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May 4, 2009
Well, the big ride has finally started. We arrived at Las Cruces, NM on Thursday, April 16 and camped at the fairgrounds there for a few days. We were hosted by the town, including a breakfast and tour at the New Mexico Farm And Ranch Museum.
Next, we moved to Sunland Park, NM, where we were hosted by the El Paso county sheriff’s posse. We camped at their facility for a couple of days and rode with them along the Rio Grande. This was the highlight of the trip so far. Those guys were really great, and they treated us to a feast on Monday night before the big kickoff on Tuesday.
On Tuesday morning, we trailered from the posse facility to the border at Santa Teresa, NM. We started riding north from the border fence. It was a twenty mile ride to the next campsite at Chip Johns Ranch, which is one of the biggest ranches in New Mexico. Some of the people and horses were very tired by the half-way point and had to trailer on to camp. My Appaloosa, Smokey, and I made it all the way with no problems, but we were both tired.
The staff decided that twenty miles a day in the desert heat was too much at the beginning, so the schedule will change to give everyone a chance to get in condition gradually.
Some of us had been conditioning our horses and ourselves for the last three months, so it was not a problem for us. With any venture of this magnitude, you find that some people are not prepared, so the group slows down a little to accommodate them.
Overall, it was a good beginning, and we are learning what it will take to ride across America. I think most of us will make it just fine.
RIDE MAGAZINE IS THE ONLY PLACE WHERE YOU CAN READ ABOUT THIS EPIC JOURNEY ACROSS AMERICA.
ABOUT THE RIDE
Best of America by Horseback’s Mexico to Canada Trail Ride started at the border at Santa Teresa, New Mexico on April 21. It will continue north through New Mexico, reaching Colorado in early June. From there, the group will pass through Colorado, Nebraska, South Dakota, and North Dakota, and finally reach the Canadian border the first week of September. Throughout the ride, Best of America will be filming its adventures for future television shows. Tom Seay is the host of the show.
During the weekend of April 24 - 26, the group stayed at the Southern New Mexico State Fairgrounds. While there, Tom Seay, who is theTrail Master for the ride, introduced Steve Edwards to its television show series. Steve is one of the core riders on the trip and is a nationally-known mule/horse trainer and clinician. He did a demonstration for the public and was also available throughout the weekend for private sessions at the fairgrounds. Steve brings over thirty-three years of experience educating and training equines, riders, and the public about general horsemanship/mulemanship, horse/mule training, mule packing, and gamesmanship. Tom Seay said, “We are so pleased to have Steve’s incredible talents showcased with us. His ability to relate to any level rider on virtually any equine topic is quite impressive.” Learn more about Steve at www.muleranch.com.
On Friday, April 24, Rick Potts, Chief of the Conservation & Outdoor Recreation Division of the National Park Service was one of the keynote speakers at the Riders Banquet.Potts has over 30 years of experience in land and natural resources management. He currently oversees five national programs, including the National Trail System and the Wild and Scenic Rivers System.