It’s about that time… the days are getting shorter, the leaves are starting to turn and there is an undeniable coolness about the morning despite having beautiful warm weather during the day. Yes, it means fall and unfortunately winter hot on its heels, but it also means it’s time for the annual Owyhee Canyonlands! Five whole days of endurance rides through the desert. This is my absolute favorite ride. I love the relaxed atmosphere, the camaraderie of everyone involved, riding through the beautiful desert and seeing things other people just don’t get to see.

My girl. Love that Face.

I go to this ride every year with the hope of riding as many days as I can. Last year I went hoping to get one or two days in, and ended up riding four. It was my first rides with my new horse, and we were a fast team. We have come so far, both individually and as a team. I adore her, and she works for me. We will ride our own ride, as many times over as we can. Might be one, could be five, just being there is a privilege!

Now preparing for five days alone is a feat in and of itself, let alone preparing to camp for five days, with a horse, and a husband, and an ungodly number of dogs- four to be exact. Yes, I am crazy, but I really love rescuing these guys! I plan my trimming to be a couple weeks out from a ride, specifically such a rocky ride as this. Her feet look gorgeous and she’s been going beautifully without boots. I’ll be gluing on the Sunday before the ride, and if all goes well, she’ll have her boots on until the following Sunday when we come home.

The “big dogs” waiting patiently for their dad to take them on their nightly run after all the hustle of the day. Both were rescues!

This will be my third year riding this ride barefoot. It is a rocky ride and hoof protection is definitely needed for most of the days. Last year I did four days with my trusty Easyboot Glue-Ons. As Replika was still transitioning to barefoot, we went slow and certainly took care over the rocks. This year is a bit different as she has been going comfortably barefoot and now has beautiful feet! I will always be cautious over the rocks, but I anticipate her being less careful than she was last year because she feels so dang good!

Replika and me on day three of Canyonlands 2009. Steve Bradley Photography.

So wish us luck and I’ll be reporting back in two weeks unless I have a few minutes to update next week. Did I mention this ride camp (Steph Teeter’s place) rocks?!?! Catered dinner every night, tables and chairs, internet service and HAPPY HOUR!! What more could a girl want?!?!

I hope everyone gets out there and enjoys this gorgeous weather!

~ Amanda Washington
SW Idaho