Thursday, December 26, 2013

Ring and Olivia

Ring and Olivia bringing home the Christmas Tree
Some of you may remember Ring, our steady Eddie horse for the Cowboy School right from the get-go. Bob ranch roped with him some, and over the years he taught many people how to rope while taking good care of them.  He was just about unflappable. The only time I remember him getting spooked was at the water trough down by the river on the PRE ranch in Arvada. There was always as much methane gas coming out of that well as there was water, and he took exception to the noise and the water spitting rudely at him when he tried to drink. After the initial snorting and blowing he accepted it, but he never liked it.

Ring and Bob had some adventures together, and maybe the scariest one happened the first year we worked at the PRE. It happened in the river not too far from that water trough. Bob had to go into the river to block a bull that had been chased into the stream by a student who shall remain anonymous--mostly because I have forgotten his name. Bob didn't know the river really well at that time, and the bull plunged into a boggy spot, of which there are many in the Powder River. Ring went in beside the bull, who--having no weight on his back--made it through with only a little floundering. The horse wasn't so lucky. Watching from the bank, I thought, dang, I'm going to lose my husband and a good horse today. Time seemed to drag on and on as Ring kept lunging forward through the quicksand, with Bob encouraging him rather forcefully. Eventually they found solid footing and made it to the river bank, where they could stop and catch their breath. Ring, however, had received a nasty cut on his left front pastern from something submerged in the water. He was out of commission most of the summer, but at least we still had him.

A couple of years ago we decided that the old horse--he was 24 at time--deserved to be retired while he was still sound and could enjoy life without having to adjust to a new rider just about every week. That can be pretty stressful for a horse and he had handled it with grace and patience since about 1997. Tom Hone and Katie Maddox both kindly offered him a retirement home and we knew he would be well cared for at either location. When it came time to leave Wyoming Bob was having serious issues with his back, but could drive as far as South Dakota. Tom met us there to pick up Ring and haul him back to Minnesota, and even though we knew it was the best decision, it wasn't easy to leave him there.

 Tom later sent a picture of him lying down in deep grass, eating! He was obviously adjusting well to retirement. Olivia, however, rode him some that winter and the two bonded quickly. After about a year of negotiation we decided to sell Ring to her parents and it was a good decision. The horse has had the love of a darling young woman and he has taken good care of her through 4H shows (high point trophy) clinics and trail rides. They have shared those magical times when the sun is warm, the world slows down and a girl can just hang out with her horse and her best friend, dreaming of the future, while learning important stuff along the way.

Olivia now has a younger, faster horse that she rides, but she and Ring are still buddies. This winter the tree farm a couple of miles down the road was selling Christmas trees, so she saddled Ring, took a sled and rode him to the farm. As you can see, they got the tree home just fine. Had I known ahead of time I might have been scared to death, but it worked out well. Good horses and good kids just seem to have an understanding about such things. Tom sent us this picture, so I thought I would share. I bet some of you have fond memories from your younger years of time spent with a special horse.

We hope your Christmas was blessed and your New Year will be filled with friends and love.

Bob and Betty 

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

I found this old post when I was cleaning out some files this morning. Roxie agreed to post it "as is."

Sent from Roxie's ipad. October 2012

Here we are in North Platte, Nebraska, I'm in the back of the horse trailer, the cat is in the living quarters with Bob & Bets, and they want me to write a post.  Grrrrr!  Let the cat do it.

Besides, they had all the fun in Ft. Collins and Sperry.  Bob did two roping clinics and a cow working clinic and I didn't get to nip one cow. I ask you--is that fair? I do not count horsemanship clinics 'cause there are no bovines involved--I just learned that word, bovine, and couldn't wait to use it.

I guess they thought I was too busy keeping the Sperry barn cats in line.  Have you ever tried to herd cats?  They are nothing like cows, believe me. First you have to lure them down off the hay bales or feed barrels. Once you have them on the ground you have to dodge razor sharp claws and teeth while rooting them out of the dark corners in the barn. Just when you think you have them all under control and ready to round up, they scatter like quail and you have to begin all over again.  If you don't keep them under surveillance every second they can get away in a flash.  Can I help it if a feed tub gets turned over occasionally?

Bob promised me he would go to the sale barn and pick up some calves when we get back to Arizona. I can herd them out of the pen every morning and back in the pen at night. It is better than nothing, but not like the day Bob and I moved a herd of recalcitrant cows out of the north pasture at the PRE by ourselves.  Well the horse helped. Those were the days.

'Till the next time, keep your kibble dry.