Stories from the Stringam Family Ranches of Southern Alberta

From the 50s and 60s to today . . .



Friday, February 28, 2014

A Royal Welcome

Go on. Give it a pull!
Life on a ranch is glorious.
Open, endless vistas.
Fresh air.
Time with you family.
And endless hours with your 'other' co-worker.
Your steady, actually-does-most-of-the-work partner.
Your horse.
Did you know that horses are fun?
And smart?
They have distinct personalities.
Some are lazy.
Some crafty.
Some love people.
All love to play.
A favourite game when I was growing up was 'tongues'.
You would tickle a horse's lips until he stuck out his tongue, whereupon (good word) you would give it a little pull.
The tongue, I mean.
The horse would whip it back into his mouth.
Then promptly stick it out again.
Pull.
Retract.
Stick out.
Pull.
They loved this game.
They would play it for hours.
Or until you got tired of it.
You can probably guess which scenario usually happened first.
Enough background . . .
My Husby and I were touring the Buckingham Palace Mews, conducted by the head hostler to the Queen, Edward.
A very proper and pleasant British man.
Who also loved horses.
We were instantly connected.
Moving on . . .
My Husby and I were having a great time.
We had dutifully and happily walked through the storage buildings.
Gotten up close and personal with the royal family's famous Gold Coach.
And had finally headed into the stables.
Ahhh! Heaven!
Horses are intensely curious.
If something is happening, they want to be front and center.
Gawking.
Getting in the way.
Pretending to be startled and fleeing spiritedly.
Coming back to see if there was anything they missed.
For the resident horses, our tour of the stables was out of the ordinary.
Everyone wanted a look.
Heads popped out of stalls the whole length of the building.
One horse, a handsome grey gelding, quartered by himself, was especially interested.
I should point out here that horses, when they meet another horse, sniff each other's noses.
A much more civilized practice in my opinion than what one would typically see when dogs greet each other.
Ummm . . . back to my story.
The big grey sniffed me.
I sniffed him back, then started to move on.
He moved with me.
I think someone was bored.
I touched his lips.
He licked them.
I pulled his tongue.
His head shot up, startled.
He stared at me for a couple of moments.
Then he stuck out his tongue again.
I pulled it.
He drew it back in.
Then he did it again.
This went on for some time.
Grant and Edward had been standing a little ways off, talking.
The horse and I were enjoying our game.
Then I realized that the stable had fallen silent.
The men were watching us.
Thinking they had finished their conversation, I patted my new friend and started toward them.
The big grey leaned out as far as he could, nickered at me and stuck out his tongue. “Hey! I'm not finished with this game!”
I laughed and patted him again.
Then joined the two men.
Edward was still staring. Finally he shook his head and in his perfectly modulated English accent, said, “I've never seen a horse do that before!”
He looked at me with renewed interest and said,” Any time you want to come back here, you are welcome. Anytime.”
A horse lover knows another horse lover.
And all horses are the same.
No matter what circles they move in.

22 comments:

  1. Love this story Diane! My 7 year old is an avid horse lover. She and I ride once a week at a local stable (that is all we can afford). She would live there if she could! She and I would both be so at home on a ranch.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I know the feeling to a quiver!
      Get her to try the 'tongues' game with her horse!

      Delete
  2. I firmly believe horse lovers are born, not made. Our daughter is one of them :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. P. S. And that is a wonderful story. I did not know about the tongue pulling. Will have to keep that tip in mind the next time I'm up close and personal with a horse :)

      Delete
    2. Your daughter is my kind of folks!
      Try it! The horses won't let you quit! :)

      Delete
  3. As much as I love this story just on the surface, I especially love what it's really about, connections. They're everywhere, all you have to do is be willing to play.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Exactly! And the best connections happen where you least expect them!

      Delete
  4. Living on a ranch is my fantasy. Maybe in another life....

    ReplyDelete
  5. You are indeed a true horse lover. There you were at the Mews, a place where few people ever get to go, at the Queen's palace and cavorting (good word!) amidst golden coaches and nobility, and what impresses you most to write a story? Horse tongues. I'll bet there are some other stories about that experience too, but I certainly enjoyed this one. About horse tongues. Good job. Keep them coming . . . .

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I will mention other experiences . . . maybe . . .

      Delete
    2. Please do! This was an amazing setting for such a great story ... I know you can do the other stories justice, too :)

      Delete
  6. Can I come with you when you go back?

    ReplyDelete
  7. I wonder why they like it so much?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Horses are like big cats. They love to play! And play. And . . . you get the idea. Anything new is so interesting to them . . .

      Delete
  8. What a treat! Horses are so intelligent and sociable.

    ReplyDelete
  9. I love this horse story and it is because I love horses. My favorite horse was named Lady and her main goal was to dislodge me off her by rubbing up next to every bush and rock..
    I don't know if I could play the tongue game; but I would give them a good hug.
    This was a fun story and enjoyed your moment in the Stable in England.
    Blessings!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, the clever little Lady miss! Try it next time. See if you can get her to play!

      Delete
  10. Tongue pulling? I am never getting close enough to a horse to do that. No matter how much fun you make it seem. i like horses, I really do, but from a distance is close enough.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Heehee! We'll let you watch, River! :)

      Delete

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