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News.bytesNews.bytes Extra, issue 303

Enduring ride

Endurance riders, a tough and hardy group of equestrians, found just the place to put themselves and their mounts to the test recently, when the Spanish Springs Express Endurance Ride was held in the rugged public land mountains of eastern Lassen County.

The ride, sanctioned by the American Endurance Ride Council, attracted 46 riders and a variety of horse breeds including a mustang cross. Riders competed in two days of events, including a 100-mile ride spread over two days.

Below, the sunrise over the high desert cast a golden glow through the dust kicked up by a group of riders heading out on the first to two 50-mile competition days. Later in the ride, a group of riders fell into a single file line as they ascended a trail, second photo below.

Riders set out at sunrise
On the trail

Riders coaxed their horses through a rocky and primitive landscape, below.
 A horse and rider climb a rocky, brush-strewn trail up a long hill

With no power lines, roads or fences in sight for many miles, riders experienced a setting that has changed little since the emigrants of the 1800s passed through this area enroute to the gold fields of the Sacramento Valley. The route of the Nobles Emigrant Trail crosses the terrain covered in the endurance ride.

The endurance ride attracted equestrians from many areas, including "hometown" entrants from Lassen County. A notable local competitor was Dr. Rosalee Bradley, below, a member of the BLM's Northeast California Resource Advisory Council.

Lassen County competitor Dr. Rosalee Bradley stands next to her horse in the dark morning

The ride was organized by Diane and Jerry Fruth of Illinois and Dr. Phil Ottinger of the Santa Cruz area. They selected the region and the route to give the competitors a chance to ride through wild horse country and to learn more about the BLM's wild horse and burro program. Parts of the course traversed the Twin Peaks Herd Management Area and utilized the BLM's wild horse and burro corrals at Litchfield.

Photos are by Stan Bales of BLM's Eagle Lake Field Office. (He was up very early to catch that beautiful sunrise shot.)

- BLM California News.bytes, issue 303

Last updated: 10-17-2007