The trailer was hooked up and packed with everything I could possibly need for a 5 day adventure. The truck was fueled. Extra spare tires were strapped to the flat bed.
#RanchHorseBreezy was a little reluctant to load (seriously Breezy!?!), but a quick wave of the flag reminded him of proper trailer loading procedures.
And then we were headed west!
This adventure is the furthest I have ever hauled by myself. Planned for this adventure was many activities that were most definitely outside of my comfort zone. Honestly, my biggest worry was whether I would be able to back my rig into my camping spot when I finally made it to Custer State Park!
Coffee Time in the Featherlite Inn
The Dignity Statue at the rest stop in Chamberlain
Backed into our Campsite...and Breezy meets his new neighbors
Beautiful views on the French Creek Trail!
After about 9 hours of driving (well into the evening), I found a rest stop, and pulled over. I refilled Breezy’s hay net, and gave him water and grain. I got a few hour’s sleep, then got back on the road while it was still dark. Just after sunrise I pulled into the rest stop in Chamberlain. There was a beautiful statue, and a scenic outlook over the Missouri River. I made a pot of coffee, and enjoyed the view.
Then we were back on the road. I pulled into Custer State Park, and made my way to French Creek Horse Camp. I only made one wrong turn onto the Needles Highway...as soon as I saw signs about tunnels I panicked! Luckily I found a space where I could turn around my rig, and got back on track. I pulled into the French Creek Horse Camp a little after 1 pm. Of course there was a crowd of people standing around to watch me back into my camp site...it took a few tries before I finally got it done!
I got Breezy settled in and camp set up. After a little bit of a rest, the neighbors from across the way stopped by and introduced themselves. A super nice bunch of ladies from Northern MN, and they were about to go on a short ride, and asked if I wanted to come along too. I saddled up, and away we went!
Along the way we encountered a very steep, extremely rocky trail that had a pretty good size drop off on one side. The horses handled it well, but one of the ladies started feeling really nervous about it. Especially when she realized that we needed to turn back around and go down the way we just came!
Mental skills to the rescue!
I was able to talk her through the ride down the rocky trail, keeping her grounded and in the present moment, avoiding the “what ifs” by keeping her focus on what her horse was actually doing-which was carefully and slowly navigating the trail. Her mare was an extremely steady and sure footed Appaloosa, they were a great match.
When we got back to camp, I heated up supper (having a microwave in the trailer is super handy!) and went to bed early so I could be prepared for the next day-Buffalo Roundup Rider Orientation Day!