Keith Hunt - Wrangling on the Range - Page Fifty- five   Restitution of All Things

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Wrangling on the Range #55

Jack and Mandi and Lesson time

                        WRANGLING ON THE RANGE #55


     The snow moved in on Saturday, kinda unexpectedly, and out
at the Ranch they apparently got 12 inches of the stuff. I was
having a nice Sabbath rest and not paying too much attention to
the weather outside.
     Sunday rolled around and the skies cleared and the sun was
out, the temperature around 40 F .... so put on my winter
underwear and socks and out to the Ranch I drove. Coming into the
Ranch road, it was one way traffic through the tire trails, slow
and easy, slow for sure; I had about 4 years ago spun out into
the ditch with my previous car, and tore out the muffler. I was
not about to do this again, so down into love gear and a very
slow drive to the barn.

     Betty had during the week, told me that Jack and Mandi were
wanting to come out and have me as their teacher and trail guide.
They are the couple I told you about in a previous diary, that I
spent 3 hours teaching one Sunday. This would be their second
lesson of 3 hours.

     They arrived shortly after 1 pm. We already had the horses
in that they would ride today, two very easy faithful horses, one
called "Rio" (gelding) and the other "Cider" (a mare). I had them
do the saddling, with just a little help now and again, but they
remembered very well what I taught them in their first lesson.
Just a little help on the bridling, but also very good. They also
remembered the "to the arm pit" way of getting the correct length
of the stirrups. It works most of the time, today was one of
those times. They remembered to shorten the left rein on mounting
up. This is done so that if the horse moves, it will move "into"
you and not away from you. 
     I told them to ride around the barn, and have the horse do
what they wanted it to do, while I went to get Goldie from the
box stall. My horse did her "push the doors" open with her nose,
and into the barn, and away we went, down the not dusty trail but
snowy trail. 
     A large 12 or more person trail ride had gone out before us.
I enquired from Tom which way they went. "They've gone "pine
trail Keith, but for an hour and a half."
     "Right, I'll go around that trail the opposite way and maybe
will meet up with them, " I told Tom.

     I thought for an hour and a half they can do a couple of
things on that trail. I chose the way I thought they might come
back. As we moved along that trail, it became clearer I was
mistaken which way they took. Never did see them. 
     Along the trail Jack informed me that his daughter was
coming out from England (Jack and Mandi are English) about the
middle of November, and that she would want to trail ride. He
asked if the Ranch was open during the week at this time of the
year.
     "Yes, weather permitting, it is open 7 days a week, all year
round," I told him.
     "Well that being the case, we would probably like to come
during the week, but we'd like to have you as our guide."
     I replied, "If you book your ride say at 11 am I am
available to come out. I do not start to teach until 3 pm. Look
at the weathercast the evening before, if it is going to be sunny
and mild, then give the boys a call that evening, and they will
have the horses in for 11 am the next day."
     "Sounds great Keith, we will make sure we do that." Jack
answered.

     It was a nice ride overall, got a little windy on the last
half a mile. Jack took some photos along the way, and commented
how a person had to get off like this to really see and enjoy the
country-side, even in the snow. I commented how nice it was to
have the "ever-green" trees to still give us some "green" among
the white of the snow in the winter time.

     Arriving back I took them to the "B" barn so they could ride
around the barrels and do lots of turning. Then I told them we
would start our first "trot" lesson.
     "I want you to take the reins in one hand and hold the
saddle horn with your strong hand, and just get the bounce feel
of the "trot" as it would be the first time for them. We trotting
up and down 7 or 8 times. They got the feel of it. Jack asked,
"How do I sit in the saddle Keith in the trot?"
     "We shall be learning to 'post' in future lessons. The trot
is a two beat gate of the horse, up and down in our terms.
'Posting' is moving up and down with the horse, being in the same
rhythm as the horse, if your not you are coming down when the
horse is going up ... and ... well you know what that would mean.
We'll get there, but for now I just wanted you to feel the trot."

     We finished this lesson today with un-saddling and un-
bridling as we hang all the tack up in on this Ranch. Except for
personal tack, all the tack for rented horses hang on high nails
along the barn walls. They were pleased with their day out at the
Ranch. I made sure they had the boys phone number and
mine, for the day they chose to come out with Mike's daughter on
her visit to Canada.

     Tom and Bob had been busy during the week removing the
shoes from the horses. Goldie still had all four of them on, and
indeed they needed to be removed now the snow had arrived, and
looks like sticking around for a while, maybe all winter long.
Regular horse shoes will "build-up" the snow, actually making it
ice, in the horses sole, and will them have the horse walking on
"marbles" so to speak. Tom and Bob had borrowed my horse pick,
rasp, and shoe removing pliers, which I have no problem with, but
I needed them now to remove Goldie's shoes. Tom brought them to
me immediately. I was off to barn "B" to remove my horses shoes.
With Betty's foot stand (pulling the horses foot up and resting
it on the pole of the stand) you rasp off the clinches of the
horse-shoe nails. Then starting at the back of the shoe you use
the pulling pliers to lift the horse shoe, moving to the front,
one side at a time.
     It is not easy work for a guy my age, but being fitter and
younger physically for my literal age of 67 years, I had all four
shoes off; got my strength exercise for the day for sure. But was
happy to be able to send Goldie out knowing she would not have to
walk on marbles anymore for this winter. Just have to trim her
hooves next time out.

     We had an unhappy situation for one family, nothing to do
with riding or horses. They were from Edmonton, the capital of
Alberta, they had rented an car from Edmonton; they lost the key 
riding on the trail. Not a chance in this snow to find it for sure. 
I never did find out what they were going to do, they were still 
figuring it out when I left.

     It was time to go, put Goldie with the herd at the back of
the main barn, ready for the boys to send them all out onto the
range.
     Called in to say goodbye to the Tom and Bob and Sandi. And
this time made it home on the regular highway, with no traffic
jams.

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


To be continued


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