WRANGLING ON THE RANGE #54
Betty emailed me during the week: "Keith I sure would like
you to come out this Friday to the Ranch. I have a friend who
wants to bring his sister and her daughter for trial ride. His
sister and her daughter are visiting from Ontario. Sure could use
I replied that I do come out to the Ranch on Fridays,
weather being good, so no problem to help and all five of us go
for a trial ride.
It was a nice dry partly sunny day when Friday rolled
around. We had had some snow so the Rockies looked their best
covered in snow. They actually do look better with snow on them
than without snow; they seem very barren and a dry brown color
when snowless. Arrived about 11:30 am. Betty had previously told
me we might have to go to the range and bring in whatever horses
we needed, as the boys had no persons coming for a trail ride this day.
I was pleasantly surprised to find half the herd in the
corral at the back of the main barn. I was on my way to bring in
Goldie, as she was among this half of the herd. Sandi was on the
"Hi Sandi," I called out on entering the corral. "Thanks for
bringing in the horses."
"Hi Keith, " Sandi shouted back, "actually I was trying to
get them out. They had gotten themselves into the next range from
the range they should have been in. I had to herd them up here to
herd them back to the correct range."
"Well Betty as three people coming for a trail ride, so we
can just leave them in."
"Sure thing ... I did not know she was coming out."
"Probably not as she was only talking to the boys about it."
"Okay ... the boys said nothing to me."
"Maybe not, but I'll look after it all Sandi."
"Yes, fine Keith, I'll head home then to my Ranch house."
Sandi lives for now on the Ranch. I hope she sticks around
for another year or so, she's a fine young lady, who seems to
love living and working our here.
Betty arrived, and we decided on which horses we would use
for the three people coming. Brushed them down, saddled them up
and we chit-chatted for a while. Betty told me about one of her
horses that are on a range she has leased for the winter, south
of town, near a very expensive and fancy "boarding stable"
that is mainly "English" riding; I was there to look around and
talk to the owner lady; very lovely place and fine people working
there. I knew exactly where Betty had her leased range, it was
right next door to this "Willow Diamond" stable. Early in the
week one of Betty's horses took a "roll" right next to the wire
fence, well the horse went under the bar-wire, got cut here and
there, and was tangled up in the wire half outside the range into
the ditch. The girls at Willow Diamond saw the horse, went to its
rescue, cut the wire, called the vet, called Betty, and when
she arrived they had the horse in the stable wash down area,
washing its cuts and loving it up.
"What a fine group of people Keith," Betty said.
"Yes, I know, I've met some of them and the owner ... just a
real fine group of people."
"They sure are, and the owner asked if I could lend them
some ponies over the winter, for them to given lessons on to the
children. I said sure thing. It's good both ways. They have some
ponies to use and I have my ponies fed and looked after for the
"Now that is super good for you and for them," was my reply.
We talked a little more about the whole episode. I mentioned
how some horses just seem to get themselves into all kinds of
trouble. And it is so. Some horses are a little "goofy" that way,
just cutting themselves from different silly things they do out
on the wide open range; they seem to want to do these things near
wire fences or dead trees that have pointed branches sticking up.
Some horse are not very bright at times, and get themselves into
trouble, fortunately its only a few in a herd the size we have on
the ranges, but those few, you have to shake your head at, as to
how simple minded they are when wanting to have a roll etc. Yep,
horses are all individuals and different in brain skills.
Betty left the horse at Willow Diamond for a few days, to be
cared for by that amazing staff. Then the horse was brought home
to Betty's ranch.
I went to barn "B" and saddled up my horse. She had finished
eating her special mash. "Well girl, we are going out on the
trail today, yes a little sloppy and slippery but it's just a
walk, and we'll do fine," were my words to Goldie as we walked
over to the main barn.
Our three-some arrived. I was introduced to them. And within
a few minutes we were all up in the saddle and on our way. It was
a nice ride, down into the valley to the North and up around the
trail in the tree line to the East and back to the barn. The
young lady, about 20 or 21 I would guess, is a flute player, and
would like to make music her career, teaching in High-school. I
told her that I have two CDs I've made over the last 9 years,
especially slow love songs; instrumental only; I've called them
"Sleepy Time Guitar." I told her how I had a young lady play the
flute with me on a number of the recordings. I love the soft and
smooth sound of the flue. I told Betty I must give her the CDs,
she only has my singing cowboy CDs.
We were back at the barn; unsaddled the horses, including
Goldie, and I jumped on the quad and moved them out from the back
corral down the walking alley to the road which leads down to the
range. A few of the horses are relatively new and did not quite
know what to do, but the rest knew and soon they were all heading
for the range. I had to go down with them as the range gate had
to be closed. Goldie decided to be last so I guess she could stay
with me ... well I like to think that was the reason. The herd
and Goldie were in the correct range again to joint up with the
other half of the herd. Goldie stopped just inside the now closed
gate, looked back at me, as if to say, "Are you going home." I
shouted to her, "Go on girl, see you on Sunday." She turned her
head back to the herd and slowly moved away.
The day was pretty well over, I thought, as I wheeled the
quad around and put it into 3rd gear and a good click back to the
barn. Paul (Betty's part time "live on the Ranch" man) was there holding
his back. "What happened to you Paul?" I enquired. "Well one of
the wooden steps down to my basement broke and down I went,
hitting the other steps with my back as I slid to the bottom."
"Oh, wow, that can indeed hurt," I sympathetically replied
to his story.
Paul had recently gone "wangling" down in Washington State
for a month and a half. It had all gone very well, and he had a
fine time. He and Michael (Betty's nephew staying with her for
a while) found work just a stones throw from her ranch, a
"log house" and "wood furniture" company, doing good business it
seems in the recession. That was the reason Betty wanted my help
today, as the two fellows follows were both working this day.
I said goodbye to Betty and Paul and headed home, I thought
as usual, but getting close to the local town, I remembered they were
paving the road going up the hill out of that town towards the big city.
It was bumper to bumper and as slow as a turtle for a couple of miles.
I decided no way was I going to sit here for maybe 2 hours before
getting through. You know it is this line of traffic goes for a while, then
the other way traffic for a while and so on. I drove into the small local
town, and did a little grocery shopping. Tried again to head for the
road up the hill; no way again; turned around and headed south.
Thought well I'll go see Betty's horses south of the town. I get there to
find 7 horses ... thought, Betty told me there was 9 here. I phoned her
on my cell-phone.
"Yes, Keith, there are supposed to be 9 horses there, sometimes
a couple of them, who are buddies, go off by themselves."
"Okay, I'll walk up the range hill and take my binoculars
and see if I can see them," I told her. And I did so, but I could
not see two horses off by themselves. I could now see the entire
fence line of the range. Looked all around, no trees on this
range, I should have been able to spot them with my binoculars;
but I could not. I headed back to my car, drove down to where the
I had seen 7 horses (it was also the way back to the town and
home) and NOW there were 9 horses. Obviously 2 horses had been
laying down, and were now up on their feet. I called Betty and told her
all 9 were accounted for.
I was going to go back to the town, but I could see the hill
leading out of that town off in the distance from where I was,
and it was bumper to bumper. It was getting dark and the
headlights of the cars were like one continuous stream of light.
Okay, I would continue to head south and not too far I would come
to the main highway from the Rockies, which leads back to the city.
That highway is goes passed where I live; it is within 1/2 mile of my apartment. Yes, did that, and I was soon back home, with straight
sailing as they say.
To be continued