Stories from the Stringam Family Ranches of Southern Alberta

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



Wednesday, October 25, 2017

The Morning Bath

Just a little glimpse into the round-up days of 1918.
In the words of my Dad's eldest brother, Uncle Owen Stringam . . .
Rope corral.
Along in July or August of 1918, my father [George L. Stringam] sent Bert Quinton and I along to the roundup to bring back the strays.
We were awakened at 4:00 AM by the breakfast bell.
The night herder had already brought in the saddle horse herd and put them in a rope corral. (A rope was tied to short posts about four feet off the ground and was just large enough to hold a crowded horse herd.)
Each cowboy came out to rope his horse. No one was allowed to swing a loop over his head for fear of frightening the horses. All horse roping was done from the outside by a back-hand throw and the horse was then worked around to the drop rope gate and out of the corral.
I watched one young fellow saddle up his horse and [before mounting] walk him around for a while to get the kink (hump) out of the horse’s back.
[A little aside here: Many of these horses were newly-broke and still didn’t like the idea of having something strapped to their backs. For the first while, they would protest in any way they could. Usually by arching their back up, perhaps to try to get the saddle as far away from themselves as they could!]
Gradually, the hump subsided and the horse seemed okay.
Now, about ten feet below the corral, in a small depression, was a large spring where the cook came for water. This spring was fenced to keep out the livestock.
Once the young fellow was aboard (mounted) the horse started to buck, heading straight for the spring.
He came to a sudden stop as he hit the fence.
The cowboy didn’t.
Nothing like a cold, refreshing bath before the start of the workday.

7 comments:

  1. Not an easy life. Even before the cold bath.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Oh my gosh I like this little peek into that life!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Oh brrrr! Good thing it was July.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Real life stories........what a treasure.

    ReplyDelete
  5. At least the cowboy had the cold water to cushion his fall. Ouch!

    ReplyDelete
  6. It seems that so many of your relatives kept journals, Diane - such a wonderful record for you to have. I wish even one of my relatives had had the writing bug! Another great story, and again I think how easy we have it these days.

    ReplyDelete

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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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