Tuesday, July 16, 2013

vacation, all I ever wanted...

Vacations with horses are a lot of work, but this one was totally worth it! I can’t remember when I’ve had so much fun horse back riding. When the trip started I was about ready to sell 2 red horses and be done forever, but I am glad we kept them.

Thursday morning we got everything all ready to go, last thing we needed to do was load Duke and Pistol. They had other ideas. We couldn’t catch them. They knew something was up and played catch me if you can. Of course, George was right there in our faces, but the ones we actually needed were usually on the opposite side of the pasture. After a good 45 minutes of dancing with them in the field, we caught them and they loaded right up. We were off.

6 hours later we were in my favorite place in the world. The badlands of North Dakota. It is so beautiful I can’t even put it into words. Pictures do a good job showing kind of what it looks like, but being there in person is just unbelievable.

The campsite we stayed in was pretty nice. It had spots for trailers and corrals right nearby. When we go there the spot we had originally reserved had accidentally been given to someone else, so we found another spot with some shade. It happed to be next to the BEAUTIFUL trailer I posted the other day. A 52 foot custom horse trailer with living quarters. The short wall is 32 feet…that is longer than our truck and trailer combined! We talked to the owner, he is from Texas and goes all over the country doing Cowboy Mounted Shooting. Really, really nice fellow. He had two nice looking horses with him too. They live in the trailer 5 months out of the year, so I guess if you are gonna do it, you do it right! They left early Friday morning and were headed to South Dakota for an event. There was a trailer with 4 Norwegian fjord horses, and one next to it with 4 black ponies. They had carts with them, and must do competitive driving. Early on Friday morning before they also left, they were zipping around the campground in their carts. It was pretty cool to watch! And then there were just families with their kids and horses that were there camping.

Thursday was really hot, and by the time we’d given the horses some time to rest, it started to downpour. So we went to town for dinner, and then met up with my husband’s cousin who lives 15 mile away for a few beverages at an establishment. Next morning, the ground was pretty wet so we ran out to Dickenson, ND to run a few errands while the ground dried up a bit.

When we got back it had dried up enough so we saddled up. The camp ground we were staying at was on the trail head of the Maa-Da-Hey trail, which is 100 miles of trails that runs through the badlands. AH-MAZ-ING trails. So beautiful! Anyways we had to cross a river to get to the trails. My anxiety was up about that thought. Especially since the ranger was talking about how it was belly deep on most horses. He also told a sad story about a horse that had drown a year and a half ago in the river by the camp ground. The idiot riding was drunk, and was riding his horse with a tie down. The water was high and the horse drowned. The rider couldn’t swim and had to be rescued. Some people shouldn’t be around horses. Anyways we got down to the river and none of the other horses would even come close enough to the river to try and cross it, I pointed Pistol over to the river and after a little conversation about it, he walked right through it. I don’t think the water was as high as everyone said it was. But then again I was on a tall horse.

Pistol obviously has had many, many wet saddle blankets and miles and miles and miles of trail experience. He was such a rockstar. I’m sure he’d probably even been out to the badlands before too. EXCEPT we had ONE minor incident. The first ½ mile of the trail was sand. We were going along when all of a sudden, I looked back and saw my husband standing next to his horse. Duke decided he wanted to roll in the sand. I laughed, until a short while later down the trail we had stopped to talk about something and next thing I noticed one of my feet was standing on the ground. Pistol really wanted to roll in the sand…I let him know that we don’t do that, when tacked up and someone was mounted. But other than that….rockstar. We kept the ride pretty short and only did about 3 miles or so.

He looked at the water and was like "whateves! I got this!"
The next day we woke up with the sun and went out again. This ride ended up being about 6 miles. I really wanted to go longer, but all the horses we had with us, were pretty out of shape. Just didn’t seem fair to ride them longer. We did stop often to get off and let them rest especially after some pretty steep climbs. Pistol was pretty out of breath after the steepest of them. I let him catch his breath and waited for his heart rate to go back down.

I am so impressed with that red horse I rode. I mean seriously, he did everything I asked him. He was the fearless leader and marched along willingly. I just love that red horse.
Best way to see the badlands!

I wish we could have done a bit more riding on our trip, but we only had so many hours in the day where it wasn’t super, super hot or when it wasn’t raining. Next year we may have to plan a longer trip! We did do a bit of the touristy things...but again didn't have much time to get all the things done that I wanted. We needed like 2 more days to get everything done. We did eat, at just about every place in town. The Pitchfork fondue was amazing. They basically put a bunch of steaks on pitchforks, and cook them in oil. So good. And we went to the musical. it was ok. Not great, but ok.
And of course we drove through the park and looked at the amazing scenery. We spotted some wild life like pronghorns, bison, prairie dogs and wild horses. I have never seen as many bands of wild horses as I did this trip. I think we saw aybe 50-60 horses total. They must have had a good winter...or someone must have just added some horses ;-)
anyways it was a great trip. If you are ever planning at trip to North Dakota...go to Medora!!
Here are just some random pictures of the trip.

We went to the musical the last night. It was okay this year...not as good as previous years.


Storm rolling in.

at the camp ground



  1. I was SO jealous of all your facebook updates!! Sounds like you guys had an amazing time!

  2. Wow Beautiful! I too was jealous of all the FB updates!

    Love that both boys laid down to roll... they are just keeping you on your toes! :)

  3. Wow what an awesome sounding trip ....had to laugh at the image of your horses rolling in the sand. Don't know many horses that wouldn't try that.
    I loved the photos, especially the one with the hat in front of the reflection
    Glad you had a great time and that the red ponies behaved ...always nice isn't it!

  4. That sounds like the perfect vacation! The pictures are breath taking! I hope one day to experience it in person.

  5. Beautiful photos - sounds like an amazing trip!