Friday, July 31, 2009

The Things They Carry

"Why do they need all these things?"

Open the door to Dangerous' horse trailer tack room and you will find most anything you need. It's like peering into a woman's purse; you never know what you will find in there. Inside is a tangle of saddles, blankets, coats, hats, boots, spurs, first aid supplies, tools, and horse shoeing equipment that he has accumulated over the past forty years. A broken saddle or headstall usually can be repaired by digging around to find an old piece of leather. If someone forgets their coat, he probably can find you one well insulated with years of dust and horse hair. Pull off the plug connecting the trailer's lights and breaks to the truck, and Dangerous has the tools available to sit in the dirt for hours to rewire the plug. I don't understand why he needs all these things, but he tells me they are all necessary and important.

Door Organizer

Dangerous tries to bring order to the existing chaos with a door organizer, but it appears to me it just collects more junk. I can understand the need for leather strings and a leather punch, but how do you fix a saddle or bridle with a roll of duct tape. As Dangerous explains it, the duct tape is a necessary part of his horse first aid kit. What kind of emergency care can Dottie, Little Guy, and I expect from a guy who uses duct tape? Someone please contact the Humane Society!

First Aid Kit

There are times when first aid supplies are critical. Where we go it's a long trip to the vet, so a tube of banamine or bute is critical for a horse with a "tummy ache" or other serious pain. As mentioned in past blogs, I have watched Dangerous treat some serious wire cuts from his accumulated ointments and bandages. So, I guess that gray box full of antibiotic creams and iodine is important, but can't he clean it up a bit.


If you want to spend a few dull hours, get Dangerous and his riding buddies started discussing and debating different styles and brands of saddles. Who besides them is interested in diverse types of saddle trees? If you want to watch my eyes roll back in my head, get them talking about western versus trail saddles. Dangerous now uses light-weight trail saddles because he is too old and infirm to throw a 55 pound western saddle on Dottie or Little Guy. You should hear Fremont Bob scold Dangerous about the "plastic stirrups" on his two Fred Hook saddles. I think Fremont Bob is sometimes embarrassed to be seen riding with us.

Chaps and Bits

It isn't just the horses that have to be well dressed, but the riders too. Dangerous has an assortment of silver inlaid bits that cost a small fortune. He is probably the only guy whose retirement gift after thirty years was a silver Campbell bit from Big Bend Saddlery rather than the traditional gold watch. The silver bit goes in the horse's mouth, but Dottie and Little Guy could care less whether it is silver. It is Dangerous who likes the fancy bit and head stall not them. Listen to Dangerous and Bob talk about the virtues of leather chaps in brush, rain and cold weather, but we all know they are only dressing the part. I can only hope that Dangerous leaves his shotgun chaps lying around unattended one day, and I will show him how much a sheep dog loves split grain cowhide.

Fremont Bob's Spurs

Essential to every outfit is a pair of spurs. I have actually seen them come in handy. Just Thursday morning Dottie was being her usual difficult self and wouldn't cross a narrow, rocky stream of water. With a little encouragement from a pair of Fremont Bob's handmade spurs Dangerous finally got her to step across. If she hadn't given in, Dangerous would have employed his Fremont Bob hand braided quirt. I am sure that the spurs aren't necessary, but they sure dress up a pair of handmade Wilson boots. I suspect you get the drift that these accouterments not only complete the costume, but have special meaning because someone Dangerous knows made them for him. With the exception of Utah Jack, Dangerous and the High Plateau riders don't buy off the rack.

Hats and Guns

The complete look requires a hat and gun. Dangerous had to borrow Fremont Bob's cowboy hat for the picture because he really falls short in this area. He owns two cowboy hats, but prefers to wear a ball cap with an appropriate logo. With his short neck, he really looks silly in a ten gallon hat. It appears to sit directly on his shoulders with his eyes peering out from under the wide brim. However, he does wear the regulation six-gun carried in a handmade holster. My only worry is that he will fall off Dottie in deep water and sink to the bottom weighted down by his .357 Magnum, handmade spurs, handmade chaps, and the rest of his outfit.

Banjo and Guitar

Since Dangerous is completely tone deaf, he avoids traditional cowboy instruments like the banjo and guitar. Fremont Bob and other friends provide the cowboy music after a long ride and good dinner. Dangerous does the cooking, but thank goodness he leaves the music to others.

Well, you probably thought that life on the High Plateau is simple and carefree. I hope I have given you more insight into how complicated things can get with Dangerous and some of his friends. The things they carry give a romantic picture to the scene, but I am sure they could do without most of the stuff that seems to define them. Love to hear from you!

By the way, we will be gone for awhile collecting more material. The end of next week we are going to the Wind Rivers for a week. Hopefully before we leave I will post our invitation to the "Grover Boyz" first annual Labor Day picnic. Stay tuned.

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