October 14, 2013 at 2:22 PM

The Horse Shelter Benefit Trail Ride

'We hope to make this an annual event and everyone is looking forward to another spectacular day on the trail next year.'

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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50 riders signed up for the opportunity to ride in the Valles Caldera GRANDE, and provide funding to feed the shelter horses at The Horse Shelter on September 22. The Whole Hog Café kicked in a fabulous BBQ lunch of pulled pork, BBQ chicken, baked beans -- the works. They even included their famous potato salad, which was quickly consumed.

With all the late rain storms we have had lately, many people had concerns about the footing and the ground suitability for trailer parking. The VC staffers were wonderful as always, and our liaison personally drove out to the staging area to see firsthand that the road and the trailers would be okay.

The morning clouds were so low hanging that it lived up to The Grande’s mystical reputation. As we tacked up the horses preparing to ride, the clouds magically lifted revealing the comforting New Mexico brilliant blue sky. The temperature was cool but the sun was warm as we rode out to visit the old buildings still standing from days gone by.

Rider groups chose to travel in different directions selecting different terrain and scenery, and then we all rendezvoused at the trailers for BBQ lunch. After we had had our fill and shared our day’s stories, it was time to load up and head back home. As usually happens, one horse had not had enough of Valles Caldera, requiring a professional trainer to coax him back into the trailer.

We hope to make this an annual event and everyone is looking forward to another spectacular day on the trail next year.

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For more information about The Horse Shelter, or to make a donation visit http://thehorseshelter.org/ or visit on Facebook.

The Valles Caldera Preserve has year-round activities open to the public including sleigh rides and snow shoeing in the winter, mushrooming, bird-watching, wild flower tours in the summer and hunting, fishing and mountain biking in addition to equestrian trails. For more information, visit www.vallescaldera.gov.

Whole Hog Café has locations for sit-down or take out in Albuquerque and Santa Fe. For more information, contact them at 505-474-4475 in Santa Fe, or in Albuquerque at 505-323-1668. Many of their recipes, including the famous potato salad, are listed on their website at http://www.wholehogcafe.com/

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