that I've ever come as close to Roy Rogers, at least
I can say I did see his museum."
It was prophetic in a way. When I had decided to go to
Branson for the Feast of Tabernacles about 8 months ago, I had no
idea that the Roy Rogers Museum, I had wanted to see for decades,
was about to close up in December of 2009.
I continued to walk with Goldie over to the main barn. Sandi
was there, and Moreen, the shorter of the two young ladies by
that name, the taller one being Bob's girlfriend. The people had
started to arrive. Tom came in and we exchanged greetings and
then had to go to work getting all the people up on their horses
and adjusting stirrups.
They were all up; I went to mount up on Goldie in the box
stall, and she enjoyed doing her "push the door and gate" open
with her nose and into the barn we went.
I decided the north valley would be the driest and give us
more open sunshine than any of the other hour trails.
Paul was back from his wrangling in Washington State. He
told me all about it, well a little in the short time we had to
visit. He came out with us on the ride. Sandi and Moreen came
along as a couple of the outriders. It was a nice ride, pleasant
and refreshing. Nothing unusual, as in the leading position I
don't get to talk back-and-forth with the riders. I talk now and
then to my horse and listen to the conversations immediately
Arriving back, and riding over to barn "B" I found the
little three children just about finished with their lesson,
under Betty's watchful eye. Besides the old faithful ponies Betty
has, she brought with her today, a new pony she had recently
purchased, very young, 8 or 9 Betty said he was. She bought him
along with a fancy parade show cart; he is broke to pull this
cart. And she brought out a relatively new horse she purchased
about a year ago. All brown, or some would say chestnut, but I
think light brown describes his color better. He's young - 8
years old - and well broke, with a nice easy nature. Kate was
happy to ride him on the trail we would take at 3 pm when the two
young ladies arrived for their second lesson.
And arrive they did just before 3 pm. Betty gave them a 10
minute lesson in the indoor arena, then it was time to hit the
trail. Any gates to open along the way, was to be done by the two
young ladies, so they would know the one, two, three, of the safe
way to open and close range gates. As usual I led on Goldie. Half
way around we encountered a huge tree fallen across the trail, a
very recent fall (probably from a lightning strike) as the split
tree trunk clearly showed. The boys will have to come with the
chain-saw on this one, to cut it up and clear it away. We were
able to get around it but took some tree dodging and tree weaving
to do so.
Coming back we had to wait for the horses in the main barn
to pass by, Sandi had turned them loose to head for the range.
One of the horses in our group had a friend in the herd making
their way to the range, and as horses do, they called out to each
other. But the one with us had to wait for a little while before
joining his friend; we had to get to the barn and unsaddle.
Kate and I got to barn "B" before anyone else.
"Oh Keith, the pony Crystal is still here, saddled; we
forgot to take him back to the main barn, after the little
"You help Betty," I replied, "and I will look after taking
Crystal back and turning her out." And off I went with Crystal
happy to come and soon to join the others she no doubt heard
leaving for the range, wondering why she was not with them. That
is how Goldie acts when the herd leaves and I keep her in for
some reason; she knows they are leaving and of course wants to be
with them, it's the herd instinct of horses, that live together
as a herd.
While in the main barn I helped Sandi unsaddle and turn out
some horses that had just come in from a "members ride."
"So what are your plans then Sandi. Are you going to stay on
at the Ranch?"
"Well, I guess the boys have to decide that. As long as the
weather is good, there will be work for me."
"You are not then in any hurry to get out there and join
this fast-paced working world?"
"I've graduated with my degree, but right, I'm not looking
to joining the rat race out there, not for a while anyway."
"It might be nice," I continued, "just to live on the Ranch
and help and work on the busy days."
"Yes, I think so. Could maybe get a part-time job in the local town."
"Yes ... think if I were the boys, that's what I'd like you
to do. The house that your in is already there, who wants the
head-ache it can be to try and rent out, to who knows who, and
the problems it can be with renters. Sounds to me you'd like to
be here for a while, another year or so, right?"
"At least another year," Sandi with a smile replied.
I headed back to barn "B." I had already turned Goldie out,
and with her friend Applejack (whom Dave rode on our trail ride)
they had headed down to the range.
Betty, Dave, Michael, Kate, and I, talked for a while.
Betty will keep the week-end lessons going into November if the
weather holds good. We said our good-byes; wished everyone had a
good week, and we all went our separate ways.
To be continued