WRANGLING ON THE RANGE #7
I had taken wood out to the Ranch to build this years
"cavalletti" (Italian word "cavalletto" singular and "cavalletti"
plural - meaning "little horse" or little horses" in English what
we call a "sawhorse" - a stand of some kind that elevates
materials for a carpenter). I had been using plastic boxes of
different sizes with sand in them, to pull the jumping poles on,
but left outside over the winter the plastic gets brittle, a
number of them had pretty well broken apart. So now it was time
to go a little more professional, and build my own cavalletti.
I had miscalculated the number of planks I would need, so
back to the Lumber Yard for more. This time for this year I had
Out at the Ranch the sun was shining but a cold nip in the
air this day, just enough to tell us Spring had not yet fully
I set about cutting and nailing and finishing my end stands
(cavalletti) for the jumping poles. The owern came by.
"Just coming to finish off putting together my harrows," he
"Yes, I see them and they look like new ones."
"They are. Need to harrow the ranges to get some good grass
growing this year."
"Well with all the manure the harrows will spread around,
there should be some fine grass out there on the ranges."
"Well that is the idea Keith, and I need some good new heavy
"They do look heavy and with the drag bars on them, they
should work super good," I replied.
I finished my cavalletti building and put them in the trunk
and back seat of my car, and took them down to the outside arena,
where I will set the jumps up till the summer camp starts in
I was back now at the barn, and was there when a lady and
two children about 10 years of age, came in from a ride they had
been on. Bob went to meet them by the barn door. I overheard the
lady say, "Well we had a little excitement on our ride. I had
just told the girls about how to ride going down hill in the
snow, if the pony should slip, and no soon finished my talk, when
it was my horse that slipped."
Bob said nothing.
I got thinking afterwards, now the boys must have sold this
lady a "membership" as no guide was with her. A membership allows
you to have no guide, but when Dan ran the place, no one, not
even a member could take out anyone under 18 years of age.
Members are not always super horse people as such. But putting
that to one side, someone taking out young children on their own,
at a Trail Riding Ranch, is sooner or later asking for serious
trouble. And this situation was a lady with no other adult,
riding with two young girls in the snow, mud and sometimes still
frozen areas ... just NOT the way to safely run things at all.
So this is another "first" that I've seen happen in the years
I've been associated with the Ranch, which is 6 years this
summer. But until last November Dan was the fellow running it
all. The boys were not doing that much as such, and one of them
could have easily gone along with the lady and the two young
girls. So I have to shake my head and wonder what else is going
to be "allowed" before there is a serious accident. I know Dan
used to tell me there was always accidents in the way it was run
before he took over. Dan had worked on the ranch in another
department for 17 years before he took over the trail riding side
when the owner decided to retire. He used to tell me that if the
owners ever took over again it would probably go back to the
sloppy way it had been.
I am sorry to see that Dan could well be right. If it does
return to those old days again, then it will be only a matter of
time before I'll have to find another Ranch for Goldie and me. I
know where Dan has set up his business and he has left the door
open for me to "look him up."
Then there are other Ranches around that do not cater to
trail riding, just Ranches where you can "board" your horse -
there are a number of them. There is one Ranch where they do
"equestrian" also, so I may go visit them and check things out
just to keep my options open.
Did not ride Goldie this day. Did spend a few minutes
training her on the side-step, especially to the left where she
is the weakest. Did it from the ground as I explained last time.
Headed come some earlier than usual, as I had on this day
done what I specifically had gone out to do.
To be continued