Mind you, my experience with horses up until my move to Montana was with well broke, older guys. Horses that had been around the block. Who had seen their share of greenhorns and dudes and who had developed a benign tolerance for the inexperienced rider. Horses who would bide their time, accepting me on their back, until they could get back to the barn and to their preferred vocation - eating. I'm sure a number of them even rolled their benevolent, kind eyes when they saw me approach. Fancied myself a decent rider, I did. Mostly managed to stay on (there was one glaring exception, as my sister will probably remember), mostly managed to look like the real deal. Ish. I had the boots, anyway. And I kept my back straight.
|Baby boy, Tulsa|
The Most Beautiful Horse on the
Face of the Planet
Happily, our horses have done just fine out on winter pasture, thank you very much, and are due here in a month or so! It'll be so good. It was a huge surprise for me when I discovered how much I missed having them here at the ranch. (Although, when we turned them out, I was in tears and they just walked away without so much as a how do you do, so my missing them may be one sided!) Looking forward to having another broken or bruised body part because I don't know enough to stay out of their way and not allow them in my personal space! They need to come back - I've taken to naming the moose pair who have been crisscrossing the pasture. Tulip and Lily. I know... An homage to my friend, Julie, an amazing gardener with a wicked sense of humor.
|Our Allison with Bayley, Ranch Dog|
|Bill, Allison and our hunter/jumper Pink|
Horses are a way and a means of life up here at the ranch. The beloved is an amazing horseman, mostly fearless (but cautious when required), in tandem with whichever horse he's working at the moment. Of late, it's been my big, beautiful, aforementioned paint colt and baby boy, Tulsa who will be all of three years old this coming July 4th. And Pink, a glorious sorrel filly that we came to own in a roundabout way. Pink started out terribly fearful, probably five years old, although we're not sure of that. She had never been handled by a human, never been away from her mother, and had to be caught and put in a stock to get a halter (a pink halter, hence her name) on her so she could get into the trailer that would bring her to her new home. When Bill first started working with Pink in the round pen, she was terrified and looking for any escape. She's not a tall horse, but she cleared a five foot fence with ease (see attached photographic evidence). Cleared it multiple times.
|Pink and our yearling filly, Sweet Grass in the round pen|
As the summer progressed, she calmed and learned, but remained a bit aloof and unsure. She was at ease with Allison, and even learned to enjoy a bath (we have photographic evidence of that as well, but will have to clear that with Allison!). She was brushed and groomed and had gentle hands on her body - nothing in anger, nothing to make her fearful. Bill was sure to work her with other horses in the round pen at first so that she would have a "herd" and a feeling of safety.
She's come a long way, thanks to Bill's skills as a horseman and trainer. At the end of summer, just before we sent her to winter out where the snow isn't 30 feet deep, he got on her back and rode her in the round pen. I have no pictures - just some of him putting some weight in the saddle a few days before. I was, as Bill says, in the moment. She'll be a fine, fine horse, trained with patience and time, leadership, love and care.
|Bill and Pink, trust at the end of the summer|
|Tulsa, hooking on|
This ranch and this country are places to learn. About life in the West. About horses. About what it takes to be a true friend. I've found that lessons abound in all of those things.
|Me and Two Medicine. He's reliable, honest, and takes good care of this neophyte!|