Stories from the Stringam Family Ranches of Southern Alberta

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



Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Horsie Riding

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 there 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.

21 comments:

  1. The King was a good looking steed.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. And well mannered! Grooming was a cinch!

      Delete
  2. I remember those well! I am also a horse lover and although it has been many years since I have had my own I will never forget the feeling of sailing through the woods on the back of my Roni (Macaroni officially). Grandchildren are so wonderful!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Roni! Great name!
      I can just imagine sailing through the woods. Mmmm.
      And grandchildren are the best!

      Delete
  3. We had a spring horse for a very short time in my childhood. I loved that "horse". When I got older all I had were the farmers cows and who wants to ride them? They were good company though.

    Another great post to laugh with you and just a small tear of nostalgia thrown in. Thanks Diane!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah. Cows are pretty much total losses when it comes to riding. Only the milk cows would stand still for me to get on and they were way too boney!

      Delete
  4. Kids are so great at finding their own entertainment, aren't they? It's nice to know the newest generation is just as able to do that!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It brought a little tear to Gramma's eye!

      Delete
  5. We had one of those same type of little rocking horses when we were kids - sweet memories :)

    ReplyDelete
  6. How lucky you all were to enjoy such horses. Your gr-daughter must be ready for her own King Prancer.

    Oh...my A to Z letter is H is for Hay.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Her great grampa and grampa have given her a selection! Boy, do they get a work-out!

      Delete
    2. And I'm heading over to read that 'hay' entry! :)

      Delete
  7. I was a horse lover in theory, but a city girl with not exposure to horses. Then I met my husband who was a real horse lover, and horse owner. I found out that one doesn't take naturally to sitting on a horse, nor do horses automatically like everyone.

    Nor do I look like the princess I thought I would sitting atop a horse.

    Sigh. I guess I'm in George's camp.

    ReplyDelete
  8. How sweet! I love horses---they remind me of my sis who passed away---she had a gift with the majestic creatures and was an excellent rider!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think your sister and I would have gotten along famously! We horsey folks need to stick together!

      Delete
  9. I had a spring horse and his name was Hero. I had many great rides. Thanks for sharing a great post.

    ReplyDelete
  10. A rocking horse! Okay, a spring horse. Similar thing.
    And here I thought you were talking about a real horse with you and Blair roaming the countryside having adventures.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Only in our minds, River. Only in our minds!

      Delete

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