A Guide School Student's Journal

horse training

DAY 3 - Wednesday

Up by 6 a.m. to wrangle the horses before breakfast. We had breakfast at 6:30 again, and class started at 7:00 as usual.

Each of us caught, haltered and brushed down the horse he was assigned yesterday, then we went over the parts and terminology of a riding saddle. There's more there than I ever realized. A guide could really sound ignorant without knowing those basic terms.

To get ready for shoeing horses this weekend, we practiced picking up a horse's foot and holding it between our knees with our legs bent into a sitting position. Shoeing might just be harder than it looks. We all had trouble holding a hoof for even two minutes at a time. Well, at least we're getting to practice. Maybe we'll be ready by Sunday.

After learning the basics and practicing saddling and bridling, we packed lunches and rode for the rest of the day. We found there's a little more to it than just sitting in a saddle like a sack of salt. Lots of steep uphill climbs and downhill scrambles, fighting through thick timber, bogs and deadfall taught us plenty about mountain riding - and mountain horses. Sure beats walking!

Found two shed antlers and saw two cow elk while we were riding. Cody figured the lone cows were either calving late or had new calves hidden nearby. We saw a yearling bull moose on the way back in and experienced a mountain thunder storm real up-close and personal. The horses handled the lightning okay, but most of us figured it was plenty close for comfort.

big game guide training

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