Utah Travelog - continued

Day Three - continued
As the sun lowers its glow, we reach Laramie and after having consumed a satisfying meal of buffet variety and trucker size portions, we head off to Mears Morgans.

The road to the ranch is long and sweeping. Antelope graze with the horses and cattle on the open plains, at times free of wire and post. The rig rolls over the common cattle grates and pulls into the large parking area near the farm complex and arena.

Owner Anne Mears, a very distinguished lady in her seventies and one of those down-to-earth folk, greets us as we step from the cab. Her smile is spontaneous and her manner so welcoming. Itís as if we have known each other for years. I like her immediately. Sheís a transplanted easterner and somewhat world traveller that has made the Wyoming range her home. It is so evident by her demeanour that her horses provide her with a zest for life and grant her a vitality and sharpness of mind. Youíre immediately drawn to her headgear, a soft hat adorned with fake carrots. She says the Morgans donít care for her choice of treats and usually walk away in disdain. Raker walks off the trailer, this time a little shaky from the dayís journey. I think Raker is as overwhelmed with the beauty of the land as we are. Anne invites us to longe him in the outdoor work ring, suitable in size to hold a horse show alone. Raker reaches and trots like the roadster breeding he is. He loves this vast and arid land that receives a scant 13 inches of rain per year. He boldly works the line as he enjoys his freedom from the confines of the trailer. After about 15 minutes, heís led away to his stall for the night. Keeping him company is a large two-year-old stud colt in the next stall. They share noses at the screening and decide its OK to be friends. After a brief tour we depart only to continue our visit in the morning.

Day Four
We arrive back at the ranch and discover that Raker survived the night in the Wyoming territory. We are a little concerned that he didnít drink much water last night. I had noticed a peculiar odour to it, but since he drank water at various locations from different sources, I felt he would be fine. Anne tells us that the water has a high sulphur content and that is probably why Raker was hesitant to drink it. We replace the local water with his own from home and he eagerly dunks his head into the bucket and downs about three gallons.

As we prepare to pack up our few items, we discover a flat on the trailer. Bob cracks open the side compartments on the truck and reaches for the tire iron. While heís changing the tire, Anne decides to give me the grand tour, trying not to interfere with the staff and their morning chores. A mare saunters by on he way to visit an amorous stud. After a few squeals, she strolls back, as Carl the cowhand reports in a nonchalant way, "nothing, maybe tomorrow". The roar of the Bobcat hushes our conversation momentarily as it makes it way with determination down the long aisle of box stalls.

The Mearís Ranch comprises of 1600 acres and maintains 100 head of horses (give or take one or two). Fifty percent belong to Mears, and the other 50 percent are clients and boarders. They are very much self-sufficient and functional. It is not a show barn per se, but very tidy and workable. The horses may not be show groomed and clipped, but the quality of the stock is superb and correct. These are strong durable Morgans, without coarseness. She shows me her Justa Venture stallion and others. I must say that all of the horses are well cared for, fat, sassy and happy. You donít see any pinned ears or vice driven stallions here. When mentioned that we have an old Cross Ranch Morgan at home that came from this region, Anne immediately acknowledges that she must be one tough and hardy horse.

The Cross Morgans had to be made of iron to live out on this range with its harsh elements of wind, rock and sage and cold winters. Just scanning the rugged horizon with the naked eye makes you appreciate how special a horse we have in H-Loli.

"Waldo" the abandoned twin calf that was rescued and bottle raised on the ranch, wanders in the barn to say hello. Anne quickly explains that heís still a little confused. Waldo thinks he maybe human, maybe a dog, but he certainly is not a horse, God forbid. Soon Waldo strolls out to the stock pens, continuing his daily inspections. Our conversation turns to the Morgan that made it for Mears, the late MM Lynndon.

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