Last night, with tremendous sorrow, I lay Friday, my dear friend and companion, to rest. Run, Friday, Run! Run our high mountain trails as the peaks turn gold. Run through the belly deep yellow mules’ ears in the June light. Run through the red maple and orange oak leaves under the dusky August sky. Run tracks and nips through the October snow. Run fast, Run free, Run far.

It is hard to explain the bond with a horse, an animal so different from us.  This bond does not always happen,  but when it does, it makes your heart beat hard.  Friday and I would run, wild and free, through the fields above our house, with no bridle, no saddle, no fences.  He loved to run.  So did I.  At those times, you are intensely connected to the entire world, there is no separation between you and the wind, the stars, the mountains, the changing light, the earth.  You run as one, both in body and in mind.  When I thought – the peak, Friday, let’s go to the peak – that is where we would go.  Where I looked, he looked too.  When I paused, he hesitated.  When he breathed, I breathed. The connection is deep, deeper than my beating heart, as if from deep in the earth.  The closest explanation I can come up with is the ‘spirit horse’ sometimes described by the Native Americans.  Friday came into my life at a time so exquisitely difficult, when my heart as a mother was broken.  The bond was intense and instant, and it entwined like a growing vine from there.  He lifted me from the depths of despair, and gave me wings, the flutter of life that once was inside me, now I was within, and the power to beat up and away on the rising wind.  I know that now he is a part of the wind when it brushes my face, because I can hear and feel and smell him.   I think he was always a part of the wind.  At night, he comes back, and we go together into the mountains, to the peak, through the field, to the creek and the spring, to the deepest grass.  I cannot easily tell when I am awake and when I am asleep, and so it does not matter.  I cry now for what I have lost, but I cannot cry for what I have had.  For this thing, this connection, this time … this is something that far transcends who I am and where I am and even what I am.  I have had an experience that is rare and beautiful and immense.   I have ridden with the heartbeat of the earth in a way that can only be the gift of a ‘spirit horse’.

Learning to Run (Pinecrest 2005)

Running in the flowers at BlackHawk, Payson Canyon. Thanks Jim Anderson, for the photo.

Running on the shores of Green River Lake, Wind Rivers, Wyoming

Riding the Bison Roundup


Painted Pony — Running Ute

Friday knows what it means to be a Running Ute!  He was so beautiful in the Painted Pony Pageant at the Days of 47 Rodeo.  He didn’t win — a very clever ‘giraffe’ and a pretty red-white-blue horse did — but I must say, we all had a great time!

Trucks and Towing

What you should know before you buy a truck

  • Crew cab (4 full sized doors)
  • back seats should fold down like a flat bed
  • 4WD

How to Tow a Trailer

Matching your Tow Vehicle and Trailer

Specifications of Interest:  (see also UHaul Towing Glossary)

  • Gross trailer weight (GTW) “is the weight of a fully loaded trailer. It’s not a weight rating determined by the manufacturer or a weight combined with any other weight — it’s the actual weight of the trailer after you’ve loaded all of your snowmobiles, firewood, camping gear, people or any other cargo onto (or into) it. Any weight that you add to the trailer adds to the gross trailer weight.”
  • Tongue Weight
  • Trailer Hitch Classification
  • gross combination weight rating (GCWR)
  • gross vehicle weight (GVW) of your tow vehicle for both your tow vehicle and trailer

What truck can pull a horse trailer?

2013 Truck Buying Guide

Compare side by side (Kelley Blue Book)

2013 trucks

Trailer Brake Controllers


Utah Horse Trails

Here are several resources to find Horse Trails in Utah.  Some of these links are specific to horse trails.  Others are borrowed from hiking, mountain biking, ATV sites, since often our trails are ‘shared use’.  Please verify the accuracy of all information before actually embarking on your trip to be sure the trail is accessible to horses, the trail head is open, etc.

Safe and Happy Trails !  Enjoy Utah’s great scenery on horseback.  It’s ALWAYS a good day for a ride.

Back Country Horsemen of Utah  (  See link at the bottom left.)  These are trails turned in by local members.  If you are going to a specific area, call the BCHU officers listed for that area, and have them help you check out the trails you are interested in. They usually know what is up in their area, and you might just find a new riding friend.  Also, Mountain Ridge BCHU has a GPS trail sharing site:

The Back Country Horseman’s Guide by Bruce Kartchner from Tate Publishing.  This great little book has 50 popular horse trails in Utah with maps, information on how to get to the trailhead, trail conditions, best time to visit, etc.

US Forest Service:

Find Forest Service Trails in Utah (and everywhere else):  The US Forest Service has a lot of online material on trails, camping, facilities, closures/warnings/updates, etc. for Utah Horse Trails, and others.  Click on the link above.  Then put in your state.  Here are the forest listings for Utah:
Ashley National Forest
Dixie National Forest
Fishlake National Forest
Manti-LaSal National Forest
Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest

To find horse trails and campgrounds, click on recreation and then the kind of recreation you are looking for (horse trails).  From there you can also make reservations for campgrounds, etc.

Horse Trail Directory (national)

Trailmeister (national)

Horse and Mule Trailguide

Horse and Travel Guide

American Trails

Utah State Parks

Rails to Trails

Utah Mountain Bike / Horse Trails

Many (but not all) of these trails are also horse riding trails.  The maps on this site are some of the better ones I’ve found.  Check on watershed limitations before you go.

Salt Lake / Wasatch Front Area Trails

American Fork Trail Map!userfiles/Maps/American%20Fork%20Trail%20Map%202.pdf

Corner Canyon (Draper)

Draper Trails{28497E5F-08BA-4695-8B87-15FF3F922397}

Yellow Fork / Rose Canyon Trails

Dimple Dell Park

Porter Rockwell Trail

Jordan River Parkway

Millcreek Canyon

Park City Trails

Rail Trail

Ogden-area Trails

Antelope Island Trails

Payson Canyon Trails

Payson area trails


Rock Springs

Santaquin Meadows and others

Tooele Area Trails

Jacob City (Stockton Canyon)

Tooele County Trails

Tooele Trails

Stansbury Front Trail

Stansbury Island

 Sanpete Trails

Garfield County Trails

Heber Valley Trails

Bear Lake Area Trails

Pony Express





Gear and other Stuff

Here are links to various ‘stuff’ I use, that my friends use, or that I just pulled up on the internet, and it looked interesting.  Eventually I’ll clean this up and put the info rather than the links here, but for now, please bear with me.  These are links to MR BCHU newsletters, so scan through the newsletter to find the page with the ‘stuff’ on it.  Thanks for your patience.

Remember, Horse Activities are inherently dangerous.  Please read the disclaimer page of this blog, and use your own judgment about the gear and the training methods that will work safely for you and your horse.  I have in most cases mentioned in the articles which of the gear I use, but that is not necessarily the best for every horse and rider.  Also, I have not tested all of the gear listed, so please do your own inquiry to figure out how well that gear may work for you.

Packing Gear

Helmet Brims

Australian Helmet Shade (small size, this is the one I am using)  or

But I’ll probably buy the 4″ one here next time around:

And I added a ‘bone’ choker from Tandy Leather.

 Here is another set of options: Long Riders Helmet Brim  and DaBrim

And an Italian helmet that might (?) be small enough to put under a hat.

Safety Stirrups

Survey (#1)

Survey (#2)

          English Kwik Out (These are the ones I use, very pleased with them)

Kwik Out Wide Track Safety Stirrups

Western Tough 1 EZ Out (Just bought these, very pleased so far.   Only thing I noted is that when they do pop open in an accident, the plastic pad will pop loose, and we will be looking in the bushes for it … i need to attach it with velcro or somethign to maybe prevent this…)  Tough-1 EZ Out Safety Stirrup

Horse Boots (and pads)

My favorites for staying ON are Old Mac’s, so mostly I use those.

Electric Fences for travel


Dakota 20 (the GPS I’m using now)

Mountain Ridge GPS sharing site

Spot On Locator


Horse blanket I take when packing

            A tarp I’m going to try to make into a horse blanket    (This is an ultralight  backpacking tarp from

           waterproof and other fabrics (including reflecting fabric)

Webbing to make tree savers

Riding Emergency Gear and First Aid Kit I carry

Night latch

I’m adding to this list regularly, so check the MR BCHU newsletter archive for other horse trail articles.

Bear Spray Works

Fitting an English Saddle.  HERE is video 1 of 9.  Follow youtube for the rest of the videos in this series.

Fitting a Western Saddle.

Equestrian history

Horse Links (Free Online Horse Magazines)

I’ve often found good training videos, first aid information, etc. in online horse magazines and sites.  Here are a few of them.  As with all free horse advice, remember it is worth what you paid for it!  Use your own thought and judgment about each topic to make the right decision for you and your horse.   These are commercial magazines (they are selling things), but they have not been pestering me with emails, and I often enjoy their educational pieces (and yes, I sometimes buy things too).

Horse Link (my favorite)

MyHorse Daily

Hitch Up Magazine (horse trailer tips, trailer loading, and trailer safety)

Clinton Anderson

Stacy Westfall (join as a member to see training videos)

My favorite video

Rocky Mountain Rider

Horse and Rider

Utah Horse Council

Back Country Horsemen of Utah

eXtension Horse Quest

Trailmeister — Horseback riding and camping guide, gear reviews, and more.  Trailmeister Webpage

The Horse