WRANGLING ON THE RANGE #64
Overall this winter of 2009/2010 was a mild, easy winter,
with not much snow, compare that to the East coast of North
America, and Britain and Europe, and it is quite the contrast.
March 7th - Sunday - a warm sunny and beautiful day. It was
time for me to head to the Ranch, get my saddle and comer back
and take Goldie out for a ride. She is still on the range just 10
minutes from where I live. It's been three months since I saddled
her up and rode out.
It's been real nice having her so close to me over the
winter months; I had forgotten how far it was out to the
Ranch; it's about 40 minutes, but just seems so far away when
I've only had to travel 10 minutes for the past months.
I arrived at the Ranch, being a lovely day there was some
action going on, the main barn door was open. I put my bridle and
saddle in my car and headed over to the main barn just to say hi.
Moreen (Bob's girlfriend) was the first one to say hello to me,
"Hi Keith, been a while since we've seen you, how are you?" I
replied I was keeping very well.
Bob and Sandi were down the barn some, there were some
horses saddled so I knew they had a little business for the day.
"Hi Bob, I see you have grown a 'mushy' - it looks good on
you." He smiled and we shook hands. "Good to see you also Sandi."
She smiled her warm smile.
"I've just come out to get my saddle, I haven't ridden my
horse in three months, figured I better do so. Well, I've heard
from Betty that Tom (the owner's son) is no longer with us
running the horse rental business, does not want to do it any
more I hear. Well, we still have Sandi."
Sandi smiled and said, "Ya, just as good as having Tom
right!" I smiled and replied, "Sure thing," as I squeezed her
"Well, if I do not see you before, I'll see you in April,
when I bring Goldie back and start to help you out again, as much
as I can."
"Sounds good Keith, thanks," replied Bob.
It is tough today to run a horse renting ranch. I know Bob
had said last December that "insurance rates" had gone up again,
and they were not the cheapest to start with. Just not at all
easy in today's world to operate a commercial trail riding Ranch.
Speaking lately to Betty, she told me it was now basically Bob
and herself who would be running the show. She said she had had a
2 hour meeting with Bob to talk things over, and see where they
were going with it all, as she has often said, it has to be a
team effort, the trail riding and summer came working together as
a team, not in competition against each other, but working
together for the benefit of the two businesses.
I left the Ranch and headed back. The 6 horses and little
Terry the pony (Goldie's friend) were happy to see me pull in.
They have got used to me coming around every other day, to give
them some hay cubes. I call them, and they come running in
anticipation for their treat. I sprinkle the hay cubes around in
a large circle where they can all have some, without any fighting
or the bossy ones keeping the others from eating. I waited until
they were finished, then put the halter on Goldie and brought her
over to the gate about 100 yards from where I feed them.
"Well girl, it's been three months since we went out for a
ride you and I, it's time to get back into the saddle."
I started to brush her down and she was some upset over not
being allowed to be with her friends. Goldie has always, from
birth, been with other horses, so she is very much a "herd"
horse, and three months just being a herd horse....well she had
got to like it. I had to speak firm to her a few times. Once I
threw the saddle up on her, she remembered what it was all about
and settled down.
I mounted up, "Okay girl, let's go see the country-side
around here, this will all be kinda new to you, this ride and
scenery will be new, but there's a few other horses you'll see
along the way."
As Goldie moved out you could sense the pent-up athleticism
in her body, she was really wanting to go, although at the same
time she did not want to leave her friends. There was another
horse Ranch nearby, I believe it is the Ranch of a man called
Sam and his wife (they "board" horses for the main part of their
business with horses). Sam used to run the trail riding at the
Ranch years back, before my time with them. But I met him
last summer at the Ranch when he came out to do some work
for Betty on her new office and tack shop. Sam is a "handy-man"
type and does all kinds of jobs for people who hire him. I took
Goldie down the long drive-way into where Sam had a number of
horses, but no person was around so head back out. I did pass a
car on the main dirt road, the woman driving and I exchanged
waves; the car turned into Sam's ranch road, I thought the lady
had probably been Sam's wife, whom I've never met.
I headed with Goldie for the main hard-surfaced road that
leads into town and most of the way out to the Ranch.
It has a nice wide, about 40 years wide, grassy side way, really
nice to ride along. Moving long to the West, Goldie seeing the
nice flat spread and good footing of the grass, she wanted to
have a flat out gallop. I moved her into a slow trot and then a
slow canter or lope. But I could just feel her saying to me, "Oh,
let me loose, give me the slack in the reins, I want to fly."
I said to her, "Well, I know you want to fly girl, it's been
a long three months since you've had a good run, but look, you
are sweating up already, you still have your winter coat on and I
just can't open you up."
We had a nice ride for about a mile, many in the cars coming
our way, looked over and smiled, some honked their horns, the
bike riders all waved, and I waved back. Yes spring was in the
air, and everyone was enjoying it all.
We passed the large horse boarding Ranch and some of the horses
in their large range-type paddocks. The young lady that is manager
also used to work for the Ranch at one time; I've met her and a very
nice lady she is. I turned Goldie around and we head back. She was
pleased to get back to her little herd of friends. I gave them all another
bucket full of hay cubes, which they once more came a running for,
and ate up with joy.
That was the first ride with Goldie in three months, a good
one, some new sights for her at least, I drive that highway all the time
when going out to the Ranch. I'll see her and her friends again in two
To be continued