Monthly Archives: October 2017

My Strangest Job Interview Ever!

We talk for about 30 minutes when he tells me he has about 6 folks due to arrive in about 30 minutes and how would I like to take them out on a ride. It seems as though he shattered an ankle several years ago and cannot ride much anymore because of the pain. I asked him if he didn’t have anyone else to do it as I did not know his land, the trails, the horses, nothing at all about his operation. His proclaims if you have been riding most of your life this should be no problem for me at all. So okay I will do it, why not, a chance to ride here on this great place and even get paid to do so.

I get out 7 horses from a large pen so I can get them saddled without a clue who was coming, how old were they, could they ride or anything else about them. What a crazy thing to do.

Anyhow I get everything ready before they get here proving I can catch a horse, saddle them up ready to go fairly quickly which he was happy about. The guests show up, go out to where they are supposed get on their horses. Now Otto comes out to tell everyone how to ride, give a crash course on safety in very broken English that is very difficult to understand which is amazing since he had been in Colorado over 30 yrs. Now if anyone asks him to repeat anything because they could not understand him, he would be really angry proclaiming he spoke very good English. Yeah I thought that was very weird to say the least but I wanted to ride horses here at this ranch for the summer. Because it was beautiful there. One thing I almost forgot to say, is that a couple of these people were ‘newbies’, had never ridden a horse before!

Now right before they got here he explained to me where he wanted me to take them. There are no real specific trails, just several slightly worn areas snaking up around all over. A very important thing to remember here is this is 1500 acres next to the BLM so thousands of acres. So in his wisdom he sent someone to take 6 people out on a ride that has no idea where to go. Also I thought I would tell everybody a story about an event that took place a few years ago. It took place up high in the Rocky Mountains. It is a story of that is as all of my stories are, totally true. Anytime you read of my stories you can count on them to be true because the funniest stories to me are always true.

One summer I was working at a ranch up in Rocky Mountains about an hour and a half from Denver. It was a wonderful place to ride horses with over 1500 acres to ride on with views one can only find in the Rocky Mountains. Views of giant mountain tops all around anywhere one looks. I love our ranch here in Oregon but the Rockies are special, real special. Just imagine, one is at about 9600 ft. high with snowcapped mountains all around you, aspens all over beneath the peaks. Of course in many places one can see what seems like forever. Up in this almost magical beauty is a ranch that takes people on guided horse rides. Wow does it get any better? Well not for me partner.

So I give the owner, Otto a call to see if he needs any guides. Well we chew the fat for a while and he invites me to come out to see if this is a good fit for each of us. Now it is only March so it is still pretty chilly up high like this with some snow that hasn’t melted yet.

The owner is a crusty guy from Europe whose English still sounds like he just moved to this country a year or so ago. For obvious reasons he is fiercely proud of his ranch. Anyone would be as this country is simply awe inspiring, jaw dropping beautiful.

remember these rides are supposed to last an hour and a half. I was told to go up, follow some landmarks to the east. How am I supposed to not get turned around or mixed up on a piece of land that large? Fortunately the ride went really well I thought, we did get turned around a little bit here and there but we were all thrilled! Not a single person was unhappy. What a great ride.

We just kept right on going up until I thought it as about an hour away. Why an hour away, well your horses are most likely to head back at a faster pace than going out. Nothing unusual there for sure.

So we get back, about 5 minutes longer than the 90 minutes, pretty dang good I thought to myself. I was congratulating myself when Otto comes out and asks how come we were late, he did not like to give away any free time. I just shook my head as I went back to unsaddling the horses so they could go fed some, since there didn’t seem to anymore rides scheduled. Several people came by, asking if they could take a picture of me with the horse they rode and one of themselves, Sure I say, not a problem, glad to do it. We chit chat awhile and several of them gave me a tip so I made about $50 in tips which was nice, especially since I had not even considered making anything  when I came up here for the job interview. (Never been paid for one then or now.)

Well I tended to the tack, taking it all back to the tack room and putting it where it belonged. Now remember that is 7 saddles, blankets, pads, halters and bridles. They have to be carried about 30 yards away to the tack room, with no wheel barrel or saddle carrier. Just old fashioned muscle. But at the time I did not think a thing of it. A little farther than most places I had worked for but not that bad.

Otto comes up to me to talk and imagine my shock when he asks for my tip. What are you talking about I ask? Well you are not a trained employee so you are not permitted to take any money. I was shocked to say the least. I also said something about ‘when a very hot place’ we all have heard about, freezes up he can have the money.

He was quite stunned at my attitude but just asked me when I could start. It was then, and still is, the strangest job interview I have ever heard of. It was a very odd summer, full of great riding in magnificent country with one of the strangest man I have ever met. Not all bad but certainly a very unique individual.

 

What A Loading experience

I thought I would tell everyone a funny experience loading up 3 of our horses. A few years ago , My wife and I decided it was time to take our horses home to our place. I had just spent the summer being a trail guide on a ranch in Colorado. Wow what a place to ride, over 1500 hundred acres of riding in the Rocky Mountains. Talk about beautiful, just fantastic beauty at about 9400 ft high. Riding each day was a great experience! It is not everybody who is fortunate enough to be able to ride in such majestic beauty.

But winter is coming, not a lot of folks looking to take a trail ride as the early signs of winter are starting to happen. Colder frost like temperatures at night are telling one, the cold of winter is about to get serious.

Kori and I had 3 of our horses, my great buddy Scout, Kori’s horse Shizanee’ and our daughters horse Likan. Now you have probably already figured out these are not your normal names, at least not on 2 of them. Shizanee’ is Navaho for I am lucky! The other horse is named Likan for  sweet girl. Let me explain these names, along with how we got them.

I spent a couple of years trying to help folks rehome their horses that they could no longer afford for lots of reason, the economy was rough, we had been in a drought causing hay prices to more than double. That caused some good people in bad situations to need to find new homes for their horses. That of course caused all types of problems with many people having zero idea of what to do. Unfortunately some people out of desperation gave their horses to someone who would take them, sometimes not making sure it was a better home.

Lots of folks were super critical of this, especiaaly since some just dropped them in someone’s pasture and then just took off leaving them. There were stories of it frequrently. Well a man called me to tell about this tall paint horse he had that needed a home. He said he would give her to me if I was interested, claiming her to be a great horse. How many times have I heard that. So Kori and I agreed to go look at them not sure at all about them. Well it turns out to be a boarding stable who has had this horse and another small mare for a long time. It seems as though the owner was having financial problems and had quit paying for their care. Now having to pay for their feed, hay, trimming of their feet is a considerable expense, especially if money is real tight.

So off Kori and I go to look at this horse. She was a fine looking horse with a name we hated and I quite honestly do not remenber it. But I do remember how skinny she was. This horse had received very little food for quite some time. She was a walking skeleton, you could see every bone in her body. The two horses were in  too small of an area, filthy and dang near starved to death.

Her horsey friend was also not a very fat horse either. She just wasn’t as awful looking as the other horse. So we said we would take the one big one, and would return the next day with a horse trailer. I needed to work as I had rides scheduled for that day. So Kori asked a friend if she would help her pick up the new horse. So off they go happy as can be.

When they get there the stable owner asks her if she would like the other horse in the pen with her. Now you also should know that just that morning I told Kori , whatever you do only take the one horse. Well this is when I learned that you never send your wife to pick up one horse when she has a 3 horse trailer with her. The stable owner asks her if she would like both of the horses. If so for a fee she could have both. She promptly picks up her cell phone to explain how she will be calling animal control to turn him in for starving these 2 horses if he doesn’t sign the paper work to these horses. Well this type of publicity was not going to be a great thing so he agrees.

Kori and her friend load both horses really quickly. Kori goes in there with a halter, tells the horse, a tall 16 hands horse starving to death that if she gets into this trailer she will never go hungry again. The horse gets right on, sounds like a good plan to her. The other horse then gets on right away, no questions asked. Oh yeah did I mention there was hay in the trailer? Great plan.

So they drive up into the mountains bringing, not one but two horses. I wasn’t nuts about it but not much I could do about it now.

So we unload both horses with no trouble at all, then I have to head out with another ride. Well we get the horses renamed with someone riding them every day after a week or so. they are being fed constantly so they start gaining weight like crazy. Shizanee had horrible hoofs from neglect so we had to have a farrie out right away. I could not believe what her feet were like. There were breaks and cracks everywhere. to the point that he had to glue on her horseshoes. When I turned her out with her new shoes it was a sight hard to believe. She ran around like a new young colt, or like a little girl with new shoes. i had never seen anything like it before.

These 2 were ridden every day for the rest of the summer, they turned out to be fantastic horses, absolutely amazing.

Now here comes fall, it is time to take our horses home. All we had was a small 3 horse trailer to load them up with. Well the 2 no-longer starving horses loaded right up. They were not hungry anymore had no intentions to being hungry again. No way were they going to be seperated from us.

Okay, so now it is tme to load up my horse, Scout. Now Scout had a different view of this, she like me just fine but why would she want to leave this place. Surely I could be talked into not doing this by refusing to load. We tried everything, no way, she was not going anywhere! No way.

So finally, after much thought I gave up and told the owner of the ranch about the problems, it was getting dark, I was worn out with this so I would come get her in a day or so. No problem he says. So we get in the truck and now Scout is screaming at us, she does not like this at all. We felt bad but consoled ourselves this would only be a couple of days. Guess what? Life got into the way, then it snowed a lot until it was a month before we were able to get back.This was a very rough period of time. I knew she was being well fed and taken care of but I wanted her with me.

We finally get it together to go pick up my darling. Now this time everything is different, Scout runs right up the ramp, cannot wait to get into the trailer, goes in right away. In fact she will run over anyone getting in her way of getting in. To this day she demands to be the first horse loaded each and every time.

I a not sure what caused her change of mind but I can tell you she loads easier than any horse that we have. She will flat run over any horse trying to get in front of her.

It is a strange way to conquer a loading problem but 5 years later she still races into a trailer.

 

A Long Hot Walk

This day started out the same as most days during our riding season. Somewhat flexible. This was a very warm day in July! Here during July and August we frequently have days that get into the low 90’s, not so very hot if one lives in Texas or the desert area’s in our country but around here very hot. However we are very lucky here on our ranch as we do not have an awfully lot of those days. I must say I am never a fan of those days. Somehow or another it just isn’t my idea of a great day when after being outside 15 minutes or so I start sweating, you know what I am talking about, so much sweat pouring out of your skin it is hard to keep it out of your eyes. Yuk! But we are really lucky because our trails mostly uphill to where there is a most welcomed shade from the many trees alongside. Now the first part of getting up higher is a dust bowl for about the first 30 minutes on many of those days. But fortunately that also gets better the farther on down the trail you ride. Anyway I am getting ahead of myself.

The first thing I must do this morning is to get 5 horses saddled up and ready to go so I can take a really nice couple on a guided horse ride for an hour and an half. They have told my wife when making the reservations they were experienced riders, especially the father. They were really a great family. They were in the area to visit Crater Lake which is just down the road from us.

Nothing special about getting the horses from their play area. They have about a 7 acre area to hang out in awaiting their turn to take folks for a ride. I ride some almost every day, customers or not. Some days I have company and somedays not.  When I ride alone I tend to ride much farther as I am still exploring the land we call home. When a person has a few hundred acres to ride there always seems to be another place to explore.

So our guests arrive, father, mother and 2 children, this should be a great ride for all.My wife, Kori and I get the horses saddled up, ready to go. This is going to be a great ride. Little did I know what all the horseback Gods had in mind for me today. Before we head out I have everyone do as I do with all my riders always, we all mount up in a large outdoor arena we have here so I can get a feel for how everybody can ride or not. This is always an adventure because people mostly seem to over estimate their riding ability, some by a little, some by a lot anda few only in their minds of make believe are they “good riders”. Now, many times they could be but for lots of reasons they really are not. Well the outdoor arena shows me right away who is and isn’t. It takes usually only to watch a person get mounted to figure it out. But for those overly generous folks about their rating of their abilities I can figure out where you really are very quickly. Now many times I am tempted to ask in what world where they good riders or only in their dreams. But that would not be a nice thing to say. So I don’t. But i do try to help with simple suggestions to allow us to ride safely wth no one falling off of their horse. I must admit sometimes it is hard to understand how some folks come to the conclusion that they are good riders.You would get a kick out of how hard it is at not being totally honest. But you know it will not be very good for business to watch someone for about 60 seconds and fall on the ground laughing your head off at them, asking them who ever told them they knew anything about riding. It doesn’t happen all that often, but sometimes when it does it is truly, truly funny. One problem  here, you are about to take a relatiavely inexperienced person on a ride. Believe it or not they will hold you and your horse responsible for any and all problems that happen.

Today is a good day, no one is thinking they are an expert, are happy to listen to advice , very friendly folks, this will be a great ride. If I had only known!

We head on out of the arena to begin our ride. Great people, great horses, this is going to be fantastic. Wow what a way to make a living, little did I know what the future held for this day.

We are riding, some sweating but mostly just pleasant riding, having a really good time. But I notice that the Dad’s saddle seems to be a little loose so I ask him to stop so that I can check it out. Yep it was a little too loose so I have him stop, stay on his horse while I hop down off my horse to tighten it. Now I do this all of the time, no big deal, not at all. I hop down deal with it and everything is great. I hate to confess to this but I am not as young as I used to be so sometimes I cheat a little and look for a tree stump to stand on while i get on my horse, no big deal, do it all of the time. So I have Scout, my horse who I have ridden for 5 years traveling literally thousands of miles. I get her situated by the stump, grab the reins with my left hand, stand on the stump and it explodes. Pow it goes, crumbling into pieces, making a very large sound of it, really loud, causing Scout to jump straight up, scared out of her wits. Honest to goodness she looks at me shaking her head, thens turns around taking off at a dead run, ripping the reins out of my hand. I am yelling at her to stop, in her defense she did for a second but quickly voted with her feet, taking off as fast as she can run with no looking back. Great!

So now I am over 5 miles from the ranch, It’s 95 degrees, no horse and 5 people on horses to be responsible for. The stupidist situation I have ever been in doing this, but then I remember I have a few other not so smart stories also. I won’t talk about them right now

We all talk about the situation with the Dad being very nice, tries to talk me into taking his horse and he will walk as he is much younger. Now do not misunderstand me, that was a great and very generous offer by him. But i was having none of that, my screwup, my walk. Besides who wouldn’t want to walk 5 miles in the dust of their riders in 95 degree weather, while walking in cowboy boots with spurs? I am certainly glad I did not have my chaps on.

So they ride slowly with me walking quickly alongside of them, sweating like crazy trying to remember that I love this business. Naturally they are concerned about Scout my horse or perhaps my soon to be ex horse. i am not in a very good mood at all trying to be cheerful with my 4 guests. Every once in awhile I would think ” they still eat horses in Mexico, maybe that isn’t such a bad thing after all.”

The entire family was great,  offering to let me ride and them walk. Really nice. but no way was that going to happen. I was telling them how sorry I was having to walk but this trip (they later would tell me) would be one of the one’s they would remember forever! Maybe so, but it took me at least a month to see the humor.

They kept asking me if Scout would be all right? I kept answering, yep until I got back to her. But in all reality I was very concerned about her myself. My cell phone had died and not a one of them had a cell phone with them. Now what are the odds of 5 Americans being together today and not a single working cell phone. That goes under ‘ believe it or not.’

The lovely hike back was just great, hotter than Hades with these kind people trying to talk me into letting them walk and me to ride, with me refusing to. They were so concerned as was I about Scout, where was she? Did she make it back on her own? Of course I would say, she is already back by now drinking water after Kori had  taken off her saddle. At least that was my hope and I was sticking with it. I was hot, completly soaked everywhere from hiking in this heat, miserable but having to be polite, upbeat and nice. Certainly not in a great mood. After constant offers of changing places from every single family member, with me always refusing, we finally made it back.

So we finally get back….and there she was, looking sheepish, in the round pen, where Kori had taken off her saddle, watered her, and wanting to make up. She was also very hot and sweaty. I loved on her for a few minutes, although I did remind her they do eat horses in Mexico…lol…she didnt seem threatened at all!

I must have looked like a drowned rat for sure! Everyone came over right away telling me how worried they were. But it all was good. the famiy was assuring me how this was one of their greatest adventures ever, to my dismay. Bottom line, no one got hurt. My horse was fine. We are still best buds.

Hopefully that was a once in a lifetime type of thing, never to be repeated, NOT EVER!!!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Howdy

Howdy

It has been a long time since I have been on here. Sorry about that but i was involved in a horse mishap and broke both of my wrists, having to have surgery on one of them which caused a few problems to say the least. but the casts are now off. Yahoo!! I am still weak and sore in my wrists but I am making progress.

We had a great riding season here at the ranch until all of the fires here in Oregon ruined the season from August on. But we had a really great time from mid June until August.

It is so wonderful to take people from all over the world on horse rides. Because we are down the road from Crater Lake (25 miles) we get riders from all over the world. Literally, this short season, from Germany, Netherlands, China, Canada,Viet Nam, England, France, Whales and I am sure from other countries also. However at the moment they escape from my mind.

I can not tell you how much I enjoy meeting these great guests, learning a few things about their country while enjoying helping them to learn how to ride Western style. One couple from the Netherlands spoke many different languages, the wife the most, 7 different languages. It is a humbling experience to really only speak one language, especially when many would perhaps rightfully say I could improve pretty easily in my English. I can also swear fairly well in Spanish from having several Hispanic fellow students in my high school. Somehow or another that just does not seem to sound that impressive. But now I will admit that I know lots of 4 letter words in English, although most would not believe that is an admirable quality. But my story is it just makes me colorful!

We did another thing on the ranch this year which we think is really a cool thing. We have added a tipi to to rent in our campground and that is awesome if I do say so myself. So now someone can come to the ranch, enjoy a true western experience. You can take an awesome guided horseback ride through some beautiful trails and then top it off with a night of staying in a tipi. Now i can’t speak for everyone but I think that is a great experience. Just think , it’s like going back in time 150 yrs ago. Anyway I love it! So did lots of others.

Now I must tell everyone about my book coming out sometime soon. Hopefully in another 2 weeks or so. Unfortunately I still do not have a firm date at all. For anyone wanting to write a book, be very careful who you use for publishling it. I made the mistake of using Outskirts Press which has turned out to not have been a very good idea on my part. I like to try to be fair and concede I was slower getting it done than I should have been. They did a custom cover for me that I love, and the book looks good inside, the print and formatting also looks great. Outside of that, nothing else is good. Almost any question you ask will be ignored until to ask over and over again. Then it will be answered but in a way to get you off of their back, not in a way to inform you. If it is an answer that will depend upon other things the answer will not address that. Now if you have written books before some items they not tell you will be obvious but not to a newcomer. Simple examble, they will add your book to Amazon in an ebook format for no charge. Sounds great, doesn’t it? There is a wrinkle here I can not find out, they refuse to answer and drives me crazy. If you write a book, just contact Kindle yourself, it takes a day or two for it to go on their sight ready to be purchased. But for some reason it takes at least 4 weeks if they do it. When do they tell you that? After you register through them and pay them money.

I have asked twice now but they of course refuse to answer or return that email. Calling them would be as effective as asking your horse.

So if a great cover and good formatting is what you are looking for, they are great! But if you want real help, with real answers promptly, not told the truth, like on Dragnet, the truth, just the truth you might want to go eleswhere.

Unfortunately not a good experience at all!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

july