Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Eye Spy

Wednesday February 10 2010

I like to say that Jose has Elf Eyes, because he spots things while out on the trail that I'd completely miss. He always sees deer herds before I see the white butts turn and bound away. Once, on an endurance ride, he spotted a coyote on the side of a hill as we were trotting along. I couldn't see anything. Jose kept wanting to stop and look. I even let him stop and look and I didn't see anything. I told him there was nothing there, and I urged him along the trail, and he agreeably trotted onward while he kept looking at the hillside. The coyote blended so perfectly into the brown brush and dirt, and I only saw it when we were within a hundred yards of it and it moved. Jose's found deer antlers and feathers and obsidian. He even found a GPS once. I've got a box of his Owyhee treasures.

On today's ride, he first spotted twenty sage grouse when they flew up from the sagebrush. Must be a new lek there!

Next: a cow in the sagebrush... a cow? Perhaps it was a bull? We didn't want to get too close, because that's probably what it was. Some bull obviously didn't read the cow-lander to realize he should have come down out of the mountains four months ago.

Next: the mother of all deer antlers - and two points are even broken off.

I strapped it on the back of Jose's saddle pack, but as we trotted, it would poke him in the butt and make him swish his tail. I ended up carrying it the rest of the ride. It was heavy enough to know I'd get one big headache if I had to wear a pair of these on my head all the time. No wonder they shed every year!

Next - a stash of calcite crystals. We've ridden by this spot many times, but only now, after a certain amount of snows and rains, the mud has eroded and crumbled away and the crystals have chosen to reveal themselves. I picked a few up for Jose.

And, of course, always, Jose notices and treasures the views of this spectacular country that we ride in (particularly from high spots). I always wonder what goes on in his head as he gazes at the world spread out around him.


  1. Thanks for commenting on my blog - I love following yours and hearing about all of Jose's new exploits. I think I'm in love! Its really neat that you two just walked up and found a small stash of calcite crystals. If I ever make it up to Owyhee, I'll be sure to come out and visit - you can be my link to all things horsey and I'll be your 'geology eyes'!

  2. Jose, as he rides along the wide open terrain, "thank you, Lord, for not fencing me in!"

  3. He is worth his weight in gold,
    you are getting a ride/view that most
    never get/see.

    Kay Kelly

  4. Love your blog! What beautiful landscapes you have to ride in. It's getting awfully fenced in here in the Sierra Nevada foothills - the wild land is disappearing. A question: as a British transplant I'm still learning about American tack, and I've never seen a bridle/bit assembly like the one Jose is wearing. Can you talk a bit about it, if you ever get a moment to spare?

  5. I just love it out there, of course I was there during the summer, how is in the winter? take some pics for me will you ?

  6. I found a huge vein of crystals near Benson AZ one year. Wow! There some beautiful large ones, too. I was there for hours collecting my treasures! :)
    Lucky you that you have such a special horse to help you find treasures. Jose is the best kind of trail horse: observant, but not afraid, curious and interested, and excited about exploring with his rider.
    Give him a smooch for me :)

    ps what kind of bit and bridle is he wearing. I've never seen one like that before. Very unusual.

  7. Clarence only sees monsters...

  8. I love your stories, Merri! My gelding is a superb snake spotter - very important when travling to rattlesnake country.