Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Horses- Fourth Installment (a longie)

So for today’s post, I thought I would trace back some of the horse-loving blood that runs through my veins. I have it from both sides, and though I really don’t know how far back it goes, I’ll start with my mom’s Dad.

This is my Grandpa Walburger. He had the most beautiful ranch in all of Canada, probably the world, and he rode a horse pretty much every day of his life until he was 93 or so. Grandpa W.Oct 1984_Brownie

Uncle Montey, Grandpa Walburger, my mom and Lindsay, Dad, Wyatt and Tarren (I think), and Tyler (and Old Chief if you didn’t catch it):Montey_Grandpa John_Lorie&Lindsay_Jack_Wyatt_TylerGrandpa on Rocky: Grandpa John_2002_Rocky Grandpa on Rocky (he was 93):Grandpa John_Aug2002_93yrs_RockyGrandpa and my mom: Grandpa John_Lorie Sept_97 My mom on Wally and Grandpa, on the Summit Trail in 1982:Lorie(on Wally)GrandpaJohn_Summit_Aug82

There’s a story my mom told me about a time she and Grandpa were riding on the Summit trail, and while I’m not sure it was the same time as pictured above, I’ll give it now.

Several friends and Dad and I and Grandpa were going on a trail ride up the Summit one time, and I was on Wally. The girl in front of me was on a huge quarter horse that was fat and bulky and could barely keep on the narrow trail. We got to a switchback that had a drop-off hundreds of feet down, and there was a slick boulder the horses had to walk on as they turned the sharp corner. So I waited a little for the girl in front of me, and her horse made it, but its foot kept on slipping off and making rocks fall down. Suddenly Wally just completely whirled around on his hind feet so that we were turned completely the other direction and I was suddenly facing my dad. I was so scared and just thought- Now what? What can I do? Grandpa looked at her and calmly said, “Just pretend you’re barrel racing, turn him really tight and kick him,” so I did, and he swiveled right on the spot. It was amazing, his hind feet didn’t even change location. I was so glad my Dad was behind me. He was that stead, reassuring influence you have in your dad, even though I’d been married several years.

This picture was from his funeral. My dad and mom and my aunts and uncles rode their horses, and led his, saddled but empty, to the gravesite.Grandpa John funeral_Dec.2002

My dad’s dad also loved horses, and one of his main events was chariot racing. In the basement of his house, the walls in the family room were covered in great big ribbons. Lots of first places and second places and others. I think some of them were actually from gardening prizes at fairs, but in my head they were all chariot racing ribbons.

Grandpa Rasmussen in front of his house:lloydonhorse Grandpa LloydChariot racing:2_300dpi Grandpa Lloyd_Chariot race Grandpa Lloyd_Chariot teamGrandpa Lloyd_sleigh ride Actually this one is my great-grandpa Cougar Jack:GreatGrandpaJackR_chariot team

Then there is my mom. She often shakes her head and mutters about Dad’s horse compulsion, but she actually loves them. Just watch her go out to see a new baby, and watch how much she hugs and kisses it. And not just the babies, but all of them. Even the ones she says are dummies she still loves (must be the practice from loving her children). ;)Lorie_Sept 1977

She, in fact, was the one who got this whole blog theme idea started in my head, when she posted the following story on our family website way back in February. I wanted to recount it on the blog because it was so awesome, and then I started thinking of other cool horse stories I could share, and it kindof snowballed a bit from there.

Title: I just delivered a Baby!!!!

So ----- there is always excitement at my house!!!` My phone rang at 8:30 am and a lady said that I did not know her but she and her little girl were looking out the window and our mare was laying down and getting
up and laying down and she had a bubble hanging out and she said she thought she was in labour. So I jumped into my boots and called Dad and he said to try to get her into the barn. When I got there she was down and baby half out. Maggie was tired and not pushing right then, so I pulled baby out and then realized the sack was still around it's head. I peeled it off and rubbed it's nose and it it started breathing and shaking it's head and blinking it's eyes!
Maggie finally stood up and nuzzled the baby, but the other horses were milling around and making her nervous. You never know with new Moms if they will get excited and step on the baby trying to get at the other's or what they will do!!! I basically stayed there and shooed the horses away. Dad called a neighbour who came over, and I went and got the halter to bring Maggie into the barn, but she was quite restless.
So I finally got the halter on her and we just stood there a few minutes to let her calm down and Paul kept chasing the other horses away. Dad came in just a few minutes and he led Maggie in and Paul carried the baby and I chased the horses away. I was glad I waited for Dad, because with just two of us, it would have been tricky to try and get them in w/o the other horses bothering us.
It is a filly!!!!! She is really dark like Maggie with a nicer head and a beautiful stripe down her head. Four white socks. Dad stayed and tried to get her to stand up. She was pretty wobbly and cold!!!! Being born on a snowbank instead of nice, warm straw! He also got some colostrum down her, thanks to her grandma FahsElle that Dad had frozen in the deep freeze!babyhorse_thumb1babyhorsebehindmama_thumb1Isn’t that so awesome?!! My mom rocks. She is the most multi-talented person of anyone I know on earth. Except maybe Brett—he’s right up there. ANYWAY, here are more pictures and stories from my amazing mother.

Once when I was little I was practicing barrel racing on Brownie, and I put my heels in his flanks and he crow-hopped around and dumped me off. My brother Delroy was there, and I asked, “Should we tell Dad?” We decided to go tell him, and he simply said, “Well, you better get back on him.”

Dad and Mom in a parade, 1975 (don’t they look absolutely SMASHING?!! I LOVE it!):Jack_Lorie_Parade_l975

Growing up, we had a horse that was kindof a knucklehead. He was always frisky—you could ride him in the pasture all day long and he’d have energy to spare. He’d do so much prancing and dancing that your stomach and legs would be sore. Once my dad had me take him down to water him at the lake, and he ran and bounced and jumped on the way back. I was coming back from out in the field across the irrigation, and he started to run pell-mell, and I couldn’t stop him. I was worried about my leg as he came in by the fence, and my Dad saw and started yelling “Pull him up! Pull him up!” He ran straight towards the corral, slammed on his brakes, and immediately turned. Luckily, I didn’t fall off! The same horse ranaway with Delroy and ran into a fence and Delroy went flying . Beryl also fell off that horse.

And they won first prize in the parade too (of course!).JackLorie_Parade-Win1st_1975

When I was a kid, we had a horse named Tiny who we could do anything with. We would crawl between his legs, ride him bareback, and we would often hold onto the frame of the barn door as he went through and slide off his rump. We would also stand up and climb onto the barn roof.

Delroy and I would go out to the field with big boulders in it riding Brownie and Tiny and play Cowboys and Indians. We would run and run and then jump off and hide behind the rocks. One time I thought Delroy had killed himself- he jumped off at full-tilt and landed with several hard rolls.

This is a cool picture, it says Lorie and Excursion, so I’m assuming that’s the horse’s name, but I’ve never heard it before:Lorie_Excursion_75A story told by Dad that is similar to the one earlier: One year we rode over the Summit in Waterton. There is one place on the ride where the trail actually goes down into a lake around a large rock and then back up out of the lake . On this particular ride (must have been early in the year) when we got to that spot, there was still a very large snowbank extending down and out into the lake over the trail. Several riders rode over the snowbank with no incident, but Mom, who was on Wally and always has the flare for the dramatic, had got only half way across when there was a huge boom like a rifle shot and the lower half of the snowbank calfed off into the lake. As quick as the sound came, Wally whirled and in three or four extremely large jumps had exited the sinking snowbank and was back on dry land. I'm not sure whether it was fear or unbelievable horsemanship but Mom never budged an inch out of the saddle and stayed with Wally every inch of the way.

Mom and Megan (Dad, Brett is wondering about the truck?):Lorie_Megan(6mon)_Aug_75

And finally, my dad. No need for intro I think, I’ll just let the stories he kindly sent me do their thing. He’s got more stories than you could ever get through, and they’re all fantastic. So, don’t forget to turn on your horse tunes, and sit back and enjoy the good read. As a preface, I give you this quote:

A horse which stops dead just before a jump and thus propels its rider into a graceful arc provides a splendid excuse for general merriment.

~Duke of Endinburgh

Dad and Thunder:Jack and ThunderFirst some horse geneology - When my dad was living on Starvation Flats (Rosemary) he got a yearling filly from a Stringham (don't know his first name). Anyway, she was a buckskin which he named Queen and Uncle Johnny got a filly at the same time named Starlight. I tell you this because the horses that we grew up on all traced to Queen. No particular reason why I mentioned Starlight. While Dad was still living on the Flats he raised a foal from Queen by a shetland stallion. The foal was a a filly that was named Gypsy. All three of us boys put a lot of miles on Gypsy, after we moved to Cardston my brother Dave won a lot of races on her. Also, we got a stallion, Indy, from my cousin Gene Boehme, when he went on his mission. Many of our later horses were sired by him.

Dad on Wally:Jack_Wally_1977

One of my first memories of being on a horse was out in our barnyard at Cardston. Dad had raised a sorrel filly from Queen named Ginger and he was just breaking her to ride. I thought that I was a pretty good rider so I harassed him to let me ride her. He was reluctant because she had not been ridden much and I was probably 5 or 6. He finally let me ride her and I was doing just fine until someone driving by stopped and got out to talk to Dad. Dad was standing by the fence and after riding around the corral for awhile I rode up by Dad and stopped. Ginger had her back end to the fence (which had an electric wire) and after a bit, when I was totally relaxed and not paying attention, she stepped back and touched the electric fence -- airborne? you betcha and a hard landing to boot! Side note: us kids all went with Dad when he took Ginger to Calgary to sell her at a horse sale there. When she was in the sales ring Dad rode her around a bit himself and then started loading kids on behind him. Eventually all three of us boys were on behind him and the auctioneer made a big deal over it. The mare fetched a pretty good price!

One winter when I was about 7 or 8 years old I headed out on a hunting trip (to Uncle Forrest's) on a colt of Gypsy's named Diamond. It was pretty cold and I was bundled up in a heavy coat, mittens, and a scarf around my head. I was riding along the Waterton Highway going West past Frank Sloan's place (a block or so west of where the Waterton Highway Stake Center is now located). I guess I couldn't see very well through my scarf because one minute I was riding along like Tell Sackett in the wilderness, and the next I was laying on the ground watching my horse running back towards town. Seems that I was so busy watching for signs of game, as well as staying clear of Apaches, that I failed to see a large tree branch angling across the trail about chest height. Like any good western horse Diamond hustled right back to the home ranch and I had barely got a good start back tracking him through the snow when my Dad, who had seen my horse show up, drove up to pick me up. Embarrassing!!


I could tell a lot of stories about events at the Magrath 24th celebration but I will only bore you with two. One of the events that they always had at Magrath was a three horse relay race. The way the race works, the first rider starts on the ground holding a baton. He mounts his horse and races around the track once, dismounts, hands the baton to the next team member who is also on the ground. The second team member mounts his horse, races around the track once and likewise dismounts before handing the baton to the last rider, who also is on the ground. The last rider then mounts and rides the final lap around the track. The transfer of batons is always exiting as the horses waiting to go get pretty crazy when there are 6 or 8 horses running down the track towards them.

One year I was entered in the race with my brothers Montey and Dave. Dave went first and when he came in and handed the baton to Montey he had established a pretty good lead. Montey was riding Badger, a Buckskin colt out of Queen and by Indy. Montey added quite a bit of distance to the lead during his lap and, as I waited and watched to run the anchor lap, I could see that we had the race in the bag. I usually raced riding bareback but because I had to mount up at the beginning of my lap, I had borrowed an old english army saddle from my Grandpa Rasmussen and had it cinched up on Chinook, a chestnut gelding by Indy. When Montey dismounted and handed me the baton, there were not any other horses even close. I took the baton and holding the front of the saddle with my left hand, I swung up and into the saddle even as Chinook took off down the track at breakneck speed. Just as I was pulling my body up into the saddle my horse disappeared out from under me. Next thing I knew, I was sitting in the dirt right in front of the grand stands with my left hand still holding tight to the saddle and Chinook, without me, running flat out around the track. Chinook came in first but was disqualified for not having the baton! The moral of the story is that when you borrow a saddle you should check the quality of the cinch.

Uncle Montey on the left, Dad on the right:Jack_Montey_1982

I always raced Thunder (gelding by Indy and out of Gypsy) in local pony races. Usually the rule for a pony race was that the horse had to be under 14.3 hands tall to compete. One year in Magrath the rule was simply that the rider had to be under 16 years old. I thought that because the horse's height was not an issue I would ride Badger rather than Thunder because he was taller and, I had always thought, a little bit faster. My Dad ran Badger and Thunder on his chariot and always harnessed Thunder on the inside as he also thought that Thunder was a little slower. Chariot races were run on oval tracks so the outside horse had to run faster to stay even on the curves. Anyway I decided to ride Badger so my friend Mel asked if he could ride Thunder in the race. Of course we agreed to that. There were about nine horses in the race and me, being a veteran jockey, got Badger right over on the rail when we lined up for the start. Mel, being somewhat less experienced ended up being on the very outside. When we started the race I immediately took the lead. My Dad says that when we went out of sight around the first curve I was in first place and Mel was in dead last. When we came out on the back stretch I was still in first place with a large lead and Mel was still last. When we came back in sight after the last turn I was still in first and Mel was in second place and gaining fast. I saw him coming up behind me and really got after Badger. It ended up almost a photo finish with me winning. Could have been pretty embarrassing to lend out your horse and then get beat by him!!!

I was heading home on Thunder after riding in the Cardston parade one year and just happened upon a girl that I thought was pretty cute (clearly in distress). Not being one to make a pretty lady walk, I invited her to to have a comfortable seat behind me and we started on a scenic route home. Unfortunately a horsefly disrupted our romantic journey by stinging Thunder on the belly. In an effort to get rid of the horsefly, Thunder unceremoniously plopped down on the ground. The girl, not being Echo Sackett, didn't know enough to get her leg out of the way and suffered a broken leg. Alas, not the best way for a ten year old boy to win a pretty lady but at least she couldn't out run me for awhile!Jack_Montey_Aug.1982-caught

Back in the day lots of small towns in Southern Alberta had rodeos or fairs with local contestants and lots of different horse races. One race that some had was the hide race. It went like this. You stretched a cow hide out on the ground so that it would dry like a large oval rug. You tied a lariat on the front as well as a small loop that the hide rider could hang on to. You had one horse, one hide, and two low IQ humans. The race started at one end of the arena where the first rider (on the horse) would dally the lariat around the horn and the second rider would lay on the hide holding the short loop and keeping their face tucked down into the hide to try and keep from getting dirt clumps from the running horse from hitting you in, or between your eyes. If you didn't start out low IQ this race is designed to get you there fast. Anyway, when the starter says go the horse rider heads down the arena as fast as his scared horse can run pulling the hide and rider behind. When you reach the end of the arena the hide rider and the horse rider exchange places and you race back to the end of the arena where the race started. It is all good fun if you don't get run over by your own horse or by some other teams horse or if you don't get a rope wrapped around some body part that you really didn't need anyway. I ran this race with various partners over the years and won several times.

The time in question, however, was in our lower pasture and Mel Weston and I were just practicing with Thunder. I can't recall who was riding which first but when we got to the end of the pasture and went to change places one of us let go of Thunder before the other one of us got a hold of him. Well he headed down the field as hard as he could go with no rider (yes, there is a pattern here). Well, the lariat was hard tied to the horn so, of course, the hide had no choice but to follow the horse. The hide, with no one to hold it down, went airborne after just a few yards. In fact it went up like a kite and then back and forth in the air like a drunken sailor. Thunder thought he was being chased by demons and kicked it into super turbo speed right down the field and through the fence. Luckily the rope caught on the fence and snapped. Unbelievable, Thunder had only minor cuts but we did have to spend thousands on him for psychological therapy! P.S. Dad also might have mentioned something to us afterwards about not hard tying a rope to the saddle horn.

Ethan (I do NOT know what is up with the fake mustache!), Wyatt, and Dad:Eth,Wy,dad07-38

Another race that they had was the rescue race where a rider starts on a horse at one end of the arena, races to the other end where a partner is waiting on the ground, picks up the partner and races back to the beginning end of the arena. When your Mom and I were first married we ran in this race several times and always won. I rode Badger who was a terrific barrel racing horse and I would just go around your Mom at full speed like she was a barrel and as I circled her she would put out her arm and I would catch her arm and she would swing up behind me as I circled her. We were exceptionally awesome !!!

One year at Mt View, Mom won the women's barrel racing on Badger and I won the men's. Guess we showed those cowboys who was the real cowboys!!

Various people including, but not limited to, Dad, Ethan, Wyatt, Uncle Montey, cousins:Fatdadinred

Dad, Montey, your Mom and I went on a horseback ride to Crypt Lake in Waterton. The trail runs along the east side of Waterton lake which is the opposite side of the lake from Waterton town site and goes south all the way to the end of the lake which puts you actually in United States. To get on the trail you either have to ride all the way around lower Waterton lake or cross the narrows, a channel of water connecting upper and lower Waterton lakes. We opted, of course, to cross the narrows. In our defense, Montey had worked at the Dude Ranch in Waterton and claimed that if you knew your way across your horses wouldn't even have to swim. Either he had a bad memory or the channel had shifted in the years since he worked there. Montey went first and had Dad's old 16 mm movie camera. He had only gone a few yards when his horse went in up to his saddle and Montey was holding the camera as high as he could to keep it out of the water. My horse (Chinook)kept sinking low into the water and then surging up and then he tried to turn and head out into lower Waterton Lake. When I tried to turn him I tipped him over & we both got a good dunking. My Dad hollered at me to not use the reins to steer so I managed to get back on him and tried to keep him headed to land by slapping him on the neck on one side and then the other. Dad's horse Mannix swam extremely high in the water and Dad just held his legs up and hardly got wet. Mom was on Flicka and she headed right for the far shore but she swam so low in the water that the saddle was almost completely under water. Mom was under water above her waist. Needless to say when we got to the other side we were a wet group of riders. We all took our boots off & poured water out. We had packed sandwiches and they were a soggy mess. Mom had a new pair of Dan Post cowboy boots and after they dried out, on her feet, she said that she had never had boots that fit so well. When we got to the end of the trail we left our horses in a small corral and climbed up and through a small tunnel that opens up into Crypt lake. Montey caught a fish and cooked it on a rock in the sun. We were all pretty hungry. On the way back Montey had been roping every one so to get even I passed by his horse (Badger) and as I went by I reached down and unsnapped his bridle reins off of his bit. Badger ran a fair piece down the trail at full speed before Montey worked his way up his neck and got hold of his bridle to slow him down. We took the longer drier route on the way home and didn't get back to our trailers until about 11:00 PM.

jul-nov09 306


Andrea said...

Dad. That's all I can say really. That and I would give my left eyebrow to see Mom and Dad in the rescue race.

Weird to hear Dad talk about Thunder. I always think of him as MY horse. With a very large, bolded, capital MY.

You didn't have to hang up on me this morning. Were you raised in a barn? Hee.

Megan said...

Loved the stories - I was laughing out loud at work. Good pictures too. Good work. You should be our new family historian - I believe the last one has never written up the stories dad adn mom told at the family reunion. Miss you.

Lynn said...

The best post of this series for me by far! ; D

I loved the memories your family has and shares of my Great grandpa Jack, Rosemary, The horse named Starlight (Lisa named everyone of her horses starlight after the first one that Grandpa Boehme - your Uncle Johnny had), and the horse named Ginger. That was Lisa's middle name. I don't know if the horse or Lisa came first. I was trying to figure that out. But obviously another well loved name.

Thanks for sharing Kayli! I agree with Megan. You are an awesome historian for your family.

I wished that I had become a better horse rider. And that I would of gotten right back on to the run away horse - your dad had good advice - when I just about got killed on it. But I was large and due with a baby. Wasn't going to get back on and risk it. And so I unfortunately never did get back on a horse after that. ; (

Anonymous said...

Ethan's "stach" was some moss that he found along the trail. Also, the first chariot racing picture is also Your great grandpa Cougar Jack with his first team named Dean and Swift. The other picture of him was with his last team Dash and Rocket and they were sired by Indy.

Christine Merrill said...

Totally unrelated, but congrats on the big soccer win for Switzerland! I don't know if you were following it or not... :)

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