Horse Encounters

diamond hitch

Active member
Feb 9, 2020
Western Montana
I said I would share stories so here is another.

If you spend time on horses there will some incidences. Some more dramatic than others - kind of like dating in your 20s. usually you live through it. A packer once told me that he was running a string of horses into camp on a moonlit night. In a narrow stretch a herd of elk ran through his string and drug him and his 6 pack horses into the creek with the elk. They left leaving him to pick up the pieces.

On one of my of my trips I took a few days off and figured I would scan two or three drainages over the week on horseback. It had been raining for 2 or 3 days and then froze. I didn't think much of it and started up the Forest Service trail. I was only in about half a mile when I broke out of the trees and noted a change in the sound of the horses hooves. The ground was frozen and as slick as ice. My horse lost his footing and fell flat on the ground. He tried to get up again and fell and rolled over me crushing my ribs and sternum. I was velcrowed on the ground - breathless and my gelding went over the edge and through the trees. When I finally could breath again I could feel my ribs sliding in and out of my sternum.

I worked my way down to my horse who was under some logs head first down the hill. I pulled out the saw and cleared enough trees to flip him over and stand him up. Next I pulled the handfulls of clotted blood out of his nose so he could breath and set about picking up the pieces so I could get him and me off the hill before shock set in. My new Browning BAR High Grade had a 45 degree bend in the barrel and the wooden stock poured out of the scabbard like kibbles and bits.

I staggered down the hill and flagged down a hunter to help me unsaddle the horse and get him loaded. He was a retired guide and was incredibly helpful. I got in the truck and went back to my remote trailer and dropped off my gun for a rebuild at my neighbor the gunsmith. It was going to take a while.

Shock was setting in and the pain was getting pretty intense when I hit Missoula. So bad that the trailer and truck bucked over the bumps enough that I had to stop east of town to let the pain subside. I made it to Deerlodge but it took me 30 minutes to get out of the truck to fill up with diesel.

When I got home, I left the truck in the driveway, did repairs on the horse and turned him out in the corral. I got in the house and searched for a place to set that didn't cause pain. When the wife got home she started dinner then came in to inquire why the pickup was in the round about. I relayed the tale and she went back to the kitchen. After a while she returned and she asked if I was going to go to the hospital. I said no as they don't do much for ribs anymore. She said no but they have better drugs. I said I would get my coat. The next six months and the rest of hunting season was spent sleeping in the lazy boy.

Almost as much fun as when I had to pull a young stud out of a chute but that's another story.