Explaining a horse to Red Dog

Red Dog asked me about horses not long ago. Maybe you read about that. Here’s how I answered him.


“A horse is a large, four-legged creature,” I said. “Sometimes they’re very large, way bigger than you.”

“Bigger than you?” Red asked.

“Most of them, sure. You’ve seen a lot of them. Remember we’d walk down that road to the ponds and you’d bark at them? Chased them once?”

He nodded. “So those were horses.”

“Yeah, I told you that back then.”

“Right. Now I remember. Piles of horse shit everywhere.”

“Good boy, Red,” I said, giving him a little pat on the head. “And that’s why…”

“You never let a horse in the house! They’ll crap anywhere.”

“Good memory, Red! You can’t housebreak a horse.”

Red’s a good boy. And the horse crap is still on the river trail.

B.J.

Red Dog asks: What’s a horse?

Red Dog Smith lives with Mrs. Smith and me near a state park in Colorado, a short walk from the Colorado River and a recreational trail that runs alongside it. Curious as a young child, he asks a lot of questions, at least when just the two of us are out for a walk.

He noticed this morning that what he surmised was a bigger dog – because a lot of four-legged creatures are bigger than he is – had pooped a lot of poop right on the concrete trail between our place and Corn Lake.

He looked at me with those big brown eyes. “When I take a dump, why do we always have to stop and pick it up and take it with us?”

Red Dog on the trail by Corn Lake

“Good question, Red,” I told him. “If everyone just left it lying around, the world would be way more stinky and unpleasant than it is and people would be stepping in poop all the time and swearing a lot more.”

“So why didn’t someone pick up all that dog poop?”

Another great question, and a learning opportunity. “Well, first of all Red, I don’t know. And that isn’t actually dog poop. It’s what we refer to as horseshit. In other words, it’s poop that comes from a horse.”

He nodded, letting that sink in a bit. “So why didn’t someone pick up the horseshit and put it in a bag?”

I’d been wondering the same thing. You don’t mind too much when a cow gets loose and leaves a pie or two along a gravel road out in the middle of nowhere, or even when a horse leaves a little horseshit off the edge of the trail.

“You know, Red, I guess some people forget to bring a poop bag along now and then, and some people just don’t care enough to pick up after their own dog. So I suppose some people who have horses forget to bring bags or don’t care enough about keeping things nice to pick up after their own horse. You’d think they could at least scrape it off the feckin trail.”

“It’s one of those ‘life’s mysteries’ you told me about, right?”

“Exactly,” I said, pleased to know he’d been paying attention a few weeks ago.

He nodded and turned to move along, pulling a bit on the leash before coming to a sudden stop next to the nearest pile.

“What’s a horse?” he asked.

Questions, questions, questions. “Later, Red,” I said. “I’ll show you some pictures.”


If your own dog has questions, please share them here and we’ll do our best to answer them.

B.J.

A chasmic day off

Taking a Friday off to explore our new stomping grounds is always a good idea. Even better when the weather is fine.

Paonia was a few miles off the map-app-recommended route to the Black Canyon, but what the heck. We had a nice early lunch and came back later to taste some wines.

We had talked about checking out the north rim of Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park since visiting the south rim last year. You can see across the canyon, of course, but there’s nothing quite like being on the other side.

The trail we’d planned to hike to Exclamation Point was muddy enough from recent snowmelt that we decided to check out the Chasm View loop instead. The punctuation will surely still be there next time, and the loop was nearby and mostly dry.

As we’ve now seen first-hand, the view is awe-inspiring from both sides as you peer over the edge to see the river 2,000 and some feet below.

The chasmic view.

There is much more to explore and learn about out here away from the madding crowd.

B.J.

Quail on the trail

They crossed the trail
in such a rush
the picture left
was just the brush.

Big dirty thing in Colorado

Since our almost-5-year-old granddaughter visited us not long ago, I’ve gotten more and more curious about what to call a rather prominent area landmark. Most of us know it as Mt. Garfield, which was named for the president who was assassinated back in the day.

Farther back in the day? I don’t know what it was called. My searches have come up empty so far, but I did learn about two hiking trails that will lead me to the summit.

Image by Gary Eichin from Pixabay

No disrespect to President Garfield, may he RIP as one hopes he has done since 1881, but I would rather call it by whatever name indigenous people called the mountain.

In the meantime, I’m going to go with what my granddaughter called it: a Big Dirty Thing.

That will work for a while – maybe BDT, for short – even though we have quite a few other BDTs here in Mesa County.

If you know what that BDT was called way back when, please let me know.

B.J.