My DH will be finishing graduate school in a few months. We're trying to come up with some way to celebrate. We're really thinking about a 2 week trip with our horses, maybe next spring. So far I'm thinking about a trip to Colorado. I don't think we want to go much further west than that because we don't want to spend the entire 2 weeks driving. I thought we could stop along the way at places with trails and horse accomodations and maybe take a different route home so we can see even more. The trip would include Indiana, Missouri, Kansas and possibly northern Oklahoma, New Mexico, or Texas.
Has anyone ever done a trip like this? What problems did you have? Any suggested stops or destinations? Any good resources for information on horse accomodations/trail rides? What are the "must see" trails and parks in Colorado?
A lot of the West is public land, ( Utah for example is 74% public land) hence you won't find a lot of campground that cater to horses like you do back where you live. We just pull off into the trees and do what is called dispearsed camping. True there are no hook ups, it's all primative camping. But it's free.
Since the land is managed by government agencies ( Forest Service, BLM, State trust lands etc) you have to abide by their rules, one of which is certified weed free feed.
Do your research on what areas you want to ride. Don't worry too much about dude ranches. They focus more on people with out their own horses. Check out places to stop along the way. I usually pulled into fairgrounds and turned the horses out in their corrals for a stretch.
Once in the mountains, I usually just high line my horses between trees.
Parked in the trees off to the side of road.
Here in Utah, A lot of the popular trail heads have corrals built by Back Country Horsemen.
I'd suggest lots of places in Utah and Western Wyoming, But since you are not coming that far west. A loop through Western Colordo and up into Wyoming will give you a great taste of the west.
Also research what time of year you are coming. There can be serious snow pack still in late May or Early June in the high country. We are usually still riding the high desert country of Southern Utah in May because the mountains of Utah are still snow bound. But rides into Utahs San Rafael or Bryce Canyon in May can be breath taking and much more comfortable temperature range.
Also a lot of trail heads in the west service one or two main trails. They are mainly designed as jumping off points for extended trips. If you are going to return to your trailer nightly vs packing your camp with you, you will repeat a lot of the base trail, Hence I recommend that you be comfortable moving to another campe every couple of days. You don't have to move far, Often a 20-60 mile drive, will put you into a completely different area to ride.
Thanks for all of the info, painted horse. We can handle the primitive camping which sounds like a better way to go. We don't even own a horse trailor yet, we've been waiting until DH finishes school to buy a truck big enough to pull one. I may rethink the "simple 2 horse trailor" I had invisioned us buying. Maybe something with minimal LQ would be worth it afterall (My husband LOVES that idea - he's all about the "toys". LOL)
About the certified weed free hay - where do you get that? We just buy our hay out of the field up the road - nobody certifies anything. Is it readily available in the states that require it?
Certified Hay is a little hard to find in the spring. But by mid June is pertty easy to find at most feed stores. It usually is just involved with BALED hay.
Another option is pellets or cubes. The grinding process of making pellets usually destroys any seeds. So most pellets can be certifed. For travel that may be easier to carry and store in the trailer.
I've spent many a night in the gooseneck of trailers. With no LQ. At least you are dry and usually on a mattress. I bought a nice LQ in hopes of the wife coming along. But she doesn't enjoy camping, So I sold the LQ and I'm back to bare Gooseneck. I put a generator in the truck bed. Keep a George Forman Grill to cook meat on. A cooler to keep drinks cold.
I don't know if you were planning on coming through Arkansas or not, but the Bar 50 ranch is a really nice place. You can either camp in your trailer, or rent one of their cabins. It backs up to a national park, so there are plenty of trails to ride, I would personally recommend the roller coaster. You can also have guided trail rides, or they will give you a map and turn you loose. They have all of their trails clearly marked, so you shouldn't get lost if you go alone. If you get a guide, I would recommend Keith, he's real fun to be around.
Painted Fury - We could include Arkansas on the route home. That place sounds great. Thanks for the info.
Painted Horse - It's too bad your wife doesn't like to camp. I've read a few of your other posts where you mentioned that she doesn't ride either. Makes me realize that I'm pretty lucky. My husband and I have only had our girls a little over a year, we weren't raised with horses (he'd never touched a horse until 2 years ago!), but it is the one thing we are equally nutty about. I guess I'll keep that in mind the next time we have a disagreement about horse stuff - at least we both love them. But I've seen enough of your trail pictures to know that you are pretty lucky too. You have some fabulous places to ride!
We have rode at Eagle Ranch in Collins, MO 3 times. We love it. Lots of hills and covered trails to keep out of the sun. Several little water crossings. I have also rode in the Cimmarron National park in the SW corner of Kansas. Lots of wind and sand. Very open area, no shade. I hope you have a safe and fun trip!