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New Pinyon Trail!

20150314_10045920150314_095531Last Saturday I had the pleasure of attending the new grand opening of the 5+ mile Pinyon trail in Gardnerville.  The Carson Valley Trails Association has been working on this trail and getting it approved and then built for a couple of years now.

I went with a friend that had helped work on building the trail and as it turned out we were the only two equestrians there.  Most likely because other riders would prefer to avoid a large crowd of hikers and mountain bikers on a narrow singletrack trail.  Fortunately, my horse Bo and my friends horse Jack were not bothered at all by all of the activity and handled it quite well.  Guess that just goes with the territory of being an endurance horse.  Plus, if you are going to ride in the Pinenuts your horse is going to get pretty used to just about everything – mountain bikes, motorcycles, quads, people shooting, etc.  This new Pinyon trail is closed to motorized vehicles, hopefully those users will respect that.


This is the parking area on the same side as the trail head. Note the large built in mounting boulders!


If the trail head side parking area is crowded, there is plenty of room across the road for several more horse trailers.

Here is an overview of the trail from the Carson Valley Trail website: The Pinyon Trail is a hand constructed, non-motorized single track trail open to hikers, mountain bikers, equestrians and dogs. From the trail head, the trail gently climbs for just over a mile to a trail junction. At this junction, trail users can go either direction on the three-mile loop portion of the trail. The return trip back to the trail head from the junction results in a round-trip trail distance of about 5.2 miles.

pinyontrail20150314_101703Taking the loop twice extends the length to about 8.2 miles. The trail wraps around a large hill with continuous views of the Pine Nut and Carson Ranges. Nevada’s state tree, the single-leaf pinyon pine grows throughout the trail system along with Utah junipers. The trail elevation ranges from 5,700 feet at the trail head to about 6,060 feet, and has a gentle grade of about 5%. The trail surface is generally soil with patches of bedrock.

20150314_112813We really enjoyed getting to ride on the trail.  Bo and Jack both thoroughly loved the the trail and you could tell they were having a blast trotting on all of the nice twisty turns.  We as riders were sure enjoying all of the gorgeous scenery in all directions.  New views and scenery greeted us at every turn on the trail.  Since we knew the horses would be faster than most of the others we left plenty early so that we would not be in their way, and vice versa.  We did encounter others that had that same idea and then on the common mile section of trail we did encounter a few dozen other assorted users heading out while we were going in.

20150314_101658The trail head has plenty of parking for both cars and horse trailers (see above photos).  If the parking are where the kiosk is gets crowded then there is another large area across the road where even the biggest of horse trailers can turn around easily.

20150315_110326Personally, I would rather just ride from my house and save the effort of trailering there and back.  In fact, that is what I did on Sunday when my friend Susan rode Bo with me and I rode Chief.  The round trip from home ended up being about 16.59 miles which was just about perfect for a nice Sunday ride, though I think both horses could have benefited from a bit more hill work.  The wind came up otherwise we might have stayed out a bit longer.

KARENSCOMPUTER - 20150315_110927

All of the trail users we encountered on both days were friendly and extremely courteous.  Many (well, most) are not that well educated on what they should and shouldn’t do when encountering horses on a narrow trail though.  Just a couple of things that I”ll point out for those that might be reading this that don’t know.  From the CVT page:  “When approaching equestrians, make yourself clearly visible.”  While many did do that, several would get off of the trail as soon as they saw us, often darting behind the pinyon pines out of view of our horses. Some horses will view that as a predatory behavior and will become apprehensive about continuing on the trail.  They know something is there, but they can’t see what it is.  The next thing from the CVT page: “Horses can be easily spooked, so it is courteous to speak to the rider in advance so they are aware of you,and then safely move to the downhill side of the trail and let them pass.”  With a few exceptions (mainly from the mountain bikers, they were the ones most likely to move downhill), everybody went to the uphill side.  The reason why bikes and people (esp. those with dogs) should go to the downhill side is that if the horse does get a little nervous or frightened it will almost always move away from what is frightening it — much safer for the horse and the rider to move over to the uphill side rather than the downhill side where a wreck is certainly much more likely to happen.  Obviously each situation dictates doing what is safe and that is why horses using this trail should already be trail savy and used to encountering other trail users.

20150315_110934On both days we trotted quite a bit of the trail except for when we were encountering groups of people.  It took us 57 minutes on Saturday and on Sunday just about the same, under an hour.

Many thanks and appreciation go deservedly so to all of the hard working volunteers that put in hundreds of hours of hard labor into building this trail.  It is extremely well designed and is going to be a great asset to the community.  I like seeing so many different kinds of trail users sharing trails together, getting along and working on projects like this.

To find out more about the Pinyon Trail in Gardnerville, NV as well as other trails in the Carson Valley, click here

Below is a link to a video that Susan made with her GoPro.

Pinyon Pine Horse Riding Video from Sunday March 16, 2015






The Sweetest Leather Conditioner: Leather Honey Review

I was asked if I would do a review of Leather Honey if they sent some to me to try.  I love doing product reviews and getting to try new things, especially when I find something that works really well so that I can share it with my blog readers.  I was really impressed with this product and have several photos to show how well it works.  I really like that Leather Honey is

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Endurance Day Shows on Horses in the Morning

Here are links to the last few months of shows.  Click on each link if you want to listen to us talk about ENDURANCE RIDING for an hour and a half.  The show is done live on the second Tuesday of each month from 6-7:30 a.m. PST, on the Horse Radio Network.  They also have several other shows so be sure to check them out.  You can even get a smart phone app and

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My latest science experiment

There are so many things having to do with endurance riding that you just simply can’t make up.  One of my favorite sayings is “you can’t make this shit up”.  A good fiction writer might be able to pen some of the things that we’ve encountered on our many adventures, though the actual events are often not something that you could think up, dream up, or even imagine.  This is one of them.


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Endurance riding basics: What to carry on your saddle

Here is my list along with photos showing what I carry with me when I ride.  Each person needs to figure out what works for them as we all have different needs.  I try to only carry things that I may actually need without going over-board.  If you carry too many items then it because nearly impossible to find something when you need it out on the trail.  I tend to be fairly prepared

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Managing my endurance horse Bo post colic surgery

Bo two weeks post colic surgery, April 2014. He regained his weight rapidly.

I’ve only made a few small changes to how I manage Bo on a day to day basis after his colic surgery in April.  While the veterinarians and surgeon were not able to come up with a reason for the cause of Bo’s colic it was suspicious that the morning he went off of his feed (he was still eating,

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Wild West Endurance Ride 2014

Bo & Karen at Wild West 2014. Photo by Baylor/Gore.

I know I haven’t blogged for a long time.  Bo colicked on April 9th and needed to have surgery for a 180 degree twist.  It was a bit of a roller coaster ride, to put it lightly.  We were very lucky that the surgery was able to correct the problem in what turned out to be a fairly uncomplicated and successful surgery.  It

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Shedding time

Spring is here, finally!  I was able to get both horses fully body clipped over the weekend and speed up the shedding process.

There are pros and cons to clipping but mostly pros now that it is already mid March.  It can be a real challenge to keep the horses cleaned up when they are being worked as the weather warms up and they still have super thick shaggy coats.

Fortunately I’ve got

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Post Ride Recovery for the Endurance Rider

20 Mule Team 100 2014. Karen and Bo. Photo by Bill Gore.

Post ride recovery for endurance riders is not usually a topic that most of us think about. Usually after the ride is over, you just want to sit down and relax. But if you make wise use of the post ride recovery period, you will be well rewarded.

Recent studies have showed that an endurance athlete can significantly reduce the time

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2014 20 Mule Team 100: One horse, one rider and a dog–a story of 100 miles through the desert with a happy ending

I always say that getting to the ride can often be the hardest part.  Last year I missed 20 MT because of my truck.  This year I was really determined to make it to the start line.  The obstacles this time weren’t as insurmountable as the last time – I only had to replace two tires on my trailer a few days before the trip.  Could have been worse, right?

You know you are

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