Trailhead Supply Blog / Confessions & Wrecks
All of you should know how bad the fires are in Northwest Montana and the rest of the Northwest US for that matter. All one needs to do is turn on the internet, TV, or pick up any newspaper; there are more stories and pictures of the wildfires and displaced people and animals than there are pictures of Trump running for president. My last trip into the Bob Marshall Wilderness a few days back I received a message that the Forest Service was sending a chopper in to helivac me out and to turn my pack string loose. I thought for less than a half of second and decided it was time to go. I saddled and rode toward the trail head I wasn’t turning my horses and mules loose to join all the others that were running loose, displaced by all the wildfires. Along my journey out I ran across a big roan mare standing in the trail. No tack, not even a halter, just a confused look on her face. Not seeing any sign of a human I threw a rope around her neck and tied her to the back of the string and kept moving down the hill toward safety. Forest Service met me at the trail head asking if we had made it out ok and informing me the trails were now closed, like I couldn’t have guessed that. I showed him the mare I had found, asked if he recognized her, the brand etc. He took a few pictures of her and her brand then I loaded her in the trailer and headed to the ranch. Upon arriving home we took a couple more pictures and posted them on social media and the following morning notified our county Brand Inspector. The Facebook post went viral being shared over 140 times and then the emails and phone calls started pouring in. The problem was no one knows what their horse looks like. That looks just like my paint that got away over a year ago….It’s not a paint I said. Then why did you post a picture of a paint? I didn’t. At what point do you quit being nice to folks and stop trying to explain the difference between what they think is a grey and the bay roan in the pictures. I asked dozens of the callers is your horse branded? Nope. Well then it’s not your horse because this one is….What??? Who branded my horse??? Was almost always the answer that came back. Where do these people come from? Haven’t seen their horse in over a year, can’t remember what color or the size of it is, not to mention what sex it was. About the time I was going to throw in the towel and just give up and reside that I had a new horse, the phone rang. It was one really pissed of guy basically accusing me of being a horse thief. You have my horse he said. Really I replied, what’s your horse look like? He described her from the brand down to the last wire cut. Then he was back barking at me for dragging her out of the wilderness, and why would I do that, and how could I do this, and on and on and on. I finally said whoa partner…..I did what I was told to do by the forest service; and that is pick up and displaced animals I came across and get them to safety, which I did. She is now in the custody of the department of livestock and until I hear otherwise I can’t release her. Well its now been 6 days and no word from anyone…..If it was my horse, I would be thrilled if anyone found her and got them out of the worst wildfires Montana has experienced in a long, long time. Sometimes I just don’t get folks…………………..
***Update the owner met up with the brand inspector and was reunited with his mare late last week.***
Well we are smack dab in the middle of summer. Most of us have already been out riding a time or two (sadly the fires are slowing a lot of us down). I even got a chance to go riding with my wife a few days ago. For those of you that know us, you know what a huge deal that was knowing our busy schedules and still ending up with a Saturday off together and a sunny Saturday at that. So, we were at the trail head saddling up when this single gal rode up to the trailer next to ours. I exchanged greetings and asked how the trail was, etc. You know the normal old trail head chit chat then she did the one thing I truly hate….She got in her trailer and shoveled all the manure out onto the ground, I mean scraped it clean. This just pisses me off! This is the one thing that bugs me even more than bringing a herd of unleashed poorly trained dogs on the trail. At least I can shoot the dogs. I said what are you doing? She said cleaning out my trailer. She wasn’t even the least bit concerned about this pile of crap left behind. She said it’s all natural it will break down and be gone before anyone sees it. I told her I sure can see it, and it looks horrible. You understand she says it’s part of horse ownership. No, I don’t understand, and I own way more horses and mules than most. I have never understood cleaning out your trailer at the trail head. It gives all horse owners a bad name. And another thing I sleep on the ground next to my trailer all summer long, and I don’t want to sleep in your horses $***! Do us all a favor, clean that trailer out at home, keep the trail head clean before there are even more restrictions put on us.