Bryce Canyon Ride
What an experience! Greg and I arrived a day early to rest the horses after our long journey across two states from California to southwest Utah. Camp was nice with a few trees, sandy footing, showers, horse water, and outhouses. Anne and Dave Nicholson were courteous and welcoming. For the most part, about 75 to 80 riders started each day with a very high completion rate. The weather co-operated with us, but on day three in base camp we had a sudden hail storm which the riders missed out on the trail. We had applied Hoof-it before leaving home, and after a quick check to make sure all eight hooves of our two horses were covered, we started day one with much anticipation. Luckily for us, the ride started a little late as we forget to reset our clocks forward by one hour. The scenery was gorgeous with the Red Rocks providing a spectacular view. Besides the sandy soil and the Red Rocks, it felt like we were in the California Sierras most of the time. The footing was rather rocky and we re-applied Hoof-it to seven of the eight hooves after day one. Each day progressed into the next with the main difference being the accumulation of tiredness. Greg and I stayed in the back of the pack as Greg weighs in at 270 pounds with tack and I was on a fairly young horse who hadn’t even done two days in a row before. Greg did manage to finish all five days on the same horse and I finished day 1,2,4, and 5, giving my horse day three off. All the days were large loops with lunch being out of camp so we prepared crew bags which were taken out to lunch for us. Usually lunch was about 25 miles into the ride with great views, green grass for the horses to munch on, horse water, people lunch provided, and great vet checks. Most of the days were pretty technical and a seasoned horse sure helped. Some of the trail was following the side of a canyon, some of the trail took you right up to the edge of a mile long drop off with a birds eye view of the Red Rocks. There were places where the trail was on the side hill of a shale rockslide, but everything was passable with common sense and no sense of urgency - meaning slow down, dismount, walk your horse in hand, and pay attention. When it doubt, check it out! It wasn’t an easy ride on horse or rider. Some days we would climb up to 9500 feet, drop down to 6500 feet, climb again to 8000 feet, and repeat this process many, many times during the day. Other days we would follow the side of the mountains around one bend to the next, and after doing this about six or eight times, wonder if we would ever get to lunch. This is not a ride you would want to get hurt on. Many places it would have been tough to get you or your horse out. But the Duck was always aware of where his ducklings were, what they were up against, and remained a calm and commendable leader throughout the course of the week. There were quite a few rock sore horses by the end of the ride and some didn’t get to finish all five days. Ours looked great using Hoof-it for the duration of the ride. Some of the riders were using Easy Boots which worked ok, but some of the Easy Boots were pulled off in the bogs and muddy areas. We re-applied Hoof-it after some of the more rocky days, but after using it at home and on the single day rides, it was an easy job after we came in from the trail. Great ride, great trail, great company, and I’m glad I found Hoof-it.