**All photos thanks to the lovely riding-partner, Sarah :)
The last weekend until the big move out west! I got there bright and early and waited for a friend of mine (another Riding Leader named Sarah) to arrive. I discovered that The Rancher had gone to the Innisfail auction and brought home 4 new horses! An older, smaller arab (fingers crossed that she'll turn into a little kids beginner horse), a bay who wasn't approachable (ugh), a big stout palomino (perfect, stout is what we need and kids do love pallys) and a big gronky sorrel, who had nice eyes but a bit of an ugly head (you can't win 'em all). Although 4 new horses to the string is exciting and excellent news, it means that yours truly has to find time to ride all of them out before even counsellors can go on them. A broke horse can suddenly rear it's green head when confronted with a new, chaotic situation such as saddling time in the shed during summer. Also... as we all know, just because they seem broke in the sale ring, don't mean anything. A project for next week my friends!
Sarah on Timber... do you want to be on my blog? haha questions I should have asked before publishing your face on the internet
Sarah arrived and The Rancher told us we could go ride out in the neighbors lease where Jingle was, and hopefully find him. He had been spotted down by the fence line by a guy who lives out there during the week, so we hoped for the best and went to grab some horses. What an adventure grabbing horses was! None of my options could be found, and poor Sarah found hers right off the bat. The entire herd thought it would be hilarious to run and totally mob her and she led her big baby Timber around. I started resorting to plan D, E and F, but again - absolutely none of those buggers could be caught. I've detailed before how tremendously annoying it is that our string is so, so bad at being caught... ugh. So, we headed to the barn, saddled Timber (who was having some serious herd bound insecurities at this point) and I jumped on him to chase in the horse I wanted, Navy, who was across the river. Sarah grabbed Navy and I chased the rest of the horses out, opened up the gates heading to the lease and went to close another gate so the horses couldn't cross back into this particular pasture.
Big Coulee, named after the large gorge/coulee that runs through the entire valley
Let me tell you something... never before have I ever been so astonished in the stupidity of the horse I was handling. Timber literally attempted to WALK THROUGH a barbed wire gate. I almost had a panic attack. He was on top of me for about 4 minutes as a wrestled with this particularly crappy gate, and then, calm as ever, he walked right into it and KEPT GOING. I feared the worst, dropped the reins, dropped the gate, untangled the reins and led him back out of the barbed wire mess. Thank the lord he was fine and not a scrape to be seen, but I was pretty grumpy at this point.
Another shot of big coulee
We FINALLY got everything together, grabbed lunch, and headed out. The lease we were riding on is absolutely spectacular riding. There is a bit of a canyon/gorge in the middle, with massive rock walls on either side, and a stream running down the centre - absolutely breathtaking. We rode the ridge of the gorge for awhile, scouted out the land from some high spots, but not a Jingle in site... ugh. 4 hours later we headed home, with no Jingle with us... total bummer. However, the riding was excellent, as was the company - love you Sarah :) so I suppose I shouldn't complain.
We got back, fed our ponies, let them loose, and then went to go see the new horses. We discovered the Palomino and Sorrel had trapped themselves inside one of our shelters, and the Palomino had got his legs very cut up some how, we assume he put them through a panel and pulled back. We brought him in, sprayed and scrubbed him down - he stood like a gentleman, I was pleased, and then I sprayed him with Vetricyn and let him back out. The next day his cuts looked to be healing, and there wasn't much blood - plus he was walking much, much better, so hopefully that little surface wound doesn't slow him down. I doubt it will.
The ridge to the left is our lease
We eventually got dinner (after having to go to two seperate resteraunts), and by the time we got home my head couldn't hit the pillow fast enough.
Sunday, I expected a quiet, nice and easy going down. My arms ached so bad, and my brain was fried. Of course, when you wish for something calm - the opposite always happens. We were pulling our studs, 2 of which came easily and well natured, the other 2 - not so much. I found myself chasing a band of mares, and one of our studs, Leo, off a hillside, in pouring rain and hail, and then sliding straight down a steep incline - am I crazy? Yes, Yes I am. That's the thing with chasing horses and myself - the rational side of my brain totally shuts down, and then I find myself careening down a cliffside, jumping over logs, hooting and hollering, and it's only when I look back on it do I think, "Am I -explicit word- stupid? I should not do -explicit word- like that"
Waterfalls have sprouted up due to all the rainfall
Once I dried off, we planned to get the last stud, check over the mares and babies and then call it quits. Well... a prospective buyer, and her 3 children and 2 friends appeared... and guess we got to take them out for a ride? That's right - me. I could have fallen asleep on the saddle at this point. I took them to our lookouts so she could get a good lay of the land, and by 5 pm the sun was actually shining, and it turned into a nice ride. The lady was really, really nice, and her families experience and name in the horse world really impressed me. With all the saddness that surrounds the sale of my beautiful, beloved home away from home, I truly hope some really nice, genuine people buy it. These people fit that bill, I approved.
By the time I got back to the city, I was ready to sleep for 16 years. What a weekend. Never a dull moment at the ranch!
The "after-ride" photo
Sarah got these wicked shots of this owl on a hay bale.. i love them, they may have to become my blog header.