WRANGLING ON THE RANGE #66
It was a Spring like day, the first Sunday in April, feeling
like the last Sunday of April. Partly fluffy clouds and nice
bright blue sky. The Canadian Rockies were splattered with snow,
all except old Saddle Horn mountain, shaped like a roping
saddle's horn, hence no snow can stay on top, well very seldom
and then only for a day or two.
Got to the Ranch about 11:15 a.m. The crew had brought in
the horses and were in the process of saddling them up. The two
Moreen's were in today, Sandi had the day off. A few other guys
helping out, did not know them, but they were connected with Bob
and the two Moreen's. An older man was there who had been
working for Dan before he left. Dan went on his own for one
year, but then decided to call it quits in the Trail Riding
industry. He's now 65 so with Canada Pension and Old Age
Security, he can retire, so he did.
The Ranch was having about 20 out for a 1 p.m. ride,
different groups of people, but all novices so all going as one
I brushed down Goldie, combed out her mane and tail and
moved her over to barn "A" - I always bring her into barn "B" -
that is where I keep her tack, and we use barn "B" for the summer
camp, and the first day of teaching the "ponies" kids group.
She enjoys it though over in barn "A" as she can push open
the box stall door and the gate into the barn arena, with her
nose. She had not forgotten over the winter months. Anything you
teach a horse they will remember for their life time. When Roy
Rogers retired the original Trigger he would say that no matter
how old Trigger got he still remembered the tricks taught to him.
I talked to our "short" Moreen (the tall Moreen is John's
girl-friend if you've forgotten). I asked how the winter had
gone, and she said nothing too much except regular work, but she
and a friend had been to the Dominion Republic for a 10 day
holiday. We talk a little about such nice warm holiday places. I
told her I'll like to do a three week package tour of Hawaii -
one of those where you go with a guided tour and visit all the
islands of Hawaii. Then I said a nice Caribbean Cruise would be
next on my list. She said she had been on one, and it was real
nice, like a 5 star hotel. We talked about how GREAT the food is
on those cruise ships. We both agreed you'd need to do a week
before "part fast" so you could enjoy all the food those
ships provide you with.
Some of the 1 p.m. people were not going to make it on time,
they called, said they would be 1:30 or so before they got there.
Bob decided to let us take out those that had arrived, and he
would take out the late-comers. So I helped one lady up on
Applejack, and then a young girl up on a smaller horse called "Squaw."
"I've never done this before," the girl told me, "and I'm
"Oh, no need to be scared, Squaw here is so gentle and so
very well behaved. You do not have a thing to worry about," I
told her with a smile.
"Really, is that true?" she asked, still not quite sure
about the whole thing of riding a horse.
"Yes, that is most certainly true, Squaw is as reliable as
the rising of the sun. You'll be just super fine on Squaw."
She finally smiled and relaxed. I mounted her up, showed her
how to hold the reins, steer, stop, and move forward.
All were up and away we went. I led on Goldie, three of the
ponies were directly behind, little Warren behind Goldie, if
Warren is used he always goes behind my horse, so he's very used
to following Goldie. There was a cold winds blowing up so I took
them on a half in the open and half in the trees trail. They all
had good heavy clothes on for a biting wind, but a lot did not
have gloves on, which they probably wished they had, by the time
we got back. The Ranch being in the foothills of the Rockies, the
temperature can be colder than in the city, especially at this time of
the year. Often the city people will forget that they are coming to a
Ranch in the foothills. We do carry extra jacket and sweaters, but
Goldie was good up to the last half mile, then she figured
the slow pace was just a drag, and was pulling to let me know she
wanted to go at her normal speed. Well we made it back and
everyone enjoyed themselves.
"Okay girl," I said to Goldie, "let's go out and have a run,
You've been itching for it, I know."
We headed down the road that brings you into the Ranch.
There is a nice long section for a lope, and so I let her out. we
went a mile or so. Turned around and loped most of the way back,
which was harder for her, as she just wanted to fly in an all out
"Sorry girl can not do that today, you still have your
winter coat on, and you are already sweating a little, so just a
lope for today."
By the time we got back, the hands had turned out the horses
onto the range. They were closing early to all go eat in town,
for it was "Easter Sunday" for them and they did not want a long
work day. I unsaddled my horse, led her out to the back corral and
alleyway. She knew where Applejack was and the others, and trotted
off in happiness to join them on the sunny range.
For me, that was the beginning day one once more into another
season of trail riding (and not far away, the summer camp) on the
Ranch in the foothills of the mighty Canadian Rockies.
To be continued