Hunting > Adventure

The Horse That Got My Goat

Riding into mountain goat country on horseback only added to the adventure in the rugged mountains and river valleys of British Columbia.

Mountain goat hunting is easy compared to horse riding to reach the mountain goat hunting. At least it was three years ago ... .

"That pinto's loose again!" I shouted up to chief guide, wrangler, cook and bottle washer, Bill, at the head of the column. He turned in the saddle, a disgusted countenance frowned out from under his black cowboy hat and reined around his gray. I knew what was coming.

"Here, hold these," Bill said. I took the lead rope attached to his two packhorses and he loped off to capture our problem child, a young black-and-white pinto that may have been a paint horse. We didn't have its papers to check its pedigree and didn't really care. A problem horse is a problem horse, and this one's problem was "green," as in untested. This was its first pack trip. But not its first rodeo, nor its last.

Horses aren't usually the focus of hunting stories, but they should be because they're often the focus of hunts; they demand more time to saddle, pack, tie, stake, hobble, chase, catch and retie than you devote to finding game. Some folks love horses, some just tolerate them as the best option for getting men and gear from point A to point Game in the wilderness. They wouldn't be bad if you were just riding for pleasure, but add rifles, delicate cameras, binoculars, spotting scopes, tripods and room and board for a week and you've got logistical problems. Ours started the first day just outside the corral as we were departing the main camp.

"Watch out! It's rodeo time," I said to my buddy Randy who was along to take pictures. Ahead of us Bill's string of fine packhorses was undulating and twisting like a roller coaster on bad track. Seems the young pinto in the middle was taking exception to being tied to the backside of one horse and the front of another. Or was it the bulky packs on her back? Heck, I don't even recall if our problem pinto was a mare or a gelding. Either way, it was trouble, and horse trouble has a way of spreading through the string.....

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