November 18, 2008

Ruby & the Roan Mare

One of my girlfriends invited me on a cattle drive outside of Gunnison, CO the weekend of halloween. There were five of us "City Slickers" (all horsewomen, but with little or no ranch experience) who came up from the Front Range, and two men who lived on the ranch. It was great spending a weekend with a group of people I didn't know, in a place I'd never been and very isolated (45 minutes to the nearest town).
Riding back to the ranch after the drive, I saw tons of bones and skulls, which I love to collect. (I was only able to stuff one skull in each saddle bag, so I had to go back!)

That evening as we were sitting around the dinner table, I announced that I was going to go find and collect the bones the next morning. The foreman, Shane, asked how I planned on getting the bones back to the ranch. I said, "I don't know, but I'll figure something out." He offered to hitch up his team and we could all go for a wagon ride, and get my bones! It was perfect!

The team consisted of two VERY big girls, one who's name was Ruby and the other didn't have a name. When Shane first hooked them up, Ruby was wild and belligerent, she almost broke the traces and singletree. Once he got them moving forward she settled right in. It soon became obvious who was doing all of the work, because the poor roan mare was sweating like crazy, and Ruby was

barely warm. Shane kept poking her in the butt with a stick, which helped for a few strides. When we were going up or down a hill, the roan put all her weight into the harness, and Ruby just trotted along, slowing down every time she felt the weight of the wagon. What a stinker!

I took tons of photos, which I'm beginning to use in my artwork. I did two small (5"x7") scratchboard pieces of Ruby (black horses are fun to do scratchboard of). The first is called "Back to Work", which is why she has such a worried expression on her face. The second is "Break Time" (of course, Ruby's favorite time).

No comments: