My goodness! The Nevada Discovery Ride is just exploding online right now between Facebook and Instagram! It's very exciting to spread the word about the next ride and get more people talking about wild horse adoption. I truly never expected my desire to go undertake some long distance rides to be of interest to so many people, but I appreciate the support and am humbled by the positive responses. Ultimately my goal is simple - it's just to encourage wild horse adoption. That's it. I've received dozens of emails this week from people who want more information on wild horses, so I guess it's working!
The Reno winter has been much more significant than the last few drought years. In addition to getting lots of snow, temperatures have been downright freezing! But, Sage and I are still getting in trail rides - albeit short ones and only when wearing about 10 layers. We'll ramp up our conditioning as the weather starts to warm. I can't wait until horse camping season!
We keep attracting wonderful sponsors, for which I am so grateful! Our new media sponsor is Wild Heart Mustangs, a brand new e-zine that is all about wild horses and burros! They're just starting out, but we think they're off to a great start. I'm looking forward to having some articles about the ride included throughout the year. Stay tuned over the next few weeks for updates on even more new sponsors! And, in the meantime, keep sharing our Facebook page and be sure to follow us on Instagram, where I'm sharing photos and stories from the trail. Thank you all for your continued support of the NDR, but more importantly of wild horses!
It's hard to believe that 2016 is upon us! What an exciting year ahead of us and we gear up for our next journey. I suspect the year will go by very fast... or maybe I just hope it will! I can't wait to get on the long trail once more!
We have been busy checking off some of the last things on our to-do list and getting some of the last items on our wishlist. We recently purchased a new tent (since our other small tent was destroyed by the end of the 2013 ride!), new Easyboots for Sage, and new tires for the truck (crucial on those backcountry roads Ryan has to drive to deliver feed and water). There's only a few small things left to get over the next several months.
I'm also excited to announce a brand new sponsor -- We are Trail Riders. This online trail riding community believes that trail riding can be a movement for good... and we agree! They support equine therapy, horse rescue, and park preservation organizations.
Sorry for the lack of updates the past few months, but I do have a few really good updates. Probably the most important thing that has happened is that my time-off from work to do the next ride is confirmed with my employer! That's kind of a big deal! So, while the exact ride dates are still TBD, I am cleared to be gone for three months sometime during Aug/Sep/Oct/Nov of 2016! Hooray! Of course the specific dates will depend on fall weather, which is hard to predict here. But, we'll set a firm start date as it gets a little closer. I would be remiss if I didn't thank Washoe County for supporting my endeavor and letting me take the time off. Probably the number one question people ask me lately is "How do you get the time off work??" I'm very lucky. I don't think Washoe County is "excited" about my three month sabbatical, but they are supportive!
In other news, we continue to attract sponsors, for which I am extremely grateful. Nevada State Parks has offered to donate hay for the ride once again - which is generous and much appreciated. You may recall NV State Parks donated five bales of quality alfalfa for the first ride and allowed us to store it at several state parks on the route. And, I also have an anonymous sponsor who is donating enough Starbucks Via instant coffee packets to last the entire ride! haha Coffee is a crucial staple on the trail so I am very happy to have that covered!
I'm still accumulating gear for the ride. Most recently, I splurged on a GPS. You may recall that I only used paper topo maps for the first ride. Well, I'm going to go a little high-tech for the second and try the GPS! I'll still carry paper maps of course, but hopefully the GPS will make it a little easier to not get lost! I opted for the Garmin Oregon 650T and I'll be sure to write a review after the ride :)
Sage is doing great. He's just loving life in the pasture with the herd. We just trail ride and hang out together. He's looking very fit and now at 8 years old is maturing quite nicely.
Lastly, I am very excited that a California woman that I have been emailing with for months and months just adopted a mustang from the BLM. She said she was so impressed with Sage and the first Nevada Discovery Ride that she had to have a mustang of her own! Well, that makes this whole project worth it for me. Encouraging mustang adoption has always been my number one goal with the NDR and it seems it's working! That's why I am so excited to hit the trail once again next year and keep promoting wild horse adoption. Hopefully we'll reach an even larger audience than last time and who knows how many people we'll inspire to open their home to a mustang!
One of the very first sponsors of the 2013 Nevada Discovery Ride is back as a sponsor for the 2016 ride! Riding Warehouse is based in San Luis Obispo, California. Their store offers a wide selection of quality, reasonably priced equine products including horse tack, riding apparel, horse trailer gear, stable equipment, gifts, and much more! Quite a bit of the gear that we use comes from their store. I am so excited to have their continued support for our trail efforts. Definitely check out their store: http://www.ridingwarehouse.com.
I am so excited to announce the newest sponsor of the Nevada Discovery Ride -- Gentle Control Hackamore! You may have noticed Sage wearing this unique hackamore in just about every photograph from the first Nevada Discovery Ride and since. I have been riding Sage exclusively in this headstall for 3+ years and thousands of trail miles, and you bet we're gonna use it on our next long ride. The whole point of the Nevada Discovery Ride project is to show how trainable and reliable mustangs can be as riding horses, and to that end I have tried to use the most minimal aides when riding or training Sage. That's why I ride exclusively in a Gentle Control Hackamore - I love how truly gentle it is. There's nothing in his mouth and there's no constant pressure. This hackamore encourages soft hands and fingertip reins. It also allows for neck reining, suppleness, and collection, without painful pressure points or leverage. We're honored to have this Ogden, Utah-based company as a sponsor of the Nevada Discovery Ride and we highly encourage you to check try out their hackamore on your own horse.
This week I was lucky enough to see a special screening of the new documentary Unbranded!
3,000 miles, 16 wild horses, 5 states, and 4 men. The journey of a lifetime riding from Mexico to Canada through the deepest backcountry in the American West to see our remaining open spaces and prove the worth of 50,000 wild horses and burros currently in holding pens.
The film is incredibly well produced - with stunning videography and an emotional storyline. I found it particularly moving, especially given my own long riding adventures and wild horse adoption efforts. I feel like these gents from Texas are kindred spirits! I highly recommend you keep and eye out for this film and plan to see it when it is made available to the public. You can learn more about their project here: http://unbrandedthefilm.com/ and watch the trailer below.
Howdy everybody! It's not even technically summer yet, but it is hot, hot, hot here in Reno. The drought has made it really dry out there, which means the wildfire risk is already pretty high and the water levels are pretty low. For Sage and I that means we'll be heading up into the mountains as much as possible this summer. This week my friend Carol and I enjoyed a nice ride just outside the Mt. Rose Wilderness area. Even just a little elevation made the high temps much more bearable and made for some great views of the city below. We also got to practice some bridge crossings and chatted with some nice hikers and cyclists on the trail too. I met one nice hiker couple who recently moved to Nevada and was shocked to hear that Sage was a mustang! They were quite impressed with him!
In Discovery Ride news, planning continues for next year's ride. As always, I'm playing with gear, trying out some new things to see if they can stand up to the rigors of a long ride. We learned on the last ride that most things just aren't made with enough quality to handle constant use on the trail! I am also working on securing a few new sponsors and promoting the ride in general. I think things are coming together nicely and I think we will have some announcements to share pretty soon :)
In wild horse news, I am so excited to find out that the Bureau of Land Management just started another prison adoption program! As you know, Sage came from the prison program in Carson City. It is just the best program out there for wild horse adoption and one that I wish could replicated at every prison. The new program is in Elk Grove, California through the Rio Cosumnes Correctional Center and the first batch of gentled horses will be up for adoption at the upcoming Napa Mustang Days in Napa, California. They will also be premiering the highly anticipated Unbranded documentary during the expo, so if you are in the region you won't want to miss it! Finally, if you are in the Reno area next month you should plan to check out the first-ever Nevada Mustang Fine Art Show - a three-day art exhibit featuring amazing wild horse art, with proceeds benefiting the Wynema Ranch Wild Horse Sanctuary.
Greetings! It has been far too long since I've given a proper update on things, but a lot of things have been happening!
Of most importance -- we have decided to adjust the start of the next NDR from this fall to the spring of 2016. Delaying until the spring is necessary for several reasons. My wonderful and supportive husband Ryan has personal obligations to attend to this fall - he's finishing his Ph.D.! Far be it from me to ask him to interrupt the process to haul feed and water around the Nevada backcountry for three months! Changing seasons won't change the nature of the ride though - in some ways it will be better. It will be safer, since we won't be riding during hunting season. And, fingers crossed, we should have more water to access. Don't let the ride delay bum you out -- if you'll recall the exact same thing happened in 2013. We had planned on a fall ride for 2012, but ended up waiting until spring! The new timeline will give us a little more time to prep and plan.
In other news, I am so excited to already have two wonderful sponsors for the next Nevada Discovery Ride. Top Trail Horse is a GPS-based online mileage program for the trail horse and rider. Using a GPS app, you can upload your tracks to the website for monthly mileage challenges. Personally, I love being able to see how many miles I am riding each month, and the lightly competitive aspect is fun too! The good folks over at Top Trail Horse have been extremely supportive of our next ride and they have some fun ideas for helping us make it happen. We'll reveal more on those ideas later ;)
Last month I gave a ride presentation to a group of residents at Sierra Place, a senior living facility in Carson City, Nevada. What a wonderful group of people! The residents were enthralled with the stories from the trail. I am delighted to have Sierra Place as a sponsor and to have the residents follow us along on the next ride. I'll be sending back personalized updates from the trail just for them!
Thank you to both Top Trail Horse and Sierra Place for supporting the Nevada Discovery Ride. It means the world to us to have groups like these supporting wild horse adoption. We're hoping to secure a few more sponsors for the next big ride. Let us know if you are interested!
Everything else is going well for the NDR team. Both Bella and Sage are turning eight this year!! Amazing how fast the time goes. Sage and I have been riding lots this winter, especially since winter pretty much skipped the Reno area. Bella has been tagging along on our rides too, enjoying desert exploration and chasing jackrabbits. Ryan and I have a few more scouting trips planned this summer to finalize some fuzzy portions of the route. Stay tuned for updates as we continue to get things ready for NDR 2016!
Due to overwhelming Facebook demand, we have decided to offer some of our branded NDR items for sale through the website! Just in time for holiday shopping, we have t-shirts, coffee mugs, tote bags, and more. To kick off the grand "opening" of the store -- 2015 wall calendar are on sale! Visit the store HERE and start shopping! Shipping and handling is free and all proceeds will help fund our 2015 ride. We appreciate all your support to get this epic ride underway!
The latest updates from Samantha on the Nevada Discovery Ride.