Stories from the Stringam Family Ranches of Southern Alberta

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Sunday, March 18, 2012

Riding Lessons

See? Blue.
When my husband married me, he got more than he expected.
I came with baggage.
More correctly.
A horse.
Blue in colour.
Aptly named, 'Bluey'.
Okay, so creative, we weren't.
Bluey was . . . not a pretty horse.
She was an appaloosa mare.
About ten years old.
Like many of her breed, she had no mane.
And an embarrassment for a tail.
But she was gentle and quiet.
Patient and un-stampedable.
Perfect for farm kids.
But she had one fault.
She was tall.
Too tall for the average child to climb on unassisted.
And that's where my story starts.
Mark and Erik, our two oldest boys, were in Bluey's field.
Mark, 4, especially loved to ride.
But neither he nor his younger brother could climb up on their gentle friend.
Even though she was perfectly willing to stand quietly while they tried.
First, it was Erik helping his brother.
But they quickly discovered that three-year-old Erik's muscles simply weren't up to the task.
Finally, Mark had an idea.
He could help his little brother get up on Bluey.
At least one of them could have fun.
I have often imagined the conversation . . .
Mark: “Here, Erik, I'll boost your up.”
Erik (eyeing the mare suspiciously): “I want to go home.”
Mark: “In a minute. First, you get to have a little ride.”
Erik: “Don't want to ride.”
Mark: “Yes you do. It's fun.”
Erik: “Pretty sure I don't.”
Mark: “You're little. What do you know? C'mon.”
Erik: “Sigh.”
He submitted.
Once he was safely installed, Mark stepped back.
And gave the mare a slap.
'To get her going'.
She went.
Right out from under Erik.
Not a good thing.
A short time later, two boys came to the house.
One in tears.
They had both learned an important lesson.
The hardest thing about learning to ride is the ground.


  1. aww! The ground sure is the most important part of learning.The horses I'm with usually like to step on feet lol


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Diane was born and raised on one of the last of the great old Southern Alberta ranches. A way of life that is fast disappearing now. Through her memories and stories, she keeps it alive. And even, at times, accurate . . .

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