RAY HUNT MEMORIES
by Jack Young
Excerpted from the "Memories of Ray Hunt" page of Eclectic Horseman
There is an iron mine at a place called Palisades which is half-way between Beowawe and Carlin, Nev. on the Humboldt River. At the Horse Shoe ranch we had cattle at Rattlesnake Springs and they would get in the mines pit. When they got to be a problem, the mine boss would call us up and we’d go up there and get the cattle out. There was a railroad track alongside the Humboldt River and if you could go down the tracks, you’d save about 5 miles riding.
The only problem was that there were two tunnels to go thru with the cattle. We’d hold the cattle up and as soon as a train came thru and got past us, Ray would take the lead so they could be stopped and I’d push them from behind and we’d start down the tracks and thru the two tunnels, with about 10 to 20 head. After you got thru the tunnels there was a kind of cliff the cattle could get up and it was only about a mile to Rattle Snake Springs. We’d do this about once a month and never had a problem. This was in 1967 or 68. The first time we did it, I couldn’t believe that was what Ray planned, but by golly if Ray was going to do it, I sure wasn’t going to weaken on him. I just took a big chew of Copenhagen and away we went. I still think about Ray and those tunnels every time we go to Elko.
The only time I ever saw a horse get Ray on the ground:
At the Horse Shoe, we had a big 7/8 TB horse named David that we had started. David bucked a lot with the saddle, but never bucked with us, but I always thought he would if you wanted to crowd him too much.
We had a big dirt canal that brought irrigation water down to the ranch from the Humboldt River. It was about 10 feet across and just deep enough that you would have got pretty wet crossing it. We were looking for cows & needed to be on the other side of the canal. It was a mile or two to cross at the gate where the river water came into the canal. Ray decided that we could jump it and save some time. David wasn't too sure and kind of had his feet stuck. Ray moved him around a little & got him to jump the canal--twice.
On the other side there was a spot about 2 feet wide to land on and then a bank that went straight up for about 4 feet. When David jumped he landed just right with Ray leaning forward in the saddle a little. David hit the ground & jumped right back onto the side he'd just came from. Ray was leaning forward with his nose stuck out quite a ways like he thought maybe David would go up the bank too, and down he came.
I've been with Ray in some pretty wild situations, but that was the only time I ever saw anything get him on the ground. Actually, all the time I was around Ray, I can't ever remember a horse that bucked with him. Sometimes they'd buck with me, but not with Ray.