WRANGLING ON THE RANGE #60
There was a dark haze hanging over the western part of
the city this Sunday, November 22nd 2009. I thought for a few
minutes on my heading out to the Ranch, that I may have to turn
around and stay home, but as I was leaving the city limits, there
was sunshine over the Rockies, and it was quite good weather when
I arrived at the Ranch about noon.
The main barn door was open as I drove into the parking spot
I use, so I knew there was going to be some riding activity
today. And indeed so, there were a few members coming out to ride and
two guided rides, one at 1 pm and the other at 3 pm.
Goldie was waiting for me in the back corral, up on top of
the frozen dung pile, away from the other horses. She has
Applejack as a friend, but he was already inside, saddled and
ready to be used on the 1 pm ride. My horse really does not have
that many friends in the herd, she is very much still after 4 and
1/2 years at the Ranch, on the bottom of the pecking order. A few
ponies that hooked up with her during the summer are now on the
winter range (at another location the own has where there is
no problem with "wolves" coming to hunt them down) or at Betty's
ranch-home. Goldie will climb up on top of the dung pile to be by
herself and away from the other horses, if Applejack has already
been taken inside the barn.
She was happy to see me, knowing I give her that special
mash, which she dug into with glee, when I brought it to her. I
soon had her brushed and combed and saddled and over to the main
Caroline (a lady that used to keep her horse at the Ranch)
came in looking upset and concerned. We soon found out why. Paul
has his horse and Jane's (you might remember Jane, she is the
6'2" young lady and ace basketball player - she works for Betty
in the summer camp) horse named Kasper, on a range about an hour
north of the Ranch. Paul had gone up to see how they were doing. He
found Kasper badly cut on one leg and on the face - he had had
himself into barbed wire. Paul had called Caroline to come up with
her trailer, but discovered he had the trailer-hitch for her trailer in his
truck, so her trailer was without a hitch for their truck. She had come
out to the Ranch to see if someone else had the same kind of hitch,
so she could borrow it. Well the long and short of it was that Tyler
(Tom's cousin) let her borrow his truck and trailer. And so away she
I've asked Betty to let me know how things went. Caroline lives
close to Betty.
Some horses as I've said before are somehow prone to getting
into trouble with barbed wire, you may remember not too long ago
one of Betty's horses had a run-in with the wire fence. That
horse is fine now, but apparently Kasper cut himself up near an
artery or large blood vessel and so is more serious an injury.
The 1 pm ride was a father and daughter and another young
couple. The little girl wants to take riding lessons, but will
wait for the springtime. I went on one of the mainly tree line
trails, but coming back was through the north valley; a wind had
come up and so I told all that we would quicken up the pace, as
it was a cold wind and we were walking into it. The little girl
was riding Warren - a black pony, and was directly behind me. As
I gave command for Goldie to walk at her normal walk speed,
little warren would trot to keep up with Goldie. The other horses
also would then trot. The little girl got a big happy laugh when
Warren trotted up. I had already told them all to hold the saddle
horn, when the horses trotted, as none of them had done much
We arrived back all safe and sound, and though somewhat
cold, they all had enjoyed themselves. I was cold also, so off I
went over to barn "B" and put on a few more layers of clothing. I
went to the Restaurant and got myself a nice hot-chocolate, put
the staff room heater on, and warmed up, ready for the 3 pm trial
ride people to arrive.
As happens, the one couple got lost trying to find the Ranch;
they phoned and got more direction on how to get to us from where
they were. The other couple had arrived. Sandi and Moreen
decided they would not hold this couple back, so I was off on the
trail with the couple who were there, and Moreen would lead the other
couple when they got to us.
The couple I was leading out, were Mat and Jess - Mat about
18 or 19 as he had finished High School and was working for a
year before going to University. Jess was finishing grade 12.
They were born and raised Calgarians (I say that because a high
percentage of Calgary people are from other areas of Canada - big
oil and gas town so it brings people in from all over the place.)
They were boy and girl friend, meeting each other in the same
High School. Very nice young couple. We chatted about what they
would take in University, and both were planning on a "business"
degree. We chatted about the Ranch, the horses, about
"membership" riding. Jess had ridden before, but Mat had not, it
was his first time. He had an 8 year old sister that takes riding
"Does your sister ride English or Western." I asked him.
"Is there a difference?" he answered.
I told him the difference, and he said, "Well I have really
"Okay, so now you know the difference, when you get home you
can ask her if she rides English or Western." He said he would
sure do that.
They had a good time, and it was a little warmer on their
ride, no wind, so they were happy. I think they'll be out again
Goldie has been asking me in the last two times I've been
out, for her galloping run, and she was asking again today.
"Okay girl, let's go back into the north valley and I think
the ground is fine, dry and no snow, for you to have your long
awaited run. She was happy to trot down to the valley, get to the
far end, turn left towards a slight uphill slope, and she knew
when I let the reins slack, she could go for it, and with a
spring in her legs away she flew. At the speed she goes it was
all over in seconds - the 200 metre dash. We pulled up, walked
around the rest of the circle trail back into the valley. She of
course was ready to go for it again.
"Just a slow canter girl, that's all, just a slow canter, to
the valley gate."
She was hoping I would slack off on the reins, but I had
said no, only a slow canter, and that is all we did.
With the winter coat of hair (as she now has) it is very
easy to get a horse sweating, and it takes forever to dry them
off. So I knew it had to be a slow canter only through the
valley, and a walk for the remaining 1/2 mile to the barn.
The herd is divided into two herds right now, as one part of
the horses are under "clinical trials" for the de-wormer product
the "Animal science-lab" is conducting, and with them are also
put the older horses and ponies. So on a day like today, both
parts of the herd had to be brought in from the range they are on,
because of the two ponies that were needed for the afternoon trail
I helped Sandi and Moreen as they made sure they had the
right horses and ponies in the right split herd group. Goldie was
now standing next to her friend Applejack, and they would soon be
back out on the range.
I wished the two young ladies (Sandi and Moreen) a pleasant
week, and it was back to the city for me.