Appaloosa Journal

NOV 2018

Appaloosa Journal is the official publication of the Appaloosa Horse Club, the international registry for the Appaloosa horse.

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74 Appaloosa Journal November 2018 as possible, the route the Nez Perce traveled once they left their home at the foot of the Wallowa Mountains in Oregon to the day that Chief Joseph made his famous speech of surrender at Bear Paw, Montana, a mere 35 miles from Canada and continued free- dom. The Chief Joseph is a progressive ride, meaning that camp moves nearly every day, with each year starting where it concluded the year previous. As the five-day ride can only accommodate a 100-mile distance each year, an investment of thirteen years is required to complete the entire route. The 2018 ride marked the second leg of the fifth cycle. Su nday The early riser was treated to the spectacular vision of a picket line full of colorful horses decorated with sun gilded manes and tails. Eyes still dozy with sleep, they stood quietly as the sun bathed their coats with its golden rays. Blankets, leopards, snow caps, roans and snowflake patterns of every color and variety were represented among the herd and reiterated that this was, most definitely, an Appaloosa event. The animals appeared oblivious of the work that lay before them, content to mingle with others on the line and lazily lip up stray stems of hay. With the stirrings of the first to awaken, the camp slowly came to life. Horses nickered and whinnied for their morning meals. The aroma of coffee, sau- sage and other breakfast staples filled the air. As people greeted and visited with each other, their laughter carried and created a jovial atmosphere. It was a perfect start to a grand adventure. Later in the day, many saddled up for a pre-ride down the gravel road or a run at the far end of the field. Others visited Tolo Lake, curious to learn about the Columbian Mammoths resting in its depths. Most simply enjoyed being with their long-distance friends again. For some, the Chief Joseph Trail Ride is the only time they are together. It is a family reunion of sorts and the suc- cess of this ride is, in a large part, due to the passionate members of this "family" of horsemen. That evening, participants were introduced to the ride support team and provided a brief orientation. Nez Perce elder, Bessie Scott, said a prayer and Wilfred Scott performed a peace pipe cer- emony to bless the participants and their horses and guarantee a successful ride. Angel Sobotta, with her brilliant smile, sang and played the drum while Nez Perce ladies and youth danced in their full regalia. Upon completion of the song, the dancers approached the audience to offer salutations and handshakes in a demonstration of welcome, acceptance and friendship. With that, DJ Marcos Dominguez started up the music for dancing while oth- ers retired to their camps to visit or get a head start on their sleep. M day The first day of the ride is always accompanied by a palpable sense of excitement and anxiety. While riders pack saddle bags and scour the trailer for that one lost item that they simply cannot ride without, the orchestrated ballet of disassembling camp and readying rigs for travel begins. Horses bury their noses in hay bags while the cook crew serves up a hot breakfast. Participants visit a table abundant with sandwiches and snack items to assemble a sack lunch. Once everyone has had a proper meal, riders ready their mounts while drivers tidy up camp. Saddlebags, beverages and other trail accoutrements in place, riders mount up and pre- pare to hit the trail promptly at eight. As the call to "Move out!" rang through camp, the herd con- verged from the field and onto the gravel road. The crunch of metal shoes on rock muffled most conversations, particularly when an energetic mount jigged alongside a companion. A few

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