Stories from the Stringam Family Ranches of Southern Alberta

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



Saturday, June 11, 2016

Hey-Ho Away We go...

Horses came in all shapes and sizes on our ranch.

All shapes.
And sizes.
Oh, and materials.
Maybe I should explain . . .
On a working ranch, the horse is the best, most used tool. I’m talking about the warm, four-footed, rather hairy type here.
Or, as my machine-loving brother titled them, the hay-burners.
Paired with a rider, horses work the cattle.
Check fences.
Provide transportation.
Ditto, entertainment.
And make pushing, pulling, dragging or carrying just that much easier.
No self-respecting ranch could be run without its four-footed hay-burners.
On the Stringam ranch, the people could be divided into two horse camps.
Those who loved them.
And my brother, George.
Oh, we got him up there.
But only when there was work to be done.
Moving on . . .
I was the leader of the opposite camp.
I lived, ate and breathed horses. Had been known to hang out with them at any and all hours of the day or night. Been observed taking the occasional nap in close proximity.
And pretended and improvised when the weather was bad and there simply was no horse to be had.
Did you know that the wide arm of an overstuffed chair or couch makes an excellent substitute?
Well, it does.
I spent a lot of hours in that particular ‘saddle’. Had some amazing adventures. And had even been known to get pitched off on occasion.
My next younger brother, Blair, age two, was following in the paths I had created.
Riding the same mounts.
Then, one Christmas, he was given another option.
He got our family’s first spring horse. King Prancer as it was nobly named.
And our world was never the same.
Now, when we wanted to kite off to the imaginary prairie, doing imaginary deeds of wonder and saving the lives of countless imaginary people, we could climb aboard the King.
Okay, yes. He was technically Blair’s.
But I was bigger.
Ahem . . .
That sturdy little spring horse provided us with hours (and hours) of entertainment.
Until Mom told us we had out-grown (what on earth did that mean?) it and that it was time to be handed down to the next generation. ie. little sister, Anita.
Suddenly, I was back on the old stand-by. Riding the range with my trusty, slightly dusty steed.
Sigh.
Why am I telling you all of this?
My granddaughter, age two was in the living room, playing.
I went in to check on her.
She had straddled the arm of our overstuffed couch and was riding, hell-bent-for-leather, across the ‘prairie’. Whooping and hollering impressively.
It was no King Prancer.
But it sure made Gramma smile.

George and me.
Before the chair became a steed.
Blair. And the real thing.

The next generation: The King. Anita.
And a friend.
Okay, close to the real thing. George and me again.
The King. And Blair.

4 comments:

  1. We used to run (canter/trot) around while tossing our hair (manes) and squealing (neighing...duh!). Grass was tough and eating it was tougher. ;-)

    ReplyDelete
  2. I never had the horse bug but our daughter did (and still does) ... funny how you do or you don't and it's not likely to change with time!

    ReplyDelete
  3. I am with jenny_o here. I like horses, but have never loved them. And my partner tells me they are malevolent. He says that if you go to the scene of any single vehicle accident in the country there will be a horse in the next paddock. Snickering quietly to itself.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I had one of those when I was a child. I can't tell you the miles of prairie I covered on my trusty steed.

    ReplyDelete

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