August 1, 2011 at 3:58 PM

Ride ‘The Grande’ at Valles Caldera Preserve—Sept. 24

"Horses are normally restricted from the enchanting Grande, so folks hauled for hours for this rare opportunity..."

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.

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Last year the VC Staffer said: “There are no trails out there… ride anywhere you want inside The Grande. Just stay clear of the tree line, and be back here by 3 p.m.” Few rules; no trails? The Grande Caldera is a mystical grassy concave meadow almost 14 miles long and 10 miles wide. The magma chamber still seethes three miles below the idyllic grasslands.

Known locally as the old Baca Property near Jemez Springs, New Mexico, it is internationally famous as one of the three active calderas in the United States. The eruptions that formed the calderas occurred roughly 1.2 million years ago. The volcanic field spewed almost 500 cubic miles of ash and lava, and then sank back in on itself to form the concave bowls of Valles Caldera. The eruption was so powerful that ash from the eruption may have reached as far as Texas and Kansas.

Horses are normally restricted from the enchanting Grande, so folks hauled for hours for this rare opportunity. Due to the wide variance in skill, small riding groups form with familiar people to minimize risks. Last year, there were some of the state’s top trainers in Hunter/Jumper, Reining, Youth Quarter Horse, a family spanning three generations, and groups of novice riders.

DATE: Saturday, September 24th, YOU can ride the Grande.

Location: Highway 4 Jemez Springs, NM. Turn into the driveway to Visitors Center.

Cost: $20.00 per horse; bring stock water and your own lunch/water.

For reservations or more information, call 505-989-1135 or email 5443816@earthlink.net If you are hauling a long distance, overnight horse facilities can be arranged in Santa Fe, NM.If you would like to ride two days, Banco Bonito, an entirely different equestrian trail, is open September 23rdand on the 25thfor up to 45 horses. To reserve a second day in the Preserve, register on line at http://www.vallescaldera.gov/comevisit/horse/horse_viewall.aspx.

 

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