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Horses' Reward


4/28/10, Pagosa Springs, CO - Many of you might have wondered what could possibly motivate a small herd of one ton horses, to pull three tons of wagon, across half the country. Well, there are two reasons. First they do it because the like to work.  A horse is like the guy that always shows up for work a half hour before starting time, with a smile on his face - horses generally have a good work ethic. The second reason is shown in the picture below - sometimes, there’s a carrot at the end of the rainbow.

What you are seeing in the picture below is the horse equivalent of a one week vacation spent lounging around on the white sand beaches of Bora Bora.  To them, they have reached horse Nirvana - munching sweet, green, spring grasses on Randall and Cary’s beautiful ranch, in the shadows of the San Juan Mountains.  No harnesses, no traffic, no ‘gees’ or ‘haws’; just free to graze in a mountain pasture! Well, occasionally they get saddled up to go check and fix fences, but that’s just an adventure hike.

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The Amigos, with Almonzo the mule keeping them company.  Even though they could wander anywhere they want on this 550 acre ranch, they choose to graze on the grass below the wagon, and close to their teammate - me.

I asked the team, “What do you guys think of your little vacation?”

They turned to B.O.B. (their spokes-horse) who tried to answer between mouthfuls of grass, and muttered, “Groovy man, absolutely groovy.”

On another note, Clementine continues to improve.  The only thing I can think of, is that we inadvertently passed an outcropping of Kryptonite, leaving her with less than her normal, super-canine strength.

Tomorrow evening, I’m off to LuAnn Baker’s ranch, in Pagosa Junction, 25 miles to the south, where I’ve been invited to teach at her annual women’s horse driving clinic.  I was originally invited just to give a quick lecture, but one of the instructors was injured in a fall, so now I’ll be teaching as well.  I hope I haven’t gotten too rusty being off work the past few days.  It should be a fun event. There will be several draft horse teams and wagons, maybe a couple of little rodeos, and a lot of laughs. And best of all, a lot of gals will get to drive some really great horses. I’ve heard there will be at least two teams of Suffolk Punches, which are a really nice ‘Old Style’ breed of Drafts.  I’ll take a lot of pictures and blog on the event.

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You would think that the team would be hard to approach after being turned out is such a large pasture. Actually, they welcome my attention. After all, I’m the lead horse on the team and they figure I should be able to graze and socialize with them, as well.

This afternoon, I threw a saddle on Bill, stuffed a saddle bag full of tools and wire, and went around fixing fences. The Davis Ranch has some nice sheltered valleys, so there is quite a population of elk here in the winter. The elk are beautiful, but they sure are hard on fences.

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Later, I jumped on a couple of different backs and rode around with them as they grazed.