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

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Wrangling on the Range #59

Jack with Mandy and ....

                        WRANGLING ON THE RANGE #59

     You might remember me telling you about the couple I gave
TWO 3 hour lesson and trail rides in the last few months. Jack
(the man) called me early Monday morning to see if I would come
out to the Ranch Tuesday (the very next day) and take he and his
wife Mandy on a trail ride. The weather was to be very nice, well
nice enough to trail ride. I asked him to call the boys and see
if that was okay with them. He called me back with a few hours,
to tell me the boys said okay, if Keith was going to be your
trail riding guide. So it was set for 11:30 am.

     I arrived about 10:30 that Tuesday morning. Sandi and Bob
were up and had brought the horses in from the range. I went and
found Goldie, brought her in as usual and gave her the mash.
While she was eating I brushed and combed her down, and cleaned
out her four feet and rubbed on the hoof ointment that has been
around for .... well all my life time anyway; I used it on the
only other horse I've ever owned, when I was 18 and had just
arrived as an immigrant to Canada from England. The first summer
I was in Canada I bought this very fine registered sorrel
Thoroughbred mare. She had a nice nature and also loved to run as
Goldie does, but being a Thoroughbred 1/4 of a mile was only a
warm up. 
     Well back to today; yes the same hoof oil (vaseline texture
and thickness) is still around, and it was time for Goldie to
have her feet (hoofs, sole, frog) rubbed with it, well and truly.
If the feet of your horse are not looked after, and you end up
with a horse with bad feet (not trimmed and/or shod correctly)
from just neglect, you will most like have no horse to do much
with, except walk, and maybe not even that, as it could come down
lame. The worst case I ever saw was a little pony that had been
neglected and in its particular case, its hoofs had grown UNDER
its feet (I've never seen that since, I was about 30 years old at
the time); of course the poor little thing could hardly walk. I
trimmed away this strange growth so it had normal feet again.
When let out into the corral .... it was skipping and jumping
around with delight, I guess so.

     Goldie was now saddled and I rode over to the main barn,
being just after 11 am. Jack and Mandy were already there with
Jack's daughter from England (Jack and Mandy are English). I had
forgotten that Jack had told me last time out, that his daughter
was coming over for a holiday, and they would probably want to
come for a trail ride. 
     Jack was going to ride Applejack, and his daughter would
ride Banner, and Mandy would ride Dopey (I must find out how that
horse got that name, there has to be a story behind having such a
name). I took them over to barn "B" to practice weaving between
the barrels, and just moving and making their horse go where and
when they directed them. Jack said to me, "I don't think
Applejack wants to go anywhere but follow you Keith." I replied
that Applejack was Goldie's buddy, and that the two of them hang
out together on the range. But I told Jack that with more
firmness in his commands Applejack would obey.  And sure enough
when Jack got stronger in his mannerism and legs, Applejack did
as commanded. Horses are pretty keen that way, if they can detect
they have a "softy" up-above, they'll just do nothing or do their
own thing, to the frustration of the rider. In the 20 minutes
working at basic turns and commands, giving them some instruction
along the way, the three of them did pretty good. Before we left
that barn for the trail, I once more instructed them on
"trotting" and this time more on how to "post" the trot, getting
in that rhythm of the up and down beat of the horse. There's some
pretty fancy instruction I've come across in books and in people,
but I've found with "green-horns" that fancy instruction is just
about useless. I'm not at all opposed to telling new horse riding
students to put the reins in one hand and hold the saddle horn
with their strong hand and then try to find that up and down
rhythm with the horse. I tell them once you find it even for a
few seconds, you will then know exactly what you are trying to
find and do. And the bottom line, it is practice and practice,
doing it and doing it. I of course do demonstrate it to them with

     We hit the trail. It was windy so I took them on the trail
that is mainly in the tree line, but we do end up in the North
valley range, which is mainly in the open, although it has a nice
tree hill climb. We did some trotting in the areas where it is
flat, smooth, and safe. Jack's daughter had been over before, a
number of times I gathered, so the "tourist" places she had seen
before, but this horse ride at the Ranch and scenery was new to
her. She had done some rising back in England, not in any long
term serious way, but she was much better at it than she let on
to me. Actually she was a very quiet young lady, pleasant and
happy, but sure didn't talk very much. 

     We had to face the wind as we came back to the barn from the
North range, and I think all were happy to get back; it wasn't a
biting wind, but not pleasant either. I helped and instructed the
three adults on how to tie up their horse's halter lead rope to
the iron railing on the barn wall where the horses have their
name, the all essential "slip-knot" is very important. Then the
bridle comes off, then the saddle, with the special hanging up on
the wall that this particular Ranch uses. Jack had remembered
most of it from the other two lessons I'd given them; Mandy
needed a little more help. When you are not doing it all on a
regular basis it can be hard to remember the more specific things
that this Ranch uses, to make it easy for the next person who is
doing the saddling. I had them lead their horses out to the back
corral where the herd was waiting patiently to be let out on the
range once more. They removed the halter of their horse (after I
instructed them how to do it) and their horse was now back in the
herd. Goldie was wanting to join them, as she stood by the barn
gate, but I had to take her back to barn "B" to un-saddle her.

     Everyone was happy. Jack gave me a tip that paid for my gas
plus some. We said our "good-bye" to each other until next time.

     I jumped up (one of my good strong days where I do a jump
into the left stirrup - one of those Roy Rogers mounting stirrup
jumps) into the stirrup and turned Goldie around (as she was 
looking through the barn gate at the herd) to go back to the other 
barn. She knew exactly the ropes of it all, and was quite willing to 
lope out of the main barn to barn "B" and be unsaddled, and taken 
out to join her friend Applejack in the herd. Which went all as she 
expected. Goldie went well today, but now and again I could feel her 
saying to me, "Come on, let me go, I want to bast away on a good
gallop." Maybe on Friday ... maybe I'll open her up in a run, but
that will depend on may factors, the condition of the surface of
what I call "the race track" being all important.

     Bob and Sandi were coming up the alley-way by the herd on
their horses. We talked for a few minutes, I said my "so-long
till Friday" (they say it's to be very nice weather on Friday) to
them, and by 1:30 pm I was heading back to my afternoon/evening
job as a music teacher.


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