June 9, 2011 at 3:28 PM
The winds are expected to kick up in the afternoon...
By Susie Morgan
Hoof Prints in Santa Fe
Susie Morgan is a lifetime lover of horses, the outdoors and lives for adventures. She lives in Las Campanas, and is reconnecting with horses after working 27 years in New York City.
The winds are expected to kick up in the afternoon. Sometimes they blow 40 miles an hour. So if we want to ride today, it has to be early. We agree on a plan to ride the Galisteo Basin which is only 30 minutes and an easy haul from Santa Fe, New Mexico. Ron and I are famous for arriving 15 minutes before departure, but we are always ready at the appointed time. In the language of golfers, we are “trunk slammers”.
The Galisteo Basin Preserve is one of several diverse trail riding eco-systems in the Santa Fe, New Mexico area. We are fortunate to live only a half hour away. The Preserve is a land conservation and community development project located in Santa Fe County’s Galisteo Basin; a high-desert area of fragile land and scarce water. It is designed to conserve and restore more than 13,000 acres of open space in an exceptional landscape as well as promote community development. The open space is earmarked to include 50 miles of hiking, biking, and equestrian trails. The terrain invites exploration and the public is encouraged to take advantage of the diverse trail system.
Right now it is calm, bright and sunny but we know what is to come. In the sun at 7,000 feet, 65 degrees feels like 75 degrees, so this is a light shirt day. We stage at the Cowboy Shack, an old building with some stock pens that remain from days gone by. We stop to give the horses a cool drink before heading out.
The trail starts up a gradual hill then we turn left and head toward a large arroyo. We have to pick out way down the sandy and unstable footing to reach the bottom. We ride about an hour south enjoying the vibrant colors of rusts and tans along the arroyo walls. To the right are rolling hills, but we continue inside the arroyo to enjoy the stunning scenery. This is the first trail ride of the season for some of the horses, and a paint horse seems especially wary of boulders today, so we take time to school the horses.
We reach a point where the arroyo flattens out and see trails to the right and left. We pick the right and climb up the hill. Within 10 minutes, we all agree the winds are getting stronger by the minute and the arroyo was more pleasant. Now to find a safe path back down. The horses handle this decent very well and we are happy to be back inside the protection of the limestone walls.
We head back for the trailers pleased that we dodged the winds and had a wonderful ride.
For more information:
"Saddle Up, New Mexico: The Statewide Horse Trail and Travel Guide" (Paperback)