Friday, April 24, 2009

Happy trails

Sorting through some old snapshots today I found this one of Sunny's mom.
ASA Sauds Mariah
Doesn't look anything like her, does he?


The summer Sunny turned two my friend C had knee surgery, which meant that she wasn't doing much riding. She and her husband J have been kind enough to allow me to trailer with them on a number of occasions. Prior to her surgery, we'd planned to go on a multi-day ride out in the Badlands, and when she found out she couldn't go, she offered her horse for me to ride, and the extra space in their trailer for Sunny.

Needless to say, I jumped at the chance. The ride was held south of Kadoka on the edge of the Badlands. Camp was way in off the paved road, and the day we arrived there were pop-up showers on and off all day interspersed with beautiful bright sun. The track in was clay, and the campsite was down a fairly steep slope with a curve in the middle. The afternoon's entertainment was watching new arrivals try not to jack-knife while sliding into camp. (There was someone posted at the top to warn all the drivers to take things slowly - still, there were a couple of nail-biting moments.)

It was a big ride, turnout-wise. And being June, it was HOT. The pace was slow, but pretty steady - there were rest stops, planned and accident-caused. (There always seems to be some sort of wreck, although thankfully, we were neither the cause of, nor involved in any of them!)
Sunny learned pretty quickly that when we stopped, it was a good idea to rest. He ponied along next to Sheba or Misty all three days, wasn't concerned about wagons, put-off by the mules, and charged merrily through the water crossings.

We saw some gorgeous country.
And had a great time visiting with "neighbors."

This cute pony team belonged to an elderly gentleman from Nebraska (I think). He'd converted the seating in his wagon so that he could have an easier ride. His team pulled along like champs, and I think they all three finished the day fresher than a lot of the big teams and most of the riders. Camped nearby, he kept us all entertained around the fire in the evening telling stories of rides he'd been on and teams he'd had.
Montana may be Big Sky Country,
but South Dakota has its share.

I had an absolute blast, and if you have the chance to go on one of this sort of organized rides, I'd recommend it. It was (then) about $40 for the two of us to ride for the three days. It was strictly BYO - bring your own food, grain, extra tack, etc., although the I've been on a couple where at least some of the meals were either potluck or partially provided.

It varies, but there's usually a good source of drinking water for the horses, although not necessarily for people. The potty wagon is... an experience. If you're a newbie at the whole trail riding thing, you'll probably have more fun going with at least one other person who's been before - especially on the bigger rides, people tend to group up with others they know, but everyone's pretty friendly, and if there are a few inconsiderate riders along, they're usually easy enough to avoid.


BrownEyed Cowgirls said...

I reconize the bluffs in the picture with the grey horse!! How cool! That is some beautiful country and I have always thought it would be so neat to be able to ride through it.

SunnySD said...

It was one of the most gorgeous places I've ever ridden. I'd love to do it again. This year's is at the Jim Berry ranch - can't remember if that's were we where in 2004 or not. I have the details, if you want them...

Denise- LessIsMore17 said...

Sounds like a fun trip, wow Sunny was just two? That was a while ago huh. Um how does the potty wagon work or should I not ask?