I Went Through the Desert on A Horse…

I Went Through the Desert on A Horse…

But he didn’t have no name.  He had a name, and his name was Whiskey.  The radio silence for the past few days was due to my Memorial Day adventure vacation!  Tim and I loaded up the dogs and met our friends out in Terlingua, Texas (aka desert in the middle of no where) to see Big Bend National Park.

The only mountains I’ve ever seen are basically the Appalachian mountains and other similar mountains/foothills on the east coast, so this desert Mars like landscape was both shocking and beautiful to me.



One of the highlights of our trip was a 2 hour trail ride through the desert at sunset.  Usually I’m the nerd who wants to go on the over priced vacation pony rides, but this time our two friends who traveled with us wanted to go trail riding and I eagerly found a nice stable with fat, well cared for horses and set the adventure up.

Whiskey, my mount for the trip!  Cute little QH/mutt trail horse.
Whiskey, my mount for the trip! Cute little QH/mutt trail horse.

When we signed our waivers and paid for the trip, riders over the age of 15 had the option to wear a helmet or not.  I took the helmet option, thinking that I can’t exactly blog about helmet safety and be pro-helmet but choose not to wear one on vacation.  Tim and my two friends ended up choosing helmets as well and the trail guy said this was the 1st time all adults chose to wear helmets on a trail ride.  He thought we were ridiculous, but whatever – spooks and trips happen even on the world’s best trail horses (and I do think Whiskey qualifies as a world’s best trail horse).


The ride was pretty much amazing.  We started off at 7 in the blistering 100+ degree heat, but after 30-45 minutes the sun started to set and the wind picked up… so it was very pleasant.

I was jealous that Tim got the Palomino!
I was jealous that Tim got the Palomino!

I can’t tell you how impressed I was by these trail horses.  Some of the trails went on straight up solid rock…

Walking on a limestone rock dry riverbed.

We also walked up itty bitty narrow trails covered in rocks up giant hills.  I mean, pretty significant drop on one side and a cliff on the other side.  The horses all had excellent feet, excellent shoeing and knew the terrain well… but damn it was an intense trail to this wussy hunter/jumper rider.


The longer we rode, the prettier it got.  The sun turned the desert red around us.



And lucky for me, I got lots of pictures because Whiskey was the perfect trail horse and all I had to do was sit there and put some leg on when he wanted to stop and snack… which was often.  Apparently desert horse eat all kinds of thorny bushes and things that I’m pretty sure Simon would not identify as food at all.

We walked through a field of cactus much taller than us on horseback.
We walked through a field of cactus much taller than us on horseback.

The highlight of this sunset ride was of course, the sunset.  It was pretty and peaceful and everything you’d expect of a 103 degree day in the desert.


My vacation was very action packed with a lot of activities, and although we had a blast I’m glad to be back home in my normal routine.  I even feel a bit refreshed for work!  Did y’all get up to anything fun over Memorial Day weekend?

25 thoughts on “I Went Through the Desert on A Horse…

  1. How fun! I’m glad you had a fun ride- I’m always afraid those kind of rides will be totally lame. We’re planning on going with some friends on vacation.

    I spent Memorial Day riding with friends and gardening. I am apparently 65 years old, because I went to bed at approximately 8:30 PM.

  2. I love that you were an advocate for the helmet-wearing and started a trend. 🙂 Also, that you vacillated on decision and were honest about it. There have been times (photo ops, mostly) that I’ve been like.. screw the helmet! But that’ll be the one time I land on a rock.

    Your photos look great and it looks like a fun vacation! I wish my hubby would ride a horse!

      1. D sat on Archie once and freaked out. He explained that he didn’t like the sensation of being on something that had its own mind. Stated like that, I completely understand.

  3. Looks like fun!! Good for your group wearing helmets, that’s stupid that the trail guide thought you were ridiculous.

  4. What a fantastic trip. Great scenery, I love it out west. Whiskey and all the horses seem like very safe mounts. Exactly what you want for trails lie that. I would have worn te helmets too, those rocks are pretty hard.

    I’d like to thank you again for the contest and the lovely stationery again. I received it the other day and can’t wait to use it.

  5. Horseback riding really is the best way to see a lot of places, like the desert. My mom and I went to Costa Rica on a nerdy equestrian vacation years ago (when I had a legit job and made legit money) and had THE BEST TIME EVER. We saw the jungle, the mountains, the beaches, and I rode this fantastic little four year old (!!!) horse named Fandango. I really wanted to bring him back with me. He was a-mazing, and each day I was surprised at what he was willing to do and at the terrain he could handle.

  6. What a great trip! The scenery was gorgeous. We’re going to Belize in a few days and Hubby has agreed to a “trail ride” to some Mayan ruins. I don’t care if they are just pokey ponies: riding anywhere is always preferable to walking. Glad you had a good time!

  7. Wow!! It looks like such am azing place! The pictures are stunning. It sounds like you had an amazing time.

  8. coming in late to this thread, but one of the things I’ve learned in my dotage is… trail horses are MADE, just like any other discipline. some are more adept at it than others, just like any other discipline… Not sure why it took me so long to learn this. :-z Because I actually ‘brought along’ a young trail horse *ahem* a fairly long time ago. It took time & patience to get her there, but she had the right attitude to begin with: forward, always. Brave, willing to break trail/ground. Willing to walk through spider webs 🙂 she was actually much better on more ‘technical’ trails early on, because they held her attention. She got bored on easy trails.

  9. Hi Laura, I just came here from your Joshua tree post and I realized — we rode the same horse in Terlingua! I was also put on Whiskey when we were out there a few years ago. Happy trails!

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