How did a Kansas farm girl end up all the way out in California, riding a horse 100 miles in the mountains? There is a process, and a history behind it. No matter what journey you take, it all begins with small steps and has a place of beginning.
All addictions, likewise, have their first taste, and mine was as a little girl on the back of my dad’s horse, Noser. Dad would take me riding through our family fields and with him in parades in the few moments of free time he had from farming and work off of the farm. Had we been able to afford to keep Noser, undoubtedly I would have been living my life on the back of a horse. Turns out that I would have to wait until I graduated from nursing school to resample that flavor of addiction. I found a stable near where I lived. Over the course of taking lessons until the time that I owned my first horse, I met my friend Jackie who gave me that next bite of horsemanship on which I have become hooked–distance riding.
It was also Jackie that introduced me to this strange word, by way of competing twice–Jackie brought to me this magical word that would consume me in the past few months–“Tevis”.
Each year up to 250 horse and rider teams are allowed to compete in the Western States Trail Ride, a ride that started 62 years ago. The ride itself was founded on a challenge noted in a horse magazine by a man named Wendell Robie–it took place on a trail rediscovered around 1929. The historic trail, the Western States Trail, was used by miners as a means of commerce, trade and survival during gold and silver mining in the 1850s–it was restored at that time by Robert Montgomery Watson and his fellow history loving, horseback riding friends. Of the competitors over the years, on average 54% of horse and rider teams complete. This year 92 of the 174 horses vetted in at McCann stadium in Auburn, right about on par with the average completion: 52.8%.
They say those who compete, especially those who finish–once they have a taste of Tevis, they hunger for more. A craving, once met on the lips, that will only be satisfied with further morsel.