Although it may not look like it at first glance around the ranch right now, Spring is here. We still have a respectable amount of snow here in the mountains of North Idaho. This is the time of year when we begin preparing each and every one of the ranch horses for the summer season. Tuning them up each Spring after their winter’s vacation is an annual job in which I love taking part. Each of our horses, whether they were started by us as youngsters or purchased already started, go through our training program, the Basic Handle, created by Pat Wyse. The Basic Handle is a system of horse training that lays down a solid foundation that builds a safe, sane, handy horse to ride. Once a horse has this solid foundation, their training can continue into more advanced pursuits. We take pride in our horse herd; in their training and their dispositions. Our horses are gentle and quiet enough for a timid first-time rider to enjoy but athletic and talented enough that an advanced rider can appreciate and enjoy. These horses are fun to ride! This is why each Spring when it’s time to get the horses out and remind them of their lessons in the arena, I am excited put them through their paces.
Another Springtime event at the barn is the gelding of the yearling stud colts. All of the male horses on the ranch are gelded making for a more peaceful and harmonious ranch environment. If we have any male foals born the previous year, the time for gelding comes in the Spring. Pepper and Ned just had this little procedure done a week ago. Part of the recovery process is a daily exercise in the indoor arena. These two can really put on a show as they run and play together. They were especially excited to meet BC, one of our half-draft geldings who Roley was doing some groundwork with that morning. The two yearlings oscillated between fascination and trepidation as the big horse moved around the arena.
In the coming weeks, after their incisions and pride have healed. These two will also experience some short groundwork sessions to introduce them to training concepts. They will then spend the Summer on pasture with Bud the babysitter draft horse learning how to be a horse and behave in a herd environment. Next Spring, the work of becoming a real, grown-up horse, will begin.
With the long winter we are currently experiencing, we will continue to tune-up and train up the ranch horses in our newly-expanded indoor arena. Spring will eventually bloom with green pastures, flowers, warm breezes, and baby horses. Until then, we will continue to enjoy whatever weather comes our way knowing that April showers (whether they be snow or rain) bring May flowers.