Our Brand of Western Hospitality
Well, folks this is the blog for Spring 2012 for non Facebook people!!
I arrived on 11th March looking forward to seeing the new lobby which was nearing the end of it’s construction. Mostly the ranch remains the same so rest assured. But there are sad changes in that most of the dogs have found homes - Trey is going back home, Rainy to a good family and Millie to a member of ex staff. I will miss them, apart from early morning hunting calls from Millie.
The lobby took shape as I was there and is now modern and beautiful. I was privileged to meet a couple of young ladies who perform in Anchorage, in a trick riding team. They were not allowed to show us their moves (parental control!) but showed us photographs - what talent and bravery.
I rode Dually for a day until I was ill. A rare occurrence for me but Heidi plied me with tea and sympathy and I only missed 1 and a half day's riding. I then moved on to Casper who was great especially leading rides as we showed new wranglers some of the routes. I led a very interesting ride showing Caleb the way to Salt Lick 7 - unfortunately I didn't really remember the proper way back from Stag Rock, in fact I'm not even sure we ever were at Stag but after bushwacking up and down very steep draws we got to the Jail with a sigh of relief.
The weather was exceptionally warm and in the high 60's.
I was very privileged to ride Rosie the daughter of Smokey now aged 4, whom I was allowed to name when she was born. Chelsea has been her wrangler since the beginning and is very fond of her. She is going to be a little bit chunkier than the average Quarter horse due to her ancestry and not a fast girl but she was very well behaved for a youngster and did everything asked of her.
On Monday I was lucky to go to Kansas. Well, I thought I was lucky. Jeff and Charlie were fetching horses from winter pasture and to try and ensure Iron Man came back I went along for the ride. It was a long 4 and a half hour journey there but the flatness of Kansas was relieved by little farmsteads and interesting hills. The horses were supposed to have been lured into a holding pen but when we got there not a sight of them was to be seen. We found a small bunch and Charlie managed to get hold of Oliver and tack him up but when they got bored with the feed we had with us they decided to have a new game of letting us chase them over the 9000 acres available to them.
Well, we didn't actually traverse 9000 acres as there were a few wire fences but as they galloped off into the horizon it looked a hopeless task. After Oliver was worn out, Charlie continued on foot while Jeff and I followed in the truck trying to help without wrecking the vehicle. I say I helped - I just sat there and gave encouragement! We got halters on Matches and Calvin but Matches got free. Calvin was tied up and stayed there for the duration of the round up - such a good boy! After a few abortive attempts with Charlie heroically running to and fro they appeared to give up and went into the pen where we caught and haltered them and loaded up into two trailers- 15 in one and 10 in the other and drove back to the ranch. We stopped at Wendy's (other hamburger joints are available!) and a man who had looked at our horses tried to keep us there - he obviously wanted to talk about horses but we had a long journey ahead of us and couldn't be as chatty as we would have liked. We had a safe journey home and who knows if the horses were sad or glad to be back at the ranch with work instead of play to look forward to for the next few months.
On Thursday an unexpected or rather an early foal arrived, born to a rather grumpy mare with the name of J-Boy. There was a bit of a crisis due to a retained placenta and although I won’t go into the gory details it was good that Tony had been on a special foaling course! Kellie did her best impression of a gynaecologist and all was well. Later on I got to hold the foal to have it’s first injections and Adrienne got to sterilise it’s navel.
On my last week-end there was an influx of old staff members and it was great to see Josh Davies and his wife, Russell Halderman, Peter and Nicole Hurt, Josh Stone and the Freyschlag family. We all went on a great big ride to Stoner's Castle on Saturday afternoon splitting into various groups and meeting up there, Caroline came too.
Can’t wait for Horsemanship Week in October!!