Saturday, July 23, 2011

Prairie Riders of the Zumwalt

Our Trip to Wallowa County last week, was smooth traveling. We arrived to our destination 7 hours after leaving the Portland, Oregon area. The horses were very happy to get out of the trailer and stand on solid grounds.
The near 800 mile trek we made following our PBO, that made me happy to have a focal vehicle, and the security of if something happened to us..someone would know. I very  happy with my truck, it gave us all a good ride with enough power to manage the massive hills pulling the 2 horses in the 3 horse space.

My husband set up the Temp fence in the 1 acre lasted all of 7 minutes! Oops happened, as someone forget to latch their temp fence gate and that allowed their horse to then proceeded to allow our horses to escape!
That scared my turnout buddy and I into using the 4 board fence corral, up by the main house! Barbed wire and new spaces with adjoining herds of horses...nope..we chose security over grass.
The view from across the street to one of the pastures, from the main house~

Looking up to the main house and our horses in the board fenced corral, happily munching hay from the "Porta Grazer" hay barrels. These barrels simultale grazging,  as the horse must pull hay from the incert. A hard form with holes the size of  horse mouths, makes the horses pick hay from it, as they would grasses. It is great for keeping horses from eating sand on the grounds, as well. My PBO found them at a horse event and purchsed them for her stable's horses. They are awesome! If it takes a horse 1 hour to eat a given amount of hay, liberally so...this makes them slow down, and take twice the amount of time.

The building above my mare & Theo below, is where my man and I got to stay at this 1904 farm house. Our room was over the carrige house that has been converted to loft room, over the current garage storage space.
It was luxerious!

Our first ride the next day,

Everywhere we went we saw the mountains of the Wallowas. Someone said it is called "Little Switzerland of Oregon"...I saw why!

looking forwards or back, all we viewed were glorious mountains!

Then we arrived...after a REALLY long, rutted, gravel roadway of about (felt like) 20 miles!
I was the last to mount up and my mare got uppity as the rider started walking...once I said, "
please wait", and we went second, that was it for her compettitve attitude! YEA!

We see these corralled off areas all over the hillsides of the Zumwalt. They are to protect select sparce vegitative outcroppings from the  Elk, moutain goat, Bear, and other larger hoofed and pad footed animals.
The 330,000 acres of prairie is the last remaining in the continental U.S.- for the natural "Bunch Grasses" and other species + wildlife in the preserve.

It's Harsh climate, and poor soils have  preserved it from the plow, unlike most other areas of it's like, around the U.S. .

We pretty much rode through dappled, but  minimal shade. It only occurred when the scattered, dense clouds banks rolled overhead. it gave us such pleasure to have the shade for a few minutes...there were NO TREES here for us to get relief!
Us Western Oregonians have it so good, for that shady relief of riding the wooded parts of trails.

I was extremely proud of my mare, for she would travel in front, in the middle, and almost anywhere I put her... it is what I (HOPED) thought would happen, as she looked over the vast prairies, with NO END in sight..NO HOMEWARD direction!

We had gotten some distinct impressions from our host, about places to ride that were a bit confusing, when all said and done. I believe she thought us to be wimpy Westerners for our riding habits...none of the places she sent us to were as she described, or even where she said they would be...we frequently got turned around with faulty directions. It was rather frustrating. I have decided- WHEN I RUN our Ranch B 'N' B, I shall have GPS units, with preset routes programed for all the rides there are- to take!
 AND, we shall give a course for how to use the GPS unit so all can manage themselves!
We rode and rode and rode, into the prairie loop we set out to accomplish. It seemed so much longer than anticipated!
My friend with her hoof booted Theo horse and me,  with my rear "RUBY SLIPPERED" mare, had some problems with the boots...mine twisted and contorted..I constantly had to readjust them. So we fell behind as the 3 others trotted up and over the hill.
We all managed the GATES of the place..there were at least 10  barbed wire and post gates on this trek.

I looked up our riding lands HERE-BUCKHORN RANCH wow what a property!

After our 3 amigo friends  trotted up and over the ridge,  my riding partner and I adjusted our hoof boots...we saw them no we went on down to a pond, to see if the horses would drink.

Proves again, you can lead or ride a horse to water....

Theo just looked at the water and ate some grasses next to it..mine drank heartily, making me happy.
 As we left the pond side, I heard an unfamiliar statement from my riding partner ( I won't repeat the   exclamation) it made me laugh and wince and moan- all at once...
. . . she LOST A BOOT!

We then went back over our tracks to find it...I was already off my mare so when she actually said, "THERE IT IS!" I was able to pull it from the bog and then rinse it off in the pond....Can't believe she saw this...

Can you imagine seeing it from atop your horse. . .

 . . . with just the smallest part of the red showing!

Again, after reapplication of the red boot, we mounted up and began the Open Range Ride homeward. While beautiful, it was warm with no shade in sight, or riding partners.
I fantasized out loud, many times, about how 
I should have given our partners my truck keys...just in case they felt pity on us, and decided to bring the trailer round to shorten our road ride.
 We had accomplished 8 out of the 13 mile loop... while I do this kind of millage in just over an 1 hour and 1/2 at home...our elevations here, made it slightly more difficult.

At    9 1/2 mi, we made it to  One of the large Entrance gates. Our  long, graveled road home, lay ahead of us now. Near 4 miles of it.

My mare was still perky though...with a forward walk..good girl!

We saw a car coming once...a large dust cloud, is what you actually see..then the vehicle ahead of it. Again...I said aloud, " OH! Maybe they sent that vehicle to come get our keys, to bring the trailer round!"

Nope...not this vehicle, this time...drat!

BUT THEN, we did see another dust trail, and a truck this was one of our riding partners to the rescue!!! She and our friends had trotted and cantered most the way back and decided to spare us...she got the keys from me,  and we just sat down and waited!

I was saying, " that MY RIG cruising at high speed
 down the roadway??!!"

Yet, we were all smiles when it got to us!

My friend driving my rig exclaimed, "how much easier it was to go 45-50mph
 over the ruts,verses the 30 mph we drove in at"! I was thinking, that is my rig and you flew like that with ...then, after we loaded the horses..I found out, she was right! It WAS  a much smoother ride, going we flew on home and left only dust behind us!

A little hand grazing and little napping, the horses did...and we too...a little hand grazing a little napping!

It was a good day for a  Wallowa Prairie Ride!


  1. What a gorgeous place! Not sure how i wouldlike riding in such open terrain since I'm use to trees and something new around each corner; but that looks like quite the ride. And of course, wonderful pictures. Miss ya!

  2. Such a great post!! I feel like I just went for a ride with you. Too bad my horse & I don't get any exercise points for it. haha!

  3. Wow - what amazing scenery!

    Great that you arrived safely after such a long trip... and that you found the lost boot... and that your friends read your mind about picking you up with the trailer too! Sounds perfect Kacy - really enjoying the pictures :)

  4. Very beautiful ! The boots would have me so frustrated !

  5. I'm so jealous I could spit. Looks like beautiful country, and I'm guessing with the weather in the NW you were really seeing it in its prime (maybe more like early June than July). I think I'm officially pathetic now that I'm living life through other peoples' vacation photos--but that's OK.

  6. That's what I call a real adventure. You caught some gorgeous shots.

  7. Sasha
    Yes, I'm with you...more varied terrains and some trees please! But, this wad so special a ride for many. reasons...just the property owners celebrity and the fact this is the only prairie, of its kind left!
    Miss ya too...

    You really cracked me up with the exercise points....glad you rode along, virtually so!

    Christian, yea we really had such traveling was perfect with no scares..horses were great, I feel a bit amazed with the trip and so much more confident! Thete were some "other " strange, weirdnesses that occurred...but they are for e-mail, not public display.

    Thanks Terry

    Yea...#!*x#! Hoof boots...if it went for them, we would have finished the entire ride, with our crew.

    Thanks so much for your vivits and neat comments, I will settle soon to get visiting again my sis is having to move her mare this weekend and next, so I'm ultra busy.

    Well sometimes we coast along enjoying others offerings, and sometimes we offer up our own blog goodies and others coast is all good and so much fun, weather you've written or are the reader. Blogs are for every purpose.

    You are totally correct on the far N.W. was early to mid spring there had we gone ant earlier we may have had snow!

    Oowee it was all such adventure!

  8. Fantastic riding, great shots, and well written!
    Hell! i was almost there!

  9. Your blog has got so many lovely photos! I am following you now :-)

  10. Wonderful and beautiful place to ride, well worth the long journey, I'm sure.
    Have you ever used Easyboot Glove boots? I'm probably going to buy some, and haven't heard any stories about them coming off.

  11. I hope you come back "Horsetalker" blog...
    I made a comment to you, at your place and it WILL NOT POST due to some blogger problems we all have had these past months using the imbedded comment window. Please change your comment window to a "POP UP" or I can't come see you, blogger won't allow me to comment...wa!

  12. Shirley~

    NONE of the "Easy Boot" Brand boots fit my mare and she Rips them right off, leaving the gator on her pastern! One of my barefoot trimmers is a rep for "Easy Care Boots", he has a measureing tool for them and all the he measured my mare and she has a round hoof, and the boots are made for longer toes and narrower sides.
    So far...she has not ripped these "RENEGADES" off, but they twist like everything else

  13. What a beautiful area to ride in. Amazing scenery and nice pictures. Good idea about providing guest with pre-programmed GPS units.

  14. Such a pretty ride! I'm totally jealous. Definitely going to do an eastern OR ride sometime.

    re: boots - check the fit and make sure they're not too long. Sometimes they twist if they're too long front to back - sounds crazy, I know.

  15. Simply stunning!

    And it's time someone made cowboy hats with helmets inside. Just to look cool and be safe at the same time ;-)

    Love your accommodation. Gorgeous and romantic looking. And having your horses right below your window... :-) And did I see a boat? Did your men take the boat to water while you were riding? Assuming there's enough water somewhere there?

    I'm so tempted to emigrate towards your end of the world *sigh* Want to do those rides with you. The GPS idea is probably a good one, because I can't see any marking point in those views.


  16. Wonderful post, I thoroughly enjoy reading about your rides and experiences. You describe them so well!

  17. What a wonderful adventure - and the photos are fabulous! Would love to ride out that long with such magnificent scenery!

  18. Your photos are always a joy - I feel as though I was there riding with you. How scary that the horses escaped. Great trip.

  19. Man that looks like fun... That's it, next time I'm going too!

  20. Oh Kacy, so glad you had a safe and enjoyable trip. Isn't it just breathtaking there? I'd move there in a NY minute!! The Eagle Cap Wilderness is a short jaunt from where you were - more mountainous and quite rugged. If you keep driving through Joseph, the road literally ends there by the lake. I love, love, love that pic with the napping horses and the red barn!!! Beautiful!!

  21. Very jealous. What magnificant countryside. Looks like your horses did really well. I bet everyone was so pooped. I will have to look into the porta-grazer. Thanks for the tip. Debi

  22. Once again I felt like I was right there with you. A little different terrain than what I'm used to but I think it would be an interesting place to ride.


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