Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Back in the Saddle Again


It is spring break here so a couple of Dixie's aunts rented an arena for their families to have some cow/horse fun and I was invited.  We all took turns doing some sorting and cutting, which can be pretty fast paced.  I can make the horse go, but to outrun a calf is quite a different story.  
These are the little fellas we worked with.  
BTW  Lou lou took the pictures today.  


 I have to say that every time I get on a horse there is just a feeling I get. 
I can't really describe it, there is just something great being on the back of a horse. 
I only rode twice last year.  I know.  I can't believe it myself.  I am hoping that I will ride more this year.  

 For sorting you just separate a calf from the herd and direct it to the other end of the arena.  This was pretty easy breezy for me, at least it felt easy breezy. When I have helped Dixie sort and bring in her cow/calf pairs at her ranch we do this, in fact, a couple of years ago I brought in my own cow/calf pair from one pasture to another start to finish and it was fun. 

Dixie, Jill and I.  Jills' mom and dad are out of town so she came too.  She is a rodeo girl and she knows her stuff.  She was great fun today.  

  Jill showed us how she can stand on the back of a horse.  I was impressed that she could stand on the saddle with her boots on.  She is also 15 so she is extra brave and agile too. 

 See this paint horse?  Her name is Indie.  Shasta was not too impressed with all her hair and coloring.  Shasta didn't like Indie behind her, in front of her or anywhere near her.  She would kinda shy away from Indie.  It was interesting because I didn't know horses were so picky about who they hung out with. 

Oh Shasta.  

 Look, here is Jill again! 

 And then Dixie had to try right?  
Good job Dixie.  Agile yes.  15 no. 

 Oh wait, whaaaat? 






Ta Da!  
How could I just sit back and let these guys show me up? 
Agile (enough) yes. 15 no!
Look at Shasta. She is just standing there so patiently. 

 Jill jumped off her saddle and clicked her heels.
Remember?  She is 15 and agile. 

Ok, I know this is not horse related, but it connected to our day today. 

  I am a Find A Grave volunteer so cemeteries are kinda on my mind this time of year because I have been getting some requests lately.  Some have been in Cardston and other nearby cemeteries, but the other day I had a request for an Albert Mountain Horse at the St. Pauls' cemetery on the Blood reserve so Lou Lou and I went adventuring.  These native cemeteries are interesting and bumpy so I would have been shocked to find Alberts' headstone.  There aren't rows like you see in other cemeteries and a lot of the older graves don't have headstones.  Sometimes they use wooden crosses with writing so the information vanishes over time. The cemetery was right next to the St. Pauls' Residential School which is an interesting story in itself. Anyway, I wasn't able to find his grave.  He died in 1915 at the age of 21.  If you are interested in his story you can read it here.  
I find these stories so fascinating. 

 This is the residential school.  If these walls could talk!
On my list of reading material is a book about the residential schools on the reserve. 


 You never know what can happen when you go searching for someone on Find A Grave.
This is Mary. She noticed me taking a picture of the building so she came out and started a conversation.  She is living at the school.  It is being used as a shelter now after the government turned it over to the reserve in the 70's, but the interesting part of the story is that she is a "residential school survivor"  She was taken from her family in the 60's when she was 6 years old and lived here until she was 15.  Long story short -the government wanted to help the natives so the children were taken from their homes and sent to these schools 9 months out of the year where they were taught the english language and the white man's ways.  They were not allowed to speak their native tongue while living at the school. They would only be able to go home during the summer so you can imagine the changes and confusion these kids had.
Mary told us that she hugs her children and grandchildren often because there was no affection shown during those years at the school.  She also told us that the nuns who ran thew schools with their long black robes were very scary to her as a little girl. Sad. 
She was so excited to talk with Lou Lou and I and we enjoyed talking with her. She gave us each a stone with some Ammolite and showed us a little project she had made with her gem stone. 

In the Blackfoot language, Ammolite is known as the “Buffalo Stone” or  "iniskim". Legend of how the stone came to the Blackfoot begins with a woman out gathering firewood during the harshest winter in memory. The buffalo which sustained the tribe had not been seen for some time; the people were hungry and dispirited. As she searched, the woman thought she heard a female voice singing. She followed the sound and discovered a beautiful stone shaped like a buffalo. The woman recognized the powerful medicine and took the stone to the tribe’s shaman. He blessed it and the tribe performed a prayer calling the buffalo. The very next day a herd of buffalo came through their land near the village. Ever since the Blackfoot tribe has used  Ammolite in prayers and ceremonies; it is kept in medicine bundles wrapped in buffalo hide. It is considered very good medicine!


 So back to todays' fun. 
 On our way home from riding today, Dixie showed me where another cemetery was on the reserve. 

Remember, you never know what you might find at these places.  I wanted a picture of the sign, but then I decided I wanted to walk around for a bit. 
Bingo!
I found Albert Mountain Horses' brother, Mike. 

Very exciting for me.  
After Albert returned from the war,  his two brothers, Joe and Mike decided to join.  His brother, Mike, lived to the age of 81 and was quite influential on the reserve.  He has a school named after him in Lethbridge.   
This was such a find.  To me it's like finding a treasure. 
I found another headstone of a man who is mentioned in a book I am reading about a native named Charcoal who has quite the legend in these parts.  I have yet to find Charcoals' headstone, but the book says he was buried in Stand-Off which is just a 1/2 hour from Leavitt and when I do,  you can bet your bottom dollar that I will do a blog post. 
The more you learn about this little spot in the world from books and people you wouldn't believe all the connections you find.