As you well know, Australian Shepherds are frequently recognized as being very intelligent dogs. Some say Standard Poodles top the list, but how can anyone accept as intelligent a dog with one of those outlandish haircuts. Others will tell you that border collies are the most intelligent canines, but unbridled activity does not necessarily equate with brains. How many poodles or border collies do you know who write their own internationally read blog?
While Aussie's are bright, I have to confess to a slight intellectual imperfection. I can't keep track of all the horses that come and go through my life. I have to admit that from ground level they all look and smell the same. My reason for concern is that I might follow the wrong horse one day and lose my happy home. A bigger concern is that we might meet on the trail, and you won't recognize me. So, to solve my problem I have created what I call a Rogue's Gallery of horses that are currently involved in my life. These pictures and brief biographical sketches may help you recognize me on the trail. You never know when I might need directions or even worse, I might miss greeting one of my loyal readers. So, with your indulgence sit back and enjoy my equine friends. They are not listed in any particular order.
You met Gen is a previous blog, so I won't say much other than she is probably Dangerous' favorite. Gen is big, tall, pretty, and sweet. Her only fault is that she hates dogs, and I mean with the intent to kill. Unlike most of the other horses, she was bred and raised in Wyoming rather than Utah or California. Maybe that explains her bad behavior towards me and all other dogs.
Thunder belongs to Walking Horse Bill, and is a regular in his riding rotation. Getting along in years, he still lives up to his name. When you climb on, you better have a tight hold on his reins. Even at his age, this very traditional, black Walking Horse knows only one speed -- fast.
Another of Bill's horses, Zephyr has fathered some members of the current gallery including Dottie and Bug. He rarely leaves his stall because like most males he has only one thing on his mind, but Zephyr is an unusually quiet and cooperative stallion.
At first glance, you might think Balthazar, Bill's favorite mount, belongs on the Serengeti out distancing a lion. He is the tallest and leanest horse I know, but don't let those protruding hips fool you. Balthazar can really step out, and refuses to follow any other horse. You might not notice me on the trail, but this big boy never goes unnoticed, and is always seen in the lead.
Humble Misty is Bill's guest horse that anyone can ride. She is usually found in the middle of the pack with the most inexperienced rider on board. Misty has the unusual talent of convincing novice riders that they are actually riding rather than sitting. However, she understands instantly when a more experienced rider climbs on and perks right up stepping out in a beautiful four-beat lateral gait.
According to Dangerous, Rose is by far his best riding horse. She will climb a tree if the bark will hold, swim the deepest rivers without prodding, and dive off a steep bank without hesitation. Her only fault; she doesn't like other horses. Sullen and independent, Rose can't be bothered with the social niceties of herd etiquette. Most anyone can ride her, but don't put her in a enclosure with other horses she doesn't know, or she will try to eat them alive. Her aggressive behavior is especially pronounced around males of her species. Smart girl don't you think?
Next to Gennie, Bug is the youngest and sweetest in this gallery. She was bred, born, and raised in St. George. Bug is very refined with a pretty head, delicate legs and excellent Walking Horse gait. Like some of the other St. George horses, she doesn't especially like water. Maybe she and the others raised in the desert get their water phobia from having only seen it spurting from a hose or in a horse trough.
Until Gen showed up, Dottie was Dangerous' main ride. She is Bug's sister and her father is Zephyr. Dottie has a sweet temperament that extends to sheep dogs, but is afraid of everything that blows in the wind. On occasion she can be a challenge to ride, but Dangerous loves her dearly. Because of her color and not so perfect head, she has occasionally been mistaken for a mule which really offends Dangerous.
Sweetie is a stunningly beautiful Walking Horse who is a bit lame. Like Gen she comes from the Box Hanging Three Ranch in Dubois, Wyoming. She is in semi-retirement, but Bill hopes to raise another foal from her with the same great bloodlines and Walking Horse traits.
Chief is the only horse I know not from California, Wyoming, or Utah. How he got here from Mississippi is a mystery to me and his owner Kent as well. While a bit herd bound, Chief is a mellow-mannered fellow who Dangerous borrows occasionally when guests visit from out-of-state to ride. According to his owner, Chief is eight, but all of Kent's horses are eight because he can't remember when he got them or how long he has had them. Dangerous and Kent were riding together long before I was born, and Chief was around before that.
Blue is an aging senior who suffers from navicular disease. Don't worry the disease isn't contagious, but a hoof aliment that limits his use a bit. While hobbled some, Bill still uses Blue as a pack horse for his annual Yellowstone trip. Blue is a tough old boy who carries a heavy load while walking on thick hoof pads.
Scottie has the unique distinction of being the only Quarter Horse in the gallery, and is by far the oldest. Utah Jack retired him from active riding a few years ago due to navicular disease and age. He now hangs out in the pasture with Dottie keeping her company and munching grass. By 26, most horses have usually moved on to greener pastures; but Dangerous and Utah give him the best of care, and he may live to 30 or more. Even at his advanced age, Scottie is still the dominant horse in any pasture. During his prime, he was possibly the best saddle horse at the Parasite Ranch.
According to the dictionary, a Rogue's Gallery is a collection of portraits of criminals and suspects kept by law enforcement for identification purposes. Well, I don't want you to think of my equine buddies as criminals except maybe for Gen who has sheep dog murder in her heart, but to view these portraits and descriptions as a way to identify my traveling companions. If you meet a horse on the trail that matches one of these descriptions, take a close look around and you might see me with my tongue hanging out from trying to keep pace. Dangerous never passes up an opportunity to stop and talk, so when you see me, I am more than willing to chat. I usually need the rest, and even though I am an intelligent sheep dog, I don't mind having my tummy rubbed while we converse.