**where art thou camera cord? This is going to be a very wordy, picture less post.. I apologize.
Saturday morning I showed up at the ranch and discovered the owner (We shall here on out called him "The Rancher") had brought home some of the horses during the week. I will admit, my little heart skipped a beat, but slowed down when all I saw was black and white paints, an overo and some quarter horses - no baby tobiano in this bunch. I soon realized it was all the horses that I had seen on my last weekends out, I went around and petted some noses, and gave some kisses, and headed inside.
Once inside, The Rancher told me that he had discovered my horse, however, I knew that since my horse wasn't in the yard... this was probably not the best of news. Apparently, some of our horses had been spotted on a neighbors lease (which is unhabitated, and 10 miles up our lease). The Rancher had driven down and taken out the binoculars, and low and behold, there was my boy... with three little 3-4 year olds. First off, Jingle, why are you being such a creep? Hang out with horses your own age. Secondly, of course he is miles away - the escapades of a wild horse continue.
So, we formulated a game plan, (Okay.. The Rancher formulated a game plan, and I nodded as if I understood what in the world we were doing), I was to go out and catch Marchessa, and her full sister Della, two absolutely massive paint mares, who are total "water hogs", aka, are not bothered by the very high water we are experiencing - we weren't sure how the river crossings were going to be, so we needed horses that wouldn't bat an eye at some fast moving water. The Rancher was to go put a new spark plug in the quad, and hope it runs again. Then, we were to load up our horses, and the quad in the horse trailer - drive to the neighbor's lease, and then try to locate missing horsies.
Welllllll.... Marchessa was in heat, big time, and we don't breed our dude string mares, but she had it in her mind that she was going to get out of the pasture our string is in, and then she was going to parade around every stud field we have until someone paid attention to her. Nope, big mare, your coming with me. After running around like a big idiot for a couple minutes, she settled down and I got a halter on her. We saddled her up and then I had to go get Della.
Della wasn't coming so easy, infact, she crossed a river on me. So, back to the barn I went, got Marchessa, and headed out to chase in Della. Then... once in, I had to catch her, and THEN I had to switch saddles on the two mares. By the time we had the two big mares loaded, and the quad in the stock trailer, it was 11, and we decided to take an early lunch. Have I mentioned how exceedingly annoying it is that our ranch horses are not easily caught in open fields? You never think about it in the summer because we run them into the corrals, sort them, and tie them, and barely any catching is ever done.
The Rancher told me stories of him and his dad heading out 50 years ago to bring in wild horses, and that sometimes it could take them from dawn to dusk to get home from the area we were heading. Great - my horse thinks he's a wild horse. We headed out, and The Rancher took the quad to open the adjacent gates into our land - SUPRISE! Someone had pushed cattle through our lease onto this one, and had left the gates open - thanks, -explicit word here-. Second suprise - the original estimated 5-8 horses was a little underestimated, our entire dude string had migrated to this lease - about 40 horses in total. So, we headed out and chased them home.
The chase was pretty uneventful, Della had a beautiful slow motion jump over a large log, and we had to do the 'ol hand on the horn-legs up and out, through a river crossing but otherwise our ponies headed home in a very non-wild fashion. However, the question of the hour - was Jingle in the herd? The answer my friends is, no. My horse is giving me a big run for my money, and absolutely refuses to just be civilized and come home.
So, alas, Jingle is still out in the wild blue yonder, with his posse of young untamed horses, and hopefully this weekend is the weekend to bring my bad boy home.
Once we had returned home, we sorted and counted the herd, as well as some big kisses, hellos and pets for all my lovebugs that came home to me! Then, we moved a stud and his mares to a pasture, so the dude string could have a bigger run of the land. Finally, we thought our day was almost over, when we spotted some young colts on the hillside, oh-easy peasy, just get behind them, push them into the yard and slam the gate as they go. Or so we thought... The leader of this young crew of babies is a horse named Doc. I have a soft spot for Doc, a beautiful dun, who looks just like his daddy. However, he is a mischeivous bugger. (I will try to get a photo of him soon for you guys to see). Doc loves escapades, and as I quietly pushed them in, he bolted up and around a cliff and straight up a massive hill on me. So up Della and I went, we chased them up and around and through and down and not once would they go back down that hill. This is not the first time I've had to mountain-goat this damn hill, and let me tell you - each time, my swearing gets worse and worse. Children, and those with soft ears, stay clear. There is nothing fun about rock climbing on a horse and then running full speed through a thick forest. They were already fenced in, and couldn't get back out of the lease, so we left them for the night, and we headed in.
The next morning they had come down and we were able to get them into the corral. Doc, not to be bested, grabbed saddle blankets I was moving from one barn to another and danced around the corral with one in his mouth. (This is a horse we once found having a nap in the centre of a massive stack of bales, he had literally burrowed in when no one was looking, and had decided to take a quick snooze while we were heading out for a ride.) He sure is funny, he's had all his ground work done, and I'd love to ride him, but I've never started a horse before, and I'm afraid his mischevious nature probably wont translate to a soft, easy-going ride from the get-go, so i'll leave that conversation for someone more experienced than I.
Sunday was uneventful, a storm rolled in, and I made barn plans, labelled saddles, and took a little nap on some bales. This upcoming weekend is my last weekend out there, next week is all about packing and then, as of July 1st, I'll be moving in permanantly, and getting ready for, i'm sure, another crazy summer!