Ride Report - Broken Arrow Horse Camp,SD
by Mo Zeimet, New Prague, MN
In June, nine of us met up at Broken Arrow Horse Camp near Custer, SD. The trip took between 11-12 hours from New Prague, Minnesota, averaging 65mph. I had cell phone service the entire way including at the camp ground. The price of gasoline was basically the same throughout the trip. Of course, we all talked gas mileage when we first got there, but its worth was soon realized when we hit the trails!
Pulling into Broken Arrow Horse Camp, I first thought it looked a little too close quarters for my Minnesota/ personal space issues - neighbors right next to me!! When I walked in the office to check in and the lay of the land was explained to me, I soon realized that the owners of this horse camp, Geri and Larry Gustafson, had done their homework. I was in the midst of a slick operation! I was instructed to pull up to the horse area where I was greeted with help to unload my horse who was shown over to a large paddock for her to stretch out and roll if she like, while Larry helped me clean out my trailer, then showed me the horse accommodations. There were two large pole buildings with corrals in each. The pole buildings were airy, with a roof overhead but no sidewalls. Water hoses reached the corrals easily. There were more corrals next to the pole barns that were surrounded by tall pine trees that shaded the horses and gave them some protection from the rain. They had wheel barrows and forks for cleaning corrals and Larry emptied the manure bunk at least once a day. Cleaning was easy as everything was close by and horses could be put in one of three outdoor paddocks while getting the job done. These paddocks could also be used after riding for letting your horse cool down or roll.
The trails leaving Broken Arrow were beautiful. The area is heavily forested so the smell of pine is with you while you ride. Broken Arrow made their own set of trail maps that could be purchased. The trails are marked but I think it is a good idea to bring a compass to help decide directions. It is a large forest and riders do need to familiarize themselves with the maps before heading out. Larry and Geri know all of the trails and can talk you through before hand. There are rides that leave you awe-struck, like the ride to "Heaven" (we made it to Heaven!) or the ride to Cicero's Peak, where you can see all the way to the Badlands. A really fun adventure is riding to Custer State Park and having lunch at Blue Bell Lodge. This ride takes the day but it allows the excuse of giving the horses a day of rest afterward to go site seeing! There are a lot of great shops in Custer. Hill City is about 30 minutes away for more shopping and site seeing.
Back to the price of gasoline and the mileage we get hauling our horses such a distance...the experience of traveling out of your comfort zone with your horse - your vet, trainer, and farrier are no where nearby for advice or help, you are riding unfamiliar ground, housing your horse with all new neighbors, you are solely responsible for the daily feeding and cleaning of your horse, is a special experience. You will come home with not only stories to tell, but a closer bond with your horse. Hopefully you will have learned more about yourself and horse. It is a trip of a lifetime and a trip well worth the price of gasoline.
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