Gov. Butch Otter is out on a three-day trail ride along the Idaho-Nevada border, along with Nevada Gov. Jim Gibbons, legislators and federal and state officials. It’s an annual tradition for Otter, who started the rides as a congressman to discuss resource issues and see effects on the land close-up. The Twin Falls Times-News has an article today about this year’s ride, which is in the Three Creek area. It includes this mention: “Otter said he brought his own horse, Snuff, a 22-year-old roping quarter horse, while First Lady Lori Otter will ride another family-owned horse, Cooper.”
Otter, of course, was injured in a team-roping accident this past winter, losing a key week of the legislative session for shoulder surgery after, in Lori Otter’s words, “the governor zigged and his horse zagged.” He came back with his arm in a sling and endured weeks of physical therapy even as he battled with lawmakers over his legislative agenda. So is he, now, back on the horse that threw him? It’s an intriguing concept - and one that seems right in character for our cowboy governor. But no, Otter’s winter roping accident came when he was astride Cotton, a 9-year-old gelding quarterhorse, according to news reports.
Snuff does, however, have a history. Back in 1988, Snuff was the horse Otter pal Mike Gwartney was riding when he broke his back and suffered other serious injuries that almost killed him. In 2008, recounting the incident to Idaho Statesman columnist Dan Popkey, Otter said, “Snuff is a three-quarter-million-dollar horse. I paid $3,000 for him and Gwartney paid three-quarters of a million for all the medical stuff he went through.”