My newest adventure began at 3am. The Idaho Buckaroos of the Great Basin Project. Its mission:
“To Promote Understanding and Preserve the Buckaroo Way of Life.”

This photograph and essay exhibit documents one of Idaho’s lesser known communities, the Buckaroos of the Great Basin. The Great Basin encompasses NE California, northern Nevada, SE Oregon, and SW Idaho (specifically Owyhee County).

The rider carefully looks at the group of cattle he will be working and has to make a decision about which one to cut out of the group to showcase his horse’s ability. A high-headed runner won’t do…like my friend said, you want one that will “stand and dance.”

So, what’s the attraction with reined cow horses? “It takes a better trained horse to be a cowhorse,” says horse trainer Gary Stark. “The horse has to be able to rein, cut, handle, and can then become anything–a cutting and reining horse, or a roping horse.”

I had great plans for the weekend. It looked like Sunday was going to be clear and dry and I was going to get a jump on the cheat grass that is rapidly growing. Well, it was clear, but the wind was blowing hard enough to cause power outages and topple trees, so that plan went out the window.

Like most people, I want the real spring to get here, but nature is always the boss so I decided to relax and focus on something indoors where I know for sure what is happening. The best part is — it’s free and open to the public.

I always get up early, but I got up extra early to make it to the branding up past Murphy, Idaho because these buckaroos don’t burn daylight. I fed the livestock, broke the ice on the water troughs, and grabbed a quick cup of coffee as I headed for the Owyhees.

As I came off the hill into Homedale, the valley had a frothy, white cloud bank floating above it, fog was wafting up and out from the river. It wasn’t until I reached the other side of Marsing that I could see the Owyhees — ice-cold with varied hues of blue and white giving way to snow covering the rocky tops.