Thursday, August 4, 2011

Ranch Life

So sorry it's been so long since I've posted...over a month!  I'm not turning out to be a very good blogger at all. Much to my surprise I was expecting to have easy internet access and not easy phone access out here..turns out it's the opposite!  I have to go to the Clark Store to use the net, and it's usually pretty slow (not sure whether it's my computers fault or the store).  Butttt anywho..

I'm well in the swing of things now.  In fact, most of my friends are leaving me next week!  I've been keeping pretty busy, the days are long and tiring so I really don't want to sit around on the computer after work.  

We have 8 wranglers total, so we are divided up into 2 teams of 4 for wrangling the horses in in the mornings.  The 2 teams alternate weeks, so every other week I have to wrangle the herd at 5:00 am.  Often we don't leave work until 4:30 or sometimes 5:00, so that for 6 days in a row in the heat has been wearing me out!  It's not always fun getting up at 4:30 am, but it is SO BEAUTIFUL out in the meadows when the sun rises. For examplleeee-

Look at the rainbow beside of Round Mountain (the mountain on the right hand side)!
Most of my favorite pictures I have taken out on the am wrangles.  I bet it's safe to say that I wouldn't be up that early if I didn't have to. 
Some of the herd up on the ridge
So I'll give you guys a little day-to-day for us out here.  On my wrangle weeks I get up and head to the barn at 5:00 am.  We keep a horse for each of the 4 of us in the small back paddock of the barn so we have horses to ride out to get the herd.  We catch and saddle our horses and head out.  We ideally get back to the barn with the WHOLE herd by 6:45 am.  It doesn't always happen..some mornings the horses are a lot more difficult then others.  And there are the mornings where you miss horses because they're hiding somewhere in the trees or along some ridge.  I will say that my team has never left horses out (not that I'm bragging or anything).  We have breakfast at 7:00 am, then head back to the barn and start catching the horses that we are using for the guests.  We tie them all up along the fence line, then groom and saddle them all.  It's pretty impressive how fast we get 50 horses ready to ride!
The horses in the paddock (look at Poncho, the mini donkey!)

The guests come down to the barn at 9:00 am and are divided in to groups based on who they want to ride with and what kind of ride they are looking for, be it slow, fast, easy, hard, steep, flat, etc (you'd be surprised how many people want a FLAT the Rocky Mountains..).  Our rides come in by 11:30 am and we water the horses, scoop poop, and head to lunch at 12.  Between 12:30 and 2:00 (when the guests come down to ride again) we do random things like doctor the hurt horses, clean up, and occasionally play around.  One of our favorite pass times is to play with Bill..who is our older Percheron (draft horse).  He is used to pull the sled in the winter.  His partner was full brother Bob, who passed away this winter.  Since then Bill has been a bit of a loner, since they were always side by side, so I have taken a special liking to him.  I steal apples from the dining room and give them to him every morning.  He now has a little spark in his eye and waits for me..and he looks excited when I scream "BIILLLLL!!!" in my best animal voice.  He lets us ride him bare-back (more like sit on his back, because he doesn't move), and we even lay on him when he lays down. 
Nathalie, me and Bill

I even feed him apples out of my mouth
Just layin around!
Another lover of mine is a yearling (1 year old horse) who we recently named Stu.  He came in with a pretty beat up leg one day, so we had to start doctoring him.  At first he wouldn't even let us catch him, it took 30-45 minutes!  But we worked with him every day and within a week he was waiting at the gate for us.  We had to wash and put medicine on his leg every day.
Baby Stu

He also likes us because we give him grain..but SHHH!

And this is Strawberry (original name Daffney, but I call her Strawberry), she's 9 months old and was so scraggly looking at the beginning of the summer. I started brushing her every day and she is soooo sweet!

She's a sleepy girl!

 Anywho, back to my daily run of things.. guests come down again at 2:00 (if they want to ride again), so we go out for more rides.  Then we are all back by 4:30, unsaddle all the horses and push them out through the chute into the pasture for the night. 

Monday nights we drive the guests on the tractors on a hay-ride out to the "llamasery" for a burger dinner. They eat outdoors in the meadow where the horses are turned out and get to watch the sunset with the horses.  Wednesday night is the barn dance, where we cram 50 some people into the top of the barn and sweat like crazy while doing line dances.  Thursday nights the kids put on a talent show (I usually don't go).  Friday nights is the rodeo, we have to drive guests occasionally but other then that are not required to go.  It's pretty fun though.  Saturday night is the farewell campfire where we have to go and eat/visit with the guests one last time.  
Girls at the barn dance

Staff at barn dance

There are a few weeks where the guests do not go to the rodeo in town, so we have to put on our own "Shodeo."  It was really nerve racking and we all thought it was a joke/poorly put together, but the guests love it.  We wranglers do a little intro where we run around the arena on our horses and do some cool designs like a pin-wheel, and then we each do barrel racing and pole bending.  The kids do a few activities like egg tosses in between events, and it ends with bronc riding, where 2 wranglers ride our mini horse Goliath and mini donkey Poncho.  We had one 4th of July weekend and we're having another tomorrow.  It actually ended up being really fun!

Wally and I finishing up the poles

Tiffany and me

Pretty with the Zirkels in the background (I'm in back, my horse is super fast)

Caleb on Goliath and Catharine on Poncho

We have 105 horses total, including the new baby that was born 5 weeks ago.  about 65-70 are "ride-able," and the rest either old, crippled, or young.  We have quite a few 1, 2 and 3 year olds that hang out in the paddock all day.  They love to sleep!  Some are friendly enough to be handled, and some are super-skittish.
The babies lay down and sleep in the paddock all day
Nice pillow

Sundays are my only day off, and it was hard to get up and do things other then laundry and rest for the first few weeks..but there's so much to do and see here!  We went camping a couple Saturday nights ago, just slept out in sleeping bags under the was great (except that something bit me under my eye and I looked like I got punched in the eye for the rest of the week).  It was dark when we got there, so the view was amazing when we woke up in the morning.

Nikki's dog Cyd seeing what's up in the AM
That very same Sunday we went river rafting down the Elk river, and also went cliff jumping at this place called King Saul.  It's about a 30 minute drive north, almost to Wyoming, and then a 30 minute hike to the falls.  Once there we had to cross the river to get to the safest, lowest jumping spot, which is about 18 feet.
Before rafting

Group at King Saul (Nikki, Liz, Caleb, Marie Elise, me, Hannah, Sarah, and Bonnie)

Marie elise, Hannah and me and King Saul


Crossing the river, there's bear poop on the end of the log.  ew.

 Cliff came to visit this past weekend.  His visit was toooo short but we got a good bit done.  He flew into Denver on Friday and we met him in Steamboat for a little mexican dinner, then went to a cute little bar/restaurant on the Yampa River called Sunpies.  I had to work Saturday but he was able to sleep in the morning, met me for lunch and then got to go on a ride with me Saturday afternoon.  He came to the campfire dinner with us and then we had a little staff campfire of our own down at the Ghetto.  My good friend Rhiannon had 2 friends in town also, so Sunday morning we all went on a ride together.  We did the Home Mountain trail (hence the Home Ranch) which was BEAUTIFUL.  It's nice getting to ride with just friends for a change.  It was Cliff, me, Rhiannon, her friends Kyle and Mike, and other staff Owen, Sarah and Hannah.  Then we took our visitors down to King Saul again for some more cliff jumping.  He left first thing Monday morning :(  boo hoo.
On the hike to King Saul

Us at King Saul

During Sat night dinner

Trying to get a good picture at top of Home Mountain

Cliff and Reno

My newest project is this 3 year old mare named Madison.  She was trained this spring and handed over to us from the horse trainer, but no one has ridden her.  We are a little pressed for horses so we decided to take matters into our own hands and get her going again. The horse trainer (Georie, I don't know how to spell his name..) gave us a little "class" one day about the colts he trains and hands over to us, and then helped me ride her for the first time.  I've been riding her for about 8 days now and it's going great!  We worked in the arena for the first 3 days but I've been taking her out with guests all week, and have also been wrangling on her in the mornings!  She is who I am riding in the pictures above with Cliff.  She's PRECIOUS!  I'm on the 2nd person who has ever been on her back..which is awesome (to me anyways)!
I put a flower in her bridle!


She wasn't too happy about getting her picture taken

 Ok well that's about my whole summer rolled up into a quick little tale.  Here's some random pictures of things/events out and about the ranch.  I will also put the link (or email) to my snapfish account where I post ALL of my pictures.  Tata!
Stu loving on another baby
New baby!

So sweet
One of my best buds Rhiannon and me

Where I lay out by the river!
Storm coming in

We ride in trucks

Staff ride one afternoon

Pouting cowboy
pretty sunset

Hahn's Peak over Steamboat Lake

From Hahn's Peak Cafe
At a concert in Steamboat

1 comment:

  1. Glad you're having a good time! Your pictures are GORGEOUS! so good to hear from you FINALLY! haha