Top Trail Groups
It's January! Time to start a fresh new year and re-set the leaderboards for MFTHBA's Fox Trot America group, American Paso Fino Horse Association's Miles of Smiles Trail Program group, MOTDRA's Top Trail Challenge group, Women On The Edge Trail Riders Association group. If you are a member in good standing AND a premium Top Trail member, you are eligible to join these groups. To join the group you must click the "JOIN GROUP" button at the bottom of the main group page.
Also, if you're joining the MFTHBA or PSFHA group, enter your horse(s) association registry number on their page (click horse name, click "preferences" > select "Registration Agency" from pulldown > enter your horse(s) unique registration # in Registration No. box)
Top Trail Rider Sponsor
Trails have been explored, recorded, and logged for 2017 and after 365 days to ride, Robin and Beau come out on top of more than 3000 riders and 2470 horses registered on the Open Trail website (www.opentrail.us).
Robin logged 2350 miles and 2053 of those miles were recorded with her mule, the increasingly famous and truly handsome—Beau.
"Life, is a trail that moves too fast, and Beau slows me down and reminds me that the journey should be enjoyed..."
Robin and Beau live and ride in Montana so 2350 miles in one year is quite impressive if you consider how long winter can last in that part of the country! Throughout the year they have also, as can be expected, won several Top Trail Rider and Top Trail Horse honors as well. They get out there and ride and win! Robin is a fantastic ambassador for Top Trail Horse, she represents the spirit of the Top Trail Rider perfectly. She rides—a lot— but not at the expense of her mount. Beau experienced an injury that required rest and healing early in the year and due to for her diligent care of, excellent horsemanship, and close relationship with Beau they were able to get back on the trail a couple months down the road.
We asked Robin to reflect on 2017:
"2017 started out on a rough note, with Beau sustaining a minor injury that put him on stall rest for most of February and on limited use in March. He incurred a minor suspensory branch injury. Fortunately, I always check him (head to tail) before, and after each ride for heat, cuts or swelling. Getting him on NSAIDS, in compression wraps and limiting his mobility – immediately - made all the difference. During his follow-up exam, our vet, once again, examined his leg using ultrasound. There was no indication of injury, and she was confident he would pass any “pre-purchase” exam. Of course, he will never be for sale. During Beau’s off-time, I was able to log just shy of 300 miles, on several of my riding buddy’s horses. Mostly on Mr. Ed, who won Top Trail Horse for February. Beau recovered, and we moved on. This past year, Beau logged 2,053 miles on Top Trail; and I logged 2,350 miles. I spent 835 hours in the saddle, over the course of 181 rides. Fifty-seven percent of my miles were solo. Beau logged over 4,400 miles in his trailer, riding to the trailheads and back! Our longest ride was on November 28th. We logged just over 30 miles and had a blast. Best road ride ever!
I checked several trails off of my “have-to-ride” list. One of those rides was the most physically challenging I have ever encountered. Tasha and her mule, joined Beau and I on a trail ride we had been planning for, both physically and mentally, for over a year. We climbed 3,570’ to an elevation just over 9,200’. The terrain was so steep the mules were often on their knuckles. The trail, while still on the maps, was mostly non-existent, having been abandoned decades ago, and even then it was not complete. It took us 10 ½ hours to travel 16.4 miles, averaging just 1.6 mph. I cannot describe how good a cold beer tasted when we finally got back to our camp! We will relish the memory of that trail, for the rest of our lives.
The 2nd “check-off” trail, took Jody and I from Lake Fork, over Sundance Pass, to West Fork. While this trail is rated “difficult,” it is fairly safe if you take it slow and have a steady steed and do not fear heights. The elevation gain was just under 4,000’, topping out at 11,062’. The switchbacks weren’t too difficult on the Lake Fork side of the mountain. On top the view of Castle and Whitetail Mountains and Silt Lakes, took my breath away. It was absolutely stunning. At the time we didn’t know the names of the two small lakes on the West Fork side, so we affectionately called them Jody & Robin. We descended 1,500’ with 57 switchbacks on footing that ranged from sand, to sharp rocks and silt, with narrow switchbacks. Fortunately, we only met two hikers on the descent - meeting livestock would have been challenging. That ride encompassed so many happy, memorable moments. I am looking forward to riding that trail again.
Life, is a trail that moves too fast, and Beau slows me down and reminds me that the journey should be enjoyed, as it does have an end. I will be 60 years old this year, but don’t feel a day over 15, as long as I keep moving. I am fortunate that I work for myself, from home; so I can pick and choose when to ride and when to work. I generally work early in the day, late in the day, or when we are experiencing inclement weather.
Top Trail, it’s administrators, sponsors and members are bar-none! I have met so many wonderful, like-minded human-beings. I feel like I know everyone’s steeds, as you share their stories so willingly and well. You guys keep me going. I have no doubts that several of you will continue to push me. I thank you for that. I too celebrate in each and every one of your accomplishments, as we are so blessed to share the trail with our beloved steeds. It is an honor to end the year as “Top Trail Rider”, and for Beau to achieve “Top Trail Horse.” I am very humbled. Ride on!"
Robin has won a $175 prize voucher from long time Top Trail Rider sponsor, SpecTACKular Tack and Top Trail created a limited edition "Go Anywhere, Ride A Mule" tee or hoodie with Beau's image from Robin Ridge.
Robin Morris and Beau Crowned Top Trail Horse and Rider 2017