Sunday, May 3, 2009

Home On The Range

For any of you who are interested in learning about or adopting one of the BLM's wild mustangs that roam Utah, our own barn fix it/clean it/drive it guy, Cliff, is featured in the Sunday Money section of todays Salt Lake Tribune.

Go here to read the article and see pictures of Cliff naked.

I'm just kidding. I wouldn't do that to you. Striking you blind would make it difficult for you to ever come back and read the Slave Driver blog again.

8 comments:

Sagebrusheq said...

Most of the feral horses I've run across in Utah are pretty drafty. That would be the Oquirrh and Cedar Mountains herds. I think you'll find that most of the finer horses, suitable for saddle, at the BLM corrals in Bingham Canyon come from Nevada herds, where more TB blood was introduced. The herds in Utah are predominantly a product of farming stock turned loose during the years when they switched over to machine tractors, whereas the Nevada horses reflect the ranching culture there. Even so, I have a filly out of a mare from the Cedars that shows refinement so it's not universally true.

Slave Driver said...

The article states that they are from the Cedar Mountain herd, "...believed to be related to the mounts that the Standard Horse and Mule Co. supplied to the U.S.Cavalry in the late 1800s."

The BLM's local facility is in Butterfield Canyon, not too far from my house, which is over by the old Bingham ( then Kennicott, now Rio Tinto) Copper Mine.

Stacey said...

Cool! Didn't Cliff enter the Mustang Challenge and do really well in it one year?

Sagebrusheq said...

Butterfield... Thanks. That's what I was thinking of.

There's a neat, largely forgotten, trail that starts at the corrals there. It used to be called the mail trail, which it was. It follows the south ridge of Butterfield Canyon up to the top to where Big Canyon (off of Middle Canyon) on the Tooele side comes in. Actually it's just below the ridge on the south side so technically a lot of the lower portion is in West Canyon .The trail is off to the left of the ridge as as you go up and you need to look hard for it or you'll get stuck riding the ridge. In that event you'll still get there but you'll be in bruising rock the whole way and have to climb every bump and knoll only to descend again. From Big Canyon the trail goes south along the top of West Canyon almost at the very top- but it is almost impossible to find if you don't know exactly where it starts from. It eventually crosses over at Ophir and then down into Mercur Canyon where the rail head used to be.

The part above West Canyon is pretty scary in places but it is still well used because they run cattle there- Utah Land and Livestock I believe- but much of the portions that run through Butterfield are largely just a memory. It took me several attempts to connect the dots through some places.

It will take you a long day on a fit horse to get to the half way point and back again. Pretty neat though.

Regarding the article I haven't read it and can't comment on that specifically. But I would maintain a healthy skepticism towards any literature that comes from, or relies on information coming from groups pushing so called mustangs. There are some good horses on the western range for people who are equipped to handle a wild animal, but there is also a lot of romantic twaddle mixed in with their promotion. Take it in the same light as you would any other breed sponsored literature. My horses are all related to Eohippus, so?

Slave Driver said...

Stacey,

Yes it was last years and he blogged about it but I can't remember what the URL is. I believe the horse he trained was named Hercules.

Slave Driver said...

SagebrushEQ,

what Cliff's group does is gentle the horses marked for adoption, and they also teach peaople how to deal with the horses, because as you stated the whole romanticized notion of a "wild" mustang is, for the person who knows nothing about horses and thinks "Hey, a horse for $125.00? Cool!" a fantasy.

In Missouri I used to teach middle aged women how not to be afraid of the horse that they just got. You know, "I always wanted a horse and now I'm at the station in life where the kids are grown and I can afford one, both time and money wise." Then they go out and buy an snow white Arab with a long flowing main and tail and name it "Sham" or "Sultan" or something else they read in a novel (all the while they should have bought book #1 of the US Pony club manual)

Also, Re: Butterfield Canyon,I've never ridden my horse up there but we take visitors up to what the minors call "Sunshine Peak" where you can look down into the mine. At one point the trail splits and you can drive into Tooele. We like to take the Jeep Wrangler, top off, stereo cranked. The 340 degree view , where you can see Utah lake, the Wasatch front, the Great Salt Lake, the salt flats, and Tooele valley is awesome.

of course the trail is winding, steep, and narrow. Watching my passengers soil their pants is a reward all it's own...

Sagebrusheq said...

Sunshine is a great place to see the pit, and plenty else for that matter- much better than Kennecott's visitors center for the view. If you go straight on that road (instead of right up to sunshine) and drop over into Middle Canyon on the way to Tooele, Big Canyon is the first canyon on the left as you go down. It's a nice place to trailer to with horses. Parking, picnic tables, nice trails, and it's also a shorter ride up to the ridge than the one I described above. A great view from there looking out over West canyon. Try it you'll like it. Take a lunch. It's a day's outing, and a climb, but pretty mild going. You know the road so it's up to you whether to get there from Butterfield or through the Tooele side.

Pony club is the best thing going.

IrishLassie said...

I'm glad to see any amount of copy about the current ecconomy and the effect on our equine counter parts. My mustang came from the bishops herd and he is obviously mustang. But he is the best mount Ive ever had and is as loyal as my labrador. He isn't perfect but he has a fantastic personality. As for new owners. I have several clients whom over the years have been green but were willing to learn and did. I think more would get horses if some trainers and instructors would make costs more reasonable and not turn away mustangs. Just my opinion however