WRANGLING ON THE RANGE #65
BACK IN THE SADDLE AND HORSE SEASON AGAIN!
It has been a very mild winter in Western Canada, this long
holiday-week-end, the first week-end of April 2010 is supposed to
be the week-end we shatter all temperature records all over
Canada; from the East to the West to the North, up into the
arctic circle, is supposed to be way above normal temperature.
Here in Alberta, it has started out as they have predicted.
I arranged to meet Betty in town for lunch at noon and
then haul Goldie back to the Ranch. And we did meet as planned.
"Well hi Betty, it has been a while," I said as I gave her a hug.
"Yes it has been Keith, but what a nice mild winter we have
"It could well be a draught year if this is anything to go
by," I replied as we walked into the A&W.
It was a good time to eat and sit and talk, get a few things
"First Betty, I have just stopped in at Grand Saddlery, and
would you believe, Denise and Dick have just yesterday sold their
shop and are moving to B.C. after the Calgary Stampede. They are
semi-retiring, only doing some on the road shows here and there.
"Wow, that is news, will the saddle shop remain?" Betty asked,
"No not as it is now, the place has been sold to Korean
people and they are tearing it all down, and something else is
going up on the land. But the manager there now, is going to have
a small saddle shop out of her home, but certainly not like it is
right now. They have a sale on, so go take a look you may want to
but a few things."
"Yes, I certainly will go and take a look."
"Now that Tom has left," was my question to Diane,
"to pursue other likes in his life, and you had a good meeting
with Bob. Did you discuss who the Ranch may use as their
"No Keith, that is one thing we did not discuss."
"Well maybe it is a good time to try and get John in there
for them and the summer camp horses and ponies, a lot of them are
"Yes, I would sure try, but talking about people moving
away, John has his home up for sale and also wants to move to
"Oh no, it must be in the air," I replied with a smile, then
said, "I wish I could find out if that Dave the Farrier was still
around this part of Alberta. You know the fellow in this 30s that
Dan used, he was a good man, knew his trade super well."
"I think John may know of him and we may then get contact
if he's still here. I'll ask John."
"Now my next question to you is about this new event they
are having in the Calgary Stampede, where the horses go through
this and over that and other moves."
"Keith, I went with my helper Dave, and saw a 3 day clinic
of the event, at the Stampede corral grounds. It is all the kind
of things many of our horses are doing at the Ranch, plus a few
other things they have added. It has been an event going on for
two years in the USA, and is now coming to Canada. Naturally this
first year in the Calgary Stampede it will be by invitation to
those already doing the skill."
"Sounds to me it will be a real crowd pleaser. Then like all
events at the Stampede you will have to be in the top 20 of the
world in that event to qualify for the Calgary Stampede. But it
will become a popular competition in many small towns all over
We talked about a number of other things, and about people
that work for her during the summer camp, and how their winter
had gone. Jane, the young lady out in University, will again
return for the camp, but not until the camp starts, as Betty nor
the Ranch has any work for her until the camp. Her dad has just
left to haul her horse out to her in Victoria, on Vancouver
Island. She thought she better getting him going some before the
We finished eating and away we went to the range where
Goldie and 6 other horses of Betty's have been wintering, just
tem minutes from where I live. It has been great to have had my
horse so close to me over the winter months.
They were happy to see me, but today I had no hay cubes to
give them, I gave them what I had yesterday.
"Goldie girl, we are off back to your old stomping ground,"
I said to her as I haltered and led her into the trailer.
Arriving back at the Ranch, slow but sure, I opened
the trailer door and led Goldie out, stopping when clear of the
trailer and saying, "Yes, take a look girl, remember this place."
She looked around as if to say, "Yep, I remember this."
I led her into barn "B" and mixed up her special mass. She
was happy to have it. Betty and I were both very thirsty so we
headed over to the Restaurant and had a drink and talk some to
Alex, who runs the Restaurant, he is the brother to the owner's wife.
It was good to see him again. He showed us on his digital camera some photos of the house that the owners have just bought in some little
town in Arizona. Tom has also bought 3 acres with a house-trailer on it,
and it looks like he's going to be down there a good bit of the year, or
at least in the winter months. Tom, in his early 20s, does not know what
he wants to do in life right now. He knows he does not want to work in
the Trail Riding business on his dad's ranch.
"Well I have to go and trim up Goldie's feet, " I said to
Betty and Alex, "she's not been trimmed since last November."
I walked into barn "B" and could tell my horse was a little
upset by being left alone, even if she did remember the place.
"You will soon get back into the swing of things around here once
more girl. You'll get to be with your friend Applejack again.
I trimmed up her front feet, then rasped, and they looked
good once more. "I'll do your back hooves on Sunday girl; I need
to give you a good brushing down and get your mane and tail
All that completed, I walked her over to barn "A" with her.
Bob's girl friend Moreen and Sandi were finishing unsaddling
the horse as they had been busy with lots of riders today, being
it a holiday.
"Where Applejack?" I asked.
"Oh he's out as Bob has taken out a ride," was Moreen's
"My horse will be happy to see Applejack again."
"Yes, we know they are buddies," the girls answered.
We talked about the winter months, found out that two of the
horses died over the winter, and that they have about 40 new
horses and ponies. The ponies they bought from Dan, and his two
wagon pulling horses, eight horses from the "Police department"
that Dan was using till he closed down his business last October,
and the rest from the Horse Auction.
I put Goldie in the back corral with some of the others,
ready to be sent out onto the range for the night. That was it
for the day. Told the ladies I would see them on Sunday (this day
being Friday). They informed me they had a big trail ride going
out at 1 pm and could sure use me.
"All being well, I'll be there," I said, and was on my way
The "horse season" at the Ranch has begun!
To be continued