A Day in the Life of a Ranch Babe

Have you ever wondered what goes on at a North Idaho guest ranch during the unpredictable month of March? Through rain, snow, hail or sunshine, the ranch-hands continue their work on the ranch. Follow Emily through her day and learn just what a ranch babe does to help the ranch prepare for spring.

Emily starts the day out by helping Grandma to make beds in the guest rooms.  She makes sure the quilts are  on exactly the way she wants.
The ladies who come for quilting retreats need some help too.  Emily loves to help them sew.

Next, its time to head to the barn to ride horses.  This time of year, everyone is riding horses to prepare them for the summer guest ranch season and the young horses are getting a refresher course.  All the action takes place in the indoor arena because everywhere else is covered in snow, ice or mud.  Emily likes to supervise the riders, dogs, and cats from the hay stack.
The horses stand in the alley, waiting patiently to be ridden.  This is Chance sporting Emily’s saddle. Yes, that’s a big horse (16.2+ hh) and yes that’s a tiny saddle (8″ seat).

When she is not supervising or riding, Emily is just outside the barn checking the mud levels.  
All that work tuckers a girl out! After a quick lunch break, Emily is ready for a nap.  Anywhere will do, even the kitchen counter is a good spot to catch some z’s.

After lunch, the sun is out so its back to the haystack to supervise the cat and soak up some much needed vitamin D.
Now its Emily’s turn to ride! She loves to ride with grandma and tell the horse exactly what to do.  “Walk, trot, whoooooooaaaaaaaahhhhhhh, walk, whoooooooaaaaaaaahhhhh, trot”,  she tells Blue.

Blue is nice, but Chance is warm and comfy.  There is no better place to rest your head.

By the end of the day, this ranch babe is worn out.  A bag full of horse blankets in the tack room makes a nice place to rest.

How to Get on Your Horse Bareback

The art of mounting a saddleless horse is something I have tried to master for years. I am sorry to report that…well…I still really stink at it. However, with my years of experience at trying, I have learned a few techniques that I will share with you today.

The models in the pictures will demonstrate these techniques, however I must apologies to them ahead of time because they don’t know that I am using these lovely pictures of them on this blogg.

It is vital that your horse stand completely still while you attempt to swing onto their bare back from the ground. I find that it is best to first whisper to your horse your plans. In this case, I decided to make sure my horse was paying complete attention to my whispers by taking her head in my hands and speaking directly into her eyes. Here I am imploring her to stand still and think small (very small) while I attempt to get on.

Here, Sammi Jo Gulickson (one of the ranch’s past wranglers) is swinging onto Lil’ Horse. She began by standing next to Lil’ Horse’s head facing her hind quarters, then swung her right foot up and over Lil’ Horse’s back. Note that Sammi uses her left leg, wrapped around Lil’ Horse’s front left leg to help her climb onto her steed’s back.

Once Sammi has swung her leg on top of Lil’ Horse’s back, she uses her arms to pull her the rest of the way up. Her left hand pulls on a chunk of mane, while her right elbow is hooked over the withers.

This next horsewoman is Melissa Peck, another past wrangler at the ranch. Please note that her horse, Rhythm, is 16+ hands tall. Melissa begins with the same technique as Sammi by facing her horse’s hindquarters and swinging her right leg over her horse’s back.

This is where Melissa’s technique varies from Sammi. Notice Melissa is using her right leg to grip Rhythm’s right hip and pull herself onto his back. A word of caution here: if you are wearing spurs make sure you have very calm horse or be prepared for a large movement forward!

Congratulations Melissa on successful and graceful bareback mount onto a very tall horse.

As I mentioned at the beginning I have not yet mastered this skill. I would now like to demonstrate a bareback mounting failure. Yes, that is me, and yes that is a pony whose side I am clinging to. Not my finest moment here. Let us dissect my form, or lack there of. Had I used Sammi’s left leg method and climbed Lil’ Horse’s leg like a ladder, I might have made it on. Or had I employed Melissa’s technique of using my right leg and spur like a climbing axe I may have succeeded. Or could the real problem be that my horse just didn’t think small enough? Yes , I am going with that one.