Last week I headed to Montana for the lovely opportunity to ride with Ben Masters, the team leader of Unbranded.
We took two of his mustangs south of Bozeman into the Gallatin National Forest for a beautiful ride through the season’s first several inches of snow.
I rode Dinosaur, a palomino gelding from Utah. Masters rode Chief, a good-looking grey gelding.
We climbed from about 6,000 feet elevation at the trail head to 7,000 feet on snowy paths abutting Ted Turner’s massive Flying D Ranch. (The Flying D covers over 113,000 acres. All told, Turner owns over two million acres, making him the second largest individual landowner in North America.)
Did I mention a fear of heights?
At times, the trail left little room for error. But I knew better than to try to guide Dino. In fact, he did just fine with little or no rein contact. Sketchy bridges, sheer drop-offs, icy spots. He did marvelously on all.
Sure-footed, for sure. And in impressive condition, even after several weeks off. We climbed for more than an hour, never stopping. Dino wasn’t even breathing hard.
For these guys, the day was inconsequential, compared to what the two horses and one Texan have seen this year.
But the ride and the good company were quite a treat for me.