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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Page 114 of 134

86 Appaloosa Journal November 2018 shared some interesting insights about the relationship between Chief Joseph and his pursuer, General Howard. riday Trail scout, AJ Smith, summed up Friday's ride when address- ing the assembly during evening announcements Thursday night. "There will be rocks. Lots of them…it's called Rocky Canyon for a reason. We can ride through it, but its gonna get a little Western." Images of "The Rock Slide" filled participants heads. How much more "Western" than that could it get? The day began quite tamely as riders mounted up and quietly started their climb up Graves Creek and out of the canyon. The trail dropped them onto an asphalt road which delivered them to immense basalt outcroppings towering high above. At the base of these formations was the entrance to a canyon. It was the first time since 1966 that the Chief Joseph Trail Ride made its way into Rocky Canyon and those on the second, third and fourth circuits certainly missed an inspiring ride. Rocky Canyon was true to its name. From the moment the canyon was entered, the trail tread was created out of large worn somewhat circular rocks, most the size of a horse's hoof, many bigger than a horse's head. They rested atop a bed of other similar large circular rocks and were not packed down in any way. As the horses walked along, the rocks would shift, a foot would slip, and a horse would trip. The clicking and cracking of iron shoe contact- ing, then scraping, the rocks set riders on edge. One false move and one could be unseated — and the ground appeared far from forgiving. The horses carefully picked their way along the trail, crossing creek bed after creek bed, slowly weaving along the can- yon floor. Despite the unsteady footing and copious opportunities to witness a train wreck, none came to fruition and the horses car- ried all riders safely along. The continuous, steady and steep climb out of the canyon was another challenging athletic feat. Once conquered, riders rode the canyon edge along the Camas Prairie, enjoying the view and savoring the last remaining section of trail between the canyon and Tolo Lake. With camp in sight, there are cheers of celebration but also a sense of melancholy. Participants on the Chief Joseph Trail Ride wait all year for it. They start talking about the next one as soon as they leave the campsite of the last, and in a flash, it is over. There is an urge to spin the horse around and head back the other direc- tion, to prolong the experience. The truth is that reality awaits and there is an entire life outside of the ride to which each must return. Until next year, there will be memories of determination and tenacity discovered when the stakes were raised. There will be increased faith in the horses that completed the ride, and per- haps a higher price tag for the ones that will be marketed. And perhaps, maybe, the 2018 Ride will be referred to with fondness as the ride that "got a little Western."

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