Back Country Horsemen

Spring Riding

By: Ken Carmichael

It is spring, the saddles are cleaned, the house is moderately clean, the Super Bowl is over, and the taxes are paid. Now it is time for the fair-weather riders to be back in the saddle.

There are some options for trail riding. One is the tranquility of riding alone. Another is with one or two friends as you talk about the good times. Yet another is to ride in a group. Now here you may have a choice of riding at the rear, middle or front of the group. However, if you decide to ride at the front you should be prepared to hear some of the following conversation.

•   Did you bring a flashlight?

• Do you have a compass and know how to use it?

• I wish Janet were here, she knows this trail.

• I wish Mike were here, he has been on this trail before.

• I was here once before but rode at the back of the group and did not pay attention.

• Did you bring a raincoat?

• I told my husband/wife that I would be home for dinner, does not look like it now.

• If nothing is familiar in half an hour we should turn around.

• Do you have any lunch left?

• This trail does not look familiar

• Did we pass this point before?

• I am sorry that I left my coat at the trailer.

• I am out of cell range.

• I did not put new batteries in the GPS, and it is dead.

• I can’t figure out this faded map

• At the next junction we will just flip a coin

• Those clouds sure are dark

• This ride is longer than I expected.

• I guess that navigation course would have been a good idea.

Trail riding is fun, but we must be prepared, even on a day ride, to ensure that we come home safely. This includes first aid, survival skills, food and water and knowing the way home. It is dangerous to blindly follow a leader, something may happen to him/her and it will be up to you.

Join the Ponderosa Back Country Horsemen for our annual poker ride Sunday, May 15 at Riverside State Park. Great fun ride and raffle. See flier in this issue of Horse Previews.

Join the Ponderosa Back Country Horsemen for the Front Country Trailhead Camping Seminar April 30-May 1. This is a hands-on seminar where you bring your horse and spend the night. Learn and experience the joys of overnight camping with your best friend (your horse). This is a learning seminar for people that want to start camping with their horses. See flier in this issue of Horse Previews.

Ponderosa Back Country Horsemen not only helps build and maintain trails but also works to keep us safe on the trail. Join us at a monthly meeting, first Tuesday of each month, or learn more at You can reach me at or 509-466-2225.

Happy Trails

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