Stories from the Stringam Family Ranches of Southern Alberta

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Sunday, February 12, 2012

A Good Case of Mistaken Identity

Sorrel gelding (or neutered male).
And yes. I can tell the difference . . .
During college, I rode with the LCC Equestrian Team.
It was infinitely more exciting than anything my journalism instructors could teach in the classroom.
Though not quite the same preparation for real life.
Every afternoon, we would present ourselves to our teacher at the tack shed and draw our piece of string.
This is exactly how it sounds.
There was a bundle of old twine strings hanging from a hook just inside the door.
We would each grab one and head out to the pasture.
Once in the pasture, we would pick out a suitable mount (re: one that we could get close to), and place the string around its neck.
Then swung aboard and ride the horse back to the tack shed to . . . tack up.
Simplicity in itself.
The heaviest thing you were ever forced to carry was a piece of string.
Okay, I will admit that everyone else carried bridles, or at the very least a halter.
I was weird.
Moving on . . .
It was a beautiful day.
The sun was shining.
A fairly common occurrence.
The wind wasn't blowing.
Not so common.
I was excited to be out of the classroom and into the field.
So to speak.
I should point out, here, that there were two sorrel (liver brown colour) horses in the herd.
One a gentle gelding (male).
One a sprightly mare (female).
The differences were obvious.
But I was simply looking for 'sorrel'.
I walked up to the first one and slipped my piece of string around its neck.
Then swung aboard.
The trip back to the shed was quick.
I remember being astonished at the spirit the old gelding was showing.
Wow. He'd never had this much life!
This was going to be a good day.
I stopped near the shed door.
My instructor was standing there. “Wow!” he said. “The last person who tried that ended up getting piled.”
'Piled'. That's a cowboy term for . . . piled.
There really isn't a better way to say it.
Back to my story . . .
I looked down at my mount. “You mean this isn't Chico?”
He looked at me strangely. “Umm, Diane, Chico is a boy.”
“Oh. I never even . . .” I slid off the horse. Sure enough, he was a she. “Oops.”
He went on. “GG has never allowed anyone to ride her bareback. She doesn't like it. She just bucks them off.” He looked at me. “Let's try something, shall we?”
“Okay!” My Dad always said that I had more guts than brains.
He was right.
My instructor grabbed a halter and handed it to me.
I exchanged it for the string.
“Now get on.”
I obeyed.
“Let's run some jumps, shall we?”
GG and I went over the entire course.
I will admit that the jumps were small and definitely not a challenge.
But the point is that we did them.
GG and me.
With just a halter.
Something that had never been done before (or since) with that particular horse. 
In that particular tack.
My instructor was smiling when we returned. “I've been wondering who to appoint as team captain,” he said. “Now I know.”
I smiled back.
I still don't know exactly what happened that day.
With that horse.
But I was right.
It was a good day.

13 comments:

  1. Interesting how life happens. I just finished a book, The Eighty Dollar Horse, a plow horse who turned into a champion jumper.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yep. This was supposed to be the plow horse. Instead, I got the jumper!

      Delete
  2. Haha! These days your instructor would have been up for negligence - and we would have missed out on a great story ...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sooo . . . negligence leads to hilarity. I love it! I could use this . . .

      Delete
  3. Wow! I am SO impressed! You must have quite a way with animals... that's one talent I was NOT blessed to be born with! :) I'm always amazed at people who are so good with animals... my youngest son is that way. He loves them all and just seems to be a natural with them.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

      Delete
    2. I never thought I did have a way with horses, Ginger. I just knew I loved them. But it occurs to me that I could make them do whatever I wanted. Probably because I spent every waking moment in their company. And some of my sleeping ones as well! :) They must have thought I was just some funny-looking horse . . .

      Delete
  4. Yes, Ginger, Diane indeed has quite a way with animals. She married me, and didn't even have to use a piece of string. And she is still the Captain of our animal-husbandry team.

    Grant

    ReplyDelete
  5. Diane, indeed it sounds like a good day! To get the jumper horse and be appointed team captain! Indeed a good day, friend! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It certainly doesn't happen every day! :)

      Delete
  6. Glad you didn't get piled:) Thanks for linking up to the NOBH

    ReplyDelete

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