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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76 Appaloosa Journal November 2018 miles up the road, the horses turned into a grassy meadow. A herd of Angus cattle lowed near the ruins of a weathered barn and prompted unspoken inquiries about the people who had lived there long ago. The trail followed a creek bed before presenting riders with their first obstacle, a steep climb out of the valley to the rolling plateau above. To spare the horses, the riders utilized a pattern of zig zagging up the hillside, conquering the altitude more gradually than simply aiming directly up the slope. Glanc- ing behind, the altitude gained allowed vast views of fields and ranches of Grangeville and beyond, the landscape appearing as a quilt constructed of yellowed wheat fields, green grasses and hay, and black tilled soil. Ahead in the column, a rider pointed off into the distance to a large herd of elk grazing in the fields above. Disturbed by the presence of so many riders, they ran along the hill and quickly disappeared over its crest. Lunch was enjoyed in a lightly wooded area along a flowing creek. Gnarled, moss-coated branches provided ample locations to tie the horses or hang gear and the canopy offered shelter from the sun. The horses enjoyed a refreshing drink and loose cinches while riders bedded down on the flora of the forest floor and ate lunch. Back in the saddle, the ride continued through grassy knolls to a valley which framed the expansive White Bird Canyon beyond. After an easy, gradual descent, the horses arrived at Highway 95. They lined up along the highway ditch, awaiting direction. With the bellowing cry, "Move out!" the horses surged out of the ditch and onto the blacktop en masse, efficiently carrying all partici- pants safely across the road in a matter of seconds and creating only a minor blockage of road traffic. The descent from the highway into White Bird Canyon began with a steep slope of loose dirt and rocks. As the horses headed down the embankment, they demonstrated their agility and trail savvy by dropping their hocks and sliding expertly down, balancing and pulling themselves forward with their forelegs. The arid can- yon was strewn with lavender flowers and sparse, dry grasses. Rid- ers experienced a dizzying sense of vertigo as they continued the lengthy descent. The walls of the canyon created a commanding backdrop and made the already-stunted brush scattering the field appear even more minuscule. Riders were dwarfed by the geogra- phy and a feeling of insignificance couldn't be lightly brushed away. With every foot descended, it seemed the temperature jumped two degrees higher. Once in camp, efforts were made to dis- courage heatstroke. Horses were sponged to clean off the sweat and help cool their bodies and participants dunked their heads in water buckets. The high canyon walls guaranteed a welcome early sunset, and with it came cooler temperatures. The evening presentation was the Empty Saddle Ceremony. The Nez Perce youth once again donned their regalia and dressed their horses in their trappings. The artistry and beauty of the gear was second to none. As the horses walked, the tin cones and hawk bells jingled cheerfully, creating an appropriate auditory effect to accompany the bright colors and intricate designs. Dressed in their finest, they showed their respect for their lost friends and family. They circled the camp three times, with Peyton Sobotta leading a horse in an empty saddle to honor and symbolize loved ones who have been lost. Participants were invited to recognize friends from the trail who were lost this year and the Nez Perce Appaloosa Horse Club presented Pendleton blankets to the families of their club members Doris Ferguson and Karen Williams. Tu esday With the first fourteen miles behind them, participants woke up a little saddle worn. The ride out of camp was quiet as riders

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