John Egenes has been a musician, a saddlemaker, a dog catcher, and a hobo, among other things. He only learns by making mistakes and he views his life through a windshield full of squashed bugs. He makes his home in New Zealand.
Gizmo was a registered American Quarter Horse (registered name: The Wayward Note) with a diverse family tree. His dam was My Wayward Lady, a stocky Quarter Horse mare bred on the King Ranch in Texas and descended from the foundation sire, King (P-234). His sire was Palleo’s Note, a racehorse whose sire was the famous Leo, another Quarter Horse foundation sire.
He stood fifteen-one, with a slender build and a handsome, refined head. He was a sorrel—called chestnut by some—with a blaze that ran down from his forehead and widened to cover the entire front of his nose and upper lip. His left front leg had his only white stocking that ran up almost to the knee. Long pasterns with strong slopes down to the hoof enabled him to float freely at the walk and trot. He had a long overstep behind, which meant that each hind foot stepped far in front of the print left by the front foot, and this enabled him to cover ground quickly and smoothly. His front feet were striped with a mixture of dark and light, and his hind ones were all dark. They were small and fit his overall frame. He wore a double-ought shoe (size 00). He would eat most anything that people ate, and especially loved Snickers candy bars.
Gizmo spent his entire life with John. He died in 1992 at the age of 22. He is buried in the high desert of Northern New Mexico, near Santa Fe.
Man & Horse: The Long Ride Across America
In 1974 a disenfranchised young man from a broken home set out to do the impossible. With a hundred dollars in his pocket, a beat up cavalry saddle, and a faraway look in his eye, John Egenes saddled his horse Gizmo and started down the trail on an adventure across the North American continent. Their seven month journey took them across 11 states from California to Virginia, ocean to ocean.. As they left the pressing confinement of the city behind them, the pair experienced the isolation and loneliness of the southwestern deserts, the vastness of the prairie, and the great landscapes that make up America. Across hundreds of miles of empty land they slept with coyotes and wild horses under the stars, and in urban areas they camped alone in graveyards and abandoned shacks. Along the way John and Gizmo were transformed from inexperienced horse and rider to veterans of the trail. With his young horse as his spiritual guide John slowly began to comprehend his own place in the world and to find peace within himself. Full of heart and humor, Egenes serves up a tale that’s as big as the America he witnessed, an America that no longer exists. It was a journey that could only have been experienced step by step, mile by mile, from the view between a horse’s ears.