A typical equestrian ride on a not-so-typical winter day turns into an unexpected adventure for two members of the Squaw Butte chapter. A day that started out rather benign and somewhat boring, quickly turned into something a bit more wild and western. Read on for an account from each rider, in their own perspective of the events to unfold.

Rob at 4 mile

The Winter Wreck, by Rob Adams

Many movies get the audience hooked by zooming in on the lead character in some dangerous situation and then flash back to a scene 24 hours earlier.   Here is such a scene, starring Rob Adams.

High on a ridge in the 4 Mile wild horse area lays a young horse on his side in a gully, feet pointing up slope.  Rob’s left leg is trapped under the horse by the saddle and saddle bags.  Flash ahead to two hours ago…

With the total lack of snow below 5500 feet, winter riding ranges have been expanded this year.  I have been riding my colt, Payette, most weekends and Sunday. January 8th looked to be another nice day, so I put out the word to a couple riding buddies that I was thinking about riding 4 Mile Creek.  Two passed, but Laurie Bryan was game. We would meet at 11:00 at the bridge, just before the Y.  After tacking up, we started on the loop route we often ride.  The ground, for the most part, was frozen or dry and the stock had no problem with footing.  There were a few cows still in the area, but we were looking for the mustang bands. We watched for fresh hoof prints, stud piles and other signs that might indicate wild horses in the area. Read the rest of Rob’s tale here


Wrecks and Wild Horses, by Laurie Bryan

As usual, Jack and I followed a good 30 yards behind the last rider on the trail. On this particular cool day in January, the only other rider on the trial besides me was fellow Squaw Butte member, Rob Adams. I don’t mind picking up the rear most of the time. Doing so gives me a pretty good perspective from which to take pictures and keep an eye on things just in case, you know…we are attacked by cougars or serial killers.
Rob chose the Wild Horse Management area, just north of Emmett on 4 mile road, hoping that we would get a glimpse of a band of mustangs that roam this part of the desert. Rob was familiar with the area; however, this was to be my first trip. I was excited to finally have the chance to see Mustangs in the wild.
Rob rode his bay Mustang, Payette. The four year old was doing well for a green broke colt. He plodded along, picking his way through dense lava fields that covered 90% of the area, with familiarity born of a desert horse.  Jack, on the other hand, was not born of the desert. I purchased Jack from a breeder as a young colt.  Until I started him two years ago, he was pasture bred and born.  Jack carefully picked his way through the rocky terrain with ease.  His hard, black hooves held up as well as any horse of the high desert.
The day was unusually warm for the first week of January, topping out at thirty nine degrees. Although there was no snow on the ground, spots of white frost covered areas made slick and hard with nightly freeze.  Overcast sky’s provided little lighting opportunity for an interesting photo of the surrounding area. Once you’ve seen one sage brush…you’ve pretty much seen them all.  Staring at the back of Rob’s reflective lime green jacket, I sighed at the high-probability that we might not get much of anything of interest in the way of photographs. So far, we had not come across any wild horses either. The most eye-catching thing about the day thus far was that blinding, neon-lime-green jacket. Could the day get any more uneventful? I resolved to enjoy the ride regardless. After all, not every ride can be filled with adventure and photo ops. Read the rest of Laurie’s tale here:

4 mile desert scene

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  1. Laurie! You and your Beanie Weenies! I’ll swear. lol….and well, I wouldn’t miss one of your blogs after our pack trip. Of course, I have to make sure you don’t stretch the truth in the process, especially if I’m in the story. Rob, I’m happy you and Payette made it out safely. I think I’d still be shaking after that one.

  2. OMG!!! Am I sorry I skipped that ride! I could have stood there and worried about it all while Laurie took pictures and documented it all! shoot!

    man am I glad everybody’s okay! It sounds funny now, to read it. I can picture Payette sliding down that slope then doing a twisty turny summersault. I don’t like the part about the hooves thrashing around your head, Rob.

    Good write-ups, you guys

  3. Whoa, Rob. That was a close call! Of course, I don’t have to tell you that. I am SO glad to hear that you and Laurie figured out a way to untangle you and Payette and unpin your leg. Scary! I am glad I wasn’t there to see it- I would have been so worried! Anyway, Glad you are alive, my friend!

  4. Janine Townsend

    Those were both good renditions of what might have been a terrible wreck.