Is this what Pioneer Children Did?

I spent Pioneer Day up at the Howells’ Family Ranch above Oakley. I figured on Pioneer Day I should try to get in touch with my heritage and play cowgirl. Now despite my city-slicker upbringing, I do have a little (a very little) cowgirl in me. Katie’s family tried to teach me the cowgirl ways by taking me out on a couple of horseback rides.

For the first ride we went out to saddle the horses and Katie handed me a bridle and reins and told me to go take the halter and lead rope off my horse and put the other on. Um, excuse me? So I went and stood by my horse and looked confuesed. When she got done with her horse she came over and was a little frustrated that I hadn’t done anything yet. She put her arm around the horses neck, took the halter off, and put the bridle on. Hey, you said nothing about having to give the horse a hug while I did it. Was I supposed to know that?

Despite my lack of knowledge about horse tack, the ride was really fun.

Me, Katie’s Dad (my uncle Karl), and Katie’s brother-in-law Dave
After the ride we went back and played Canasta (I was really good until I figured out how to actually play), and made and ate dinner, talked, and then set out on another horse ride. We went down to the barn to saddle the horses and I was asked to hold Moab while they put the saddle on him. I guess he doesn’t like to be hitched and pulls back until he breaks the hitching post. That being said, who thought it would be a good idea for me, the city slicker, to hold him. I’m not sure. But having spent two hours on a horse earlier that day, I was feeling confident.

As I was standing there I watched Moab trying to size me up and figure out who was boss. We both knew who was boss, and we both knew it wasn’t me. So, after he turned sideways and pinned me against the hitching rail (to which my response was to still stand there dutifully holding the lead rope) they finally got him saddled.

Dave and Moab, Katie and brown horse whose name I can’t remember, Me and Princess Sparks

Ruth (Katie’s sister who had been saddling the horse) went back into the shed for a second when Moab decided he was done standing there and started bucking. I was trying to hold him and everyone was yelling to give him more rope. He just kept rearing back and finally they said to just let go. I did . . . and Moab just stood there. Ok, you win. It was kind of scarry, but kind of funny too.

The rest of the ride was far less eventful, but really fun. I was glad I got to go spend the day up there. It really is a beautiful place and it was tons of fun hanging out with family and playing cowgirl–even if I’m not so good at it.



  1. You’d think that several summers in Preston and Grandpa Howells blood in our veins would lend to some sort of “horse-know-how.” Well, city slicker, I’d say you handled yourself quite well! I would have headed for the hills at Moab’s first stare down. 🙂 (or maybe the mall.)

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