Roley is usually the first one up in the morning and starts his day by brewing the first pot of coffee for the early risers. Then, he is off to feed the horses. Along with feeding horses comes stocking hay in barns and lean-twos so that there is always hay to feed when its time to feed.
Next, you might find him out in the horse barn re-setting shoes and trimming feet. Taking care of the feet of 70 horses is a big job. Our Farrier, John, takes care of most of the feet of most of the riding horses on the ranch. But if somebody throws a shoe and needs to be ready for the morning ride, Roley and Isaac can also do a first-rate job of taking care of the horses’ feet.
Back to moving more hay! Preparing for winter means making sure that there is enough hay to feed our herd of horses all winter long. 70 horses eat a lot of hay! That means that just about every nook and cranny of every barn gets stuffed full with hay. Here Roley is hauling hay to the V-X barn and stowing it away to be used for winter feed.
One of the dangers of moving hay into the lofts of old barns is bees. You never know where they might have hidden away their nests just to come after you when you are precariously perched halfway up a ladder. Roley wisely came prepared to battle the bees. with his can of bee spray. Of course, the bees had chosen a prime location for their nest; right at the base of the ladder leading into the loft. His strategy was interesting to watch. Spray, wait, spray, wait, spray, climb as fast as you can!
No, he is not praying although he is known to do that. He’s working on a water line. Maintaining buildings, fences, roads, horses, equipment, and everything else that you find on a ranch takes a vast amount of time, knowledge and skill.
One of the things that comes along with owning and operating a ranch is maintenance. There is always going to be something that needs to be repaired, rebuilt or replaced. With 7 barns, 1 lodge, 4 cabins, 4 outbuildings and hundreds of miles of fence, you can be sure that there is always something waiting to be done. At the moment, Roley is working on finishing up a garden shed, putting new foundations on a 60-year-old barn, and milling siding for a new tack room. Materials for these projects can sometimes be stowed away in interesting places; like above the tack room.
We were able to put a 50-foot addition onto our indoor arena along with 24-foot lean-tos on two sides. Part of this addition includes a vet room and a second tack room. while the exterior construction of this addition was hired out, most of the finish work has to be completed by Roley and Isaac. The vet room looked great after its paint job was completed!
Roley does, occasionally rest. You know, like when he is driving from the Big Horse Barn to the Machine Shed or eating his lunch. As you can see, the animals like to take advantage of those moments to hang out with him.
No story about Roley would be complete without his right-hand man and son, Isaac. Isaac works full time at the ranch and he and Roley are a great team keeping up on the hundreds of daily tasks that it takes to keep the horses fed, the machinery moving and the grounds and buildings in tip-top shape.
During the winter months, Roley is driving sleighs, plowing snow, sanding icy pathways and grooming nordic trails.
Another vital role that Roley plays here on the ranch is horse trainer. Most of our guest horses were born and raised here, then started by Isaac and Roley. Training starts from their first moments on the ground. At two years old, our horses are started under saddle. Isaac and Roley put 30 days on them as two-year-olds, then another 30 days as three-year-olds. After that our wranglers take over and put trail miles on our horses.
To make a long story short, the list of things that Roley does around the ranch is long …very long. He sure is a handy guy to have around and we sure are thankful for him!