Stories from the Stringam Family Ranches of Southern Alberta

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



Saturday, March 10, 2018

Three Horses



Blair. BRH (Before his REAL horse)
Shamy. On the day she came into our lives.
Blair is the little guy in his sister's hand-me-down, red snowsuit.

 While growing up I was given 3 horses to take care of.  These noble steeds made a great impact on my life and even today I often think about them. 
The first horse was given to me on my third birthday.  I don’t remember much from that day except for the thrill to have a horse that I could call mine.
She was an extremely gentle and an extremely fat welsh pony named Shamy.
I don’t know who came up with the name. I suspect that my older “smarter” horse savvy sister.
At the time, I didn’t care what the horse’s name was.  I just cared that I had one and had risen to the lofty ranks of cowboy.

Shamy on the day she became Blair's.
Shamy was so fat that the birthday picture of me sitting on her was quite amusing.  Me, sitting on her back with my legs extended almost horizontal (that’s a word I learned in engineering school).
As I grew a little older I was able to sit more like a cowboy on my great white horse.
At the mature old age of 5, my sisters took me on a trail ride.
And it was this that illustrated what was most amazing about Shamy . . .
I found myself at one point getting pulled off her back by a broken fence post that I didn’t have the good sense to duck under.
Now some horses would be gone to the farthest points of the field if that happened.  Instead, Shamy just stood and waited.
I should probably mention that at the mature age of 5, I was very mad and carrying on (ok I was crying) until my sister pointed out that Shamy thought I was being silly.
I looked up at Shamy and she seemed to have a very annoyed expression on her face.  I don’t remember much more about Shamy. I expect she got old and went to the great horse pasture in the sky.

I road several horses through the years, but I didn’t really have one that I was responsible for until I was given an Arabian cross that we called Molly—an amazing horse with limitless energy. When I rode her, she was always moving.
I think she had a case of horsey ADHD.
I taught Molly how to open a barb wire gate while I sat on her back.
This is a little tricky. You ride up to the gate, lean off to the side of the horse and loosen the gate post. Then you pull the post back slightly and have the horse spin around in a tight circle while passing the lead post under the horse’s neck.
See? Tricky.

One thing that I couldn’t do is get piled (horse parlance for dumped. Bucked off. Catching air. Shot to the moon. You get the picture) by Molly. If that happened, she would head immediately for the farthest end of the field.
However, one day, Molly and I were trying to cut an ornery cow from the herd. The cow took off at a run for the nearest faraway place and Molly happily followed. The cow rounded a grove of trees with Molly and I in close pursuit. As we rounded the trees, Molly crossed a muddy cow trail and lost her footing.
She and I both hit the ground.
I twisted my ankle slightly but I think that it knocked the wind out of Molly because, though I lost the reins Molly stayed. I was able to grab the reins and we resumed our chase after the cow. 
A little more slowly and a lot more cautiously.

My third noble stead was a Yamaha 100.
Yes, I’m aware that my sister does not consider motorcycles equivalent to horses.
At the time that I got the bike I would have disagreed but now . . .
However, the Yamaha had several advantages:
It took less time to saddle (saddle/seat already attached).
You could cover large areas in a very short time.
They didn’t need to be fed hay every day.
And, more importantly (even though at times I thought so), they didn’t have a mind of their own.
The major disadvantage was that you could not enjoy a peaceful ride to check the cow herd.
As I get older I often think about Shamy and wish I could ride through the herd just one more time.
In the early morning. Smelling the sage. Listening to the early morning sounds. Watching the small calves get up from their evening sleep and stretch.

I miss the peace.

And yes, he occasionally shared her...

10 comments:

  1. It does sound like a blissful childhood, could you perhaps visit a 'dude ranch' and get an early morning ride through a herd?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So far I enjoy a hike up the canyons near our home. That is my alternative for now.

      Delete
  2. But you'll always have those memories, especially now that they are written down! I sometimes wonder how it's so easy to fall off a horse when their back seems so flat. It must be the slippery hair . . . and the fact that they are moving . . .

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Diane was much better at sticking to her horse. I took the odd fall, but as far as I know there is no long term damage

      Delete
  3. What wonderful memories! Sounds like an amazing time on the ranch as a child.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Except for the lonnnnngggg hours baling hay and building fence, we had a blast. Riding horses in the early morning was the best.

      Delete
  4. Replies
    1. Thank goodness that I have grand kids to make more precious memories

      Delete
  5. Our generation had the very best childhoods. Like the commercial says, we had `wildhoods` and I wouldn`t trade it for what passes for childhood these days.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I learned a great deal from my childhood. Some of the lessons I learned still help me today.

      Delete

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