I’ve been riding horses since I was 10 years old. Someone watching me corral a horse once told me that I could dance with horses — I have horse instinct. I’ve ridden day and night, with a saddle or bareback, but the horseback riding trip I’ll never forget is my 100-mile trail ride.
Years ago, my father bought a ranch about an hour’s drive north of Houston, Texas.
A short time later, I decided I wanted to take a horseback ride from the Austin area to Houston—about 200 miles.
Just a day or so before my horseback riding vacation was to begin, my father bought a new horse from a man he knew. I hadn’t met the horse until the day she and I left on our adventure. I had been told putting the bridle on her was the hard part—she was sensitive around the ears. When I went to put the bridle on, she reared up and lifted me off the ground! After the bridle was in place, she was one of the smoothest riding horses I’ve ever ridden.
She and I started at sun up the first day, in a town called Mustang Ridge—just south of Austin—and followed Interstate 130 to a town called Lockhart. From there, we took Texas Route 183 to Luling before we hopping onto I-10, which we took all the way into Houston.
We stayed on major roads because there were chuck wagons on the trail rides with us. We also had local law enforcement agents on motorcycles as escorts. I do recommend traveling in a group. I started out on my own, but one always makes friends along the way.
The other trail riders and I got to know each other well. At the end of each 50 mile day, we took care of our horses first—unsaddling, brushing and feeding—no matter how tired we were. Then we could take care of ourselves.
We camped at different camping areas set up especially for trail riders like us. The trip cost about $350. Wherever we stopped for the night, there was always a fun bar with a band where we could go and dance. The next morning before the sun came up, we saddled our horses and did the same thing again. It was exhausting, but I was young and it was fun.
This trip was during the month of February, when it was still very cold. It rained for a while, and I remember that icicles started to hang from my hat. If you’re making this trip, be sure to wear the right clothes for the season, making sure to carry a change or two of clothing.
At the end of the trail ride, we stopped in Houston’s Memorial Park. The next day all of the riders from various other trail rides got in a very long line and were part of the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo parade in downtown Houston. With a big crowd watching, of course we showed off. We did some crazy things on horseback! It was the perfect end to a wonderful trip.
This is a guest post by Ronnie Bermann. Ronnie has traveled extensively, experiencing many cultures, sites and events around the world; his adventures are chronicled in his new book, “Gullible Travels.”