WRANGLING ON THE RANGE #58
Betty had emailed me Saturday evening to tell me that the
Ranch was closed for the week-end. The boys and others had all
gone to Edmonton (Alberta's capital city) to see the Canadian Final's
Rodeo. So she was telling me that Godlie would be out on the range
if I was planning on going to the Ranch on Sunday. Betty said she had no lessons booked for that day, so would probably not be out at the Ranch.
I replied I was planning to go and have some time with my horse, and I
thanked her for telling me what was going on (in this case "not
going on") at the Ranch.
It was a lovely drive out that Sunday noon. The sun was
shinning off the snow clad Rockies in such a way that was most
spectacular this day, and the fluffy lazy looking clouds here and
there added to that post-card view.
It was strange to see the Ranch closed and empty of some
activity. Betty had told me that she thought the herd with Goldie
was in the north valley range. I had Golie's halter and away I
went in the car to that range first. Some of the horses were
indeed there, but driving through and up and around and back to
the gate I could not see my horse or Applejack, who she hangs out
with. Well I drove into the next adjacent north range, but there
were no horses period in that range. I thought well maybe they
are in the West range, so I drove over there, but the herd that
Goldie was in was not the herd in that range. I was a little bit
in a quandary, so I phoned Betty on my cell-phone.
"Well Keith which horse/horses did you recognize in the
North range," Betty asked me.
"I did see 'Cheeco' there, he's easy to spot with his
distinct Appaloosa markings."
"I believe Cheeco is in the herd that Goldie is in," Betty
"Yes, I'm sure that is right," I replied.
"Maybe some of the horses are up in the tree line, go there
again and call out, and see if they come out of the trees," Betty
suggested to me.
"Yes, okay I'll do that, and I'll let you know what happens
if anything," and with that I headed back to the North valley
range. Once more I was back in the middle of the herd that was out in
the open, and started to call out - nothing happened, no horses
came out of the trees. I decided to drive up to the North-east
gate and see if it was open. If so then the boys were allowing
the horses to move into the next valley, which is Government land
that the Ranch leases for trail riding. Getting there, I discovered the gate
was closed, so the idea of the leased valley range was pretty well out.
I turned the car around and slowly made my way back down the hill to the herd, and as I was coming around a corner down to the valley, there she
was ... Goldie with Applejack. They had indeed been in the trees, and I
guess were not about to come out until they decided to do so, my
calling was of no effect on them. They would come out of the trees
when they were good and ready.
As I got close to Goldie I rolled down the window of the car
and called to her. She looked but walked away. Out of the car I
jumped with her bridle in hand. She kept walking away. Finally I
shouted out, "Stand, stand!" and she did. I guess she finally
thought, "Well it is my master's voice and he's given me a
command." I walked up to her telling her I was sure glad to see
her. I led her over to the car and with the window rolled down I
trotted her alongside the car (the roping reins undone on the far
side of the bit so I had a long lead) to the range gate. She is
trained for do that, and just trotted along very nicely.
I had brought down in the back seat of the car, a wooden
chair from barn "B" staff room. I used it to climb up on Goldie,
a stepping stone so to speak, for I was going to ride her bare-
back to barn "B." My days of being able to volt myself up on her
back are over, just not young enough to do that any more, so the
chair worked just dandy.
Back at barn "B" I gave Goldie her special mash. When I came
out with it (takes me 5 minutes or so to put it all together) she
made her usual voice sound to me, to let me know she was sure
happy to see me coming with it. While she was eating I needed to
trim up her back hooves; I had done the front ones last Sunday. I
took off my jacket as such work brings on a little sweat. But I
did get the job done. Now all four hooves were in real nice
shape. She has very good feet; Rick the vet. has checked her foot
strength with his special tool he has, and is amazed at the solid
strength of her hooves. Well part in that I believe is the good
special food I give her, with added vitamins and minerals.
Saddled up and moving out, I could feel she was on the bit
today, she was wanted to have her fast gallop. "I don't think so
girl, some trotting and loping, but a fast gallop on 'the race
track' (as I call that one stretch out in the leased range) ...
no, not today, you've not had any hard work-outs of late girl, so
just a good work-out today, that's all."
I took her into the outdoor arena where my pylons are still
in the "figure eight" formation, and we did some dressage
trotting and cantering for about 15 minutes. Then out onto the
trail, my favorite one, but today not all the way, which includes
the "race track" - just half of it this day.
There is a nice spot that lends itself to a lope in the
leased range before it hits the hill to start back around, a
circle sort of. I let her out into the lope, she was pulling on
the bit, just itching, just really itching to go into her race
track speed, just wanting me to let those reins loose, which
tells her she can go for it. But I was going to be true to my
word and "not today girl." We climbed the hill leading back, and
as I've mentioned before, as we turn left to the trail along the
fence line back to the Ranch range, there is what I have called
the "little big dipper" - it's down quickly and up quickly. I
like to give Goldie her head on this and indeed she expects it.
For a short while she is free to run down and up, all in about 5
seconds. Coming up the other side the trail goes right and left a
few times, a fast wiggle and giggle before it straightens out.
"Well we both like that, right girl," is my talk to her as
we slow down to a walk. I must say it is a thrill ride for a few
seconds, but unless you are a real experienced rider and you have
a horse you know can handle such a run, DO NOT TRY IT! Such
thrill riding is for very experienced riders with confident sure-
footed horses. Let me also say this, I do pray to the Lord to
grant me this riding at times, and I ask for His blessing and
protection when I do it. I try not to "tempt the Lord" in silly
careless ways, but in fast running work, which I must say I like
to do at times ... well some protection is needed, so I do ask
the Father to grant me protection within this "desire of my
heart." Probably the day will come when I'll feel I'm to old to
do this kind of fast stuff, but it's not yet. I thank the Lord
that he's given me a body and ability of someone 20 years younger,
I feel more like 47 and not 67.
Arriving back at the car, by the range fence, I unsaddled
Goldie and let her go back and join her friend Applejack. The sun
was out in full strength, blazing away from the West. I watched
my horse canter off and then turn right and canter down to where
she spotted Applejack. I never get tired of just watching her do
this, she really is "poetry in motion" - she holds her tail up
slightly, and her lovely dark golden body with her white mane
flowing in the breeze - my oh my what a sight .... she is indeed
a beautiful horse to see and watch move as she changes from trot
to lope/canter. I think I've told you in earlier diaries that her
Grandfather called "Impressive" won all the "halter" class
competitions to be won in the USA. That's top of the bill
"conformation" looks folks, and it has surely come out in this
grandchild of his, who has the registered name "Final Touch" -
and it is so, Goldie does have that final touch about her, and
very intelligent with it all to boot. And loves people or
children making a fuss over her, she enjoys their affection.
So the day turned out to be a good day after all, from a bad
start, to a very good enjoyable day. And Goldie did get some
chances to burn off some of that tight bottled-up energy.
A couple of "western" movies I bought recently from
Amazon.com were "Lonely are the Brave" with Kirk Douglas - a
Universal movie filmed in 1962; and "Wagon Master" directed by
John Ford in 1950.
The former is best for the horse used by Douglas otherwise
just an average so-and-so movie. The latter is much more
dramatic, good songs by the Sons of the Pioneers. Being made in
1950 there were still movie cowboys around who could ride
galloping horses, so many of the horse and horse/wagon scene are
very well done, even along the spectacular side.
To be continued