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Island in the Sky trail ride set for August on Grand Mesa

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Photo submitted Juleen Feazell and SAS's Smokey Annie Oakley are pictured having fun during a NATRC trail ride. The Grand Mesa will be the setting for a NATRC trail ride during the first weekend of August.

The Women's Surface Creek Saddle Club, from Cedaredge, is once again hosting Island In The Sky, a competitive trail ride on the Grand Mesa. This year's event will take place Friday, Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 5-7 on the Lands End side of the Grand Mesa.

If you want to beat the heat in the valley and enjoy your favorite equine trail companions, come join us. The wild flowers are incredible this year and most of the bugs will be gone by the first weekend in August.

This event is sanctioned by the North American Trail Riders Conference (NATRC). NATRC, the United States' oldest and largest long distance competitive trail ride organization, is open to all equine breeds and disciplines. The horses are judged separately from the riders. The Grand Mesa event will include a veterinarian judge, Dr. Carol Ormond from Orinda, California. Dr. Ormond will be checking the conditioning, soundness and manners of the horses in an effort to determine who has the best conditioned trail horse. Jerry Sims from Farmington, New Mexico, will be the horsemanship judge. His job will be to set up natural obstacles along the trail to see who is the most skilled horseman or horsewomen.

This event normally attracts between 50 and 60 competitors from New Mexico, Kansas, Nebraska, Arizona, Texas and all over Colorado. This trail ride will offer challenging and educational experiences designed to strengthen horse and rider partnerships.

Island In The Sky is normally a two-day event with the Open horses covering 30 miles each day. Novice and Competitive Pleasure competitors travel less than 20 miles each day. New for 2016 will also be a one-day ride on Saturday. This ride is to encourage new riders to try a NATRC Competitive Trail Ride. The one-day ride will transverse an 18-mile well marked route. Riders will be able to stop and rest at the two pulse and respiration checks and a lunch out on the trail on Saturday. The ride encourages junior riders and families.

Thanks to some generous donations by local merchants in Delta and Mesa counties, this year's entry fee will include all the meals from Friday evening through Sunday lunch. Chuck Smith from Farmington, New Mexico, will be cooking some fabulous meals with a southwest flavor, including authentic Navajo tacos and homemade green chili. Members of The Women's Surface Creek Saddle Club will be baking cookies, and hopefully some peach pies. There will be a happy hour on Friday night hosted by Lin and Jim Ward from Westcliff. Saturday evening there will be a Texas Loves Colorado party sponsored by some folks from Denton, Texas, who had attended similar NATRC events in Colorado.

The club also secured some very nice prizes again from generous local merchants and will be awarding from first place to sixth place in multiple divisions and classes. While organizers can't guarantee you and your horse will win a blue ribbon, they are fairly certain one of you will take home a prize. Where else can you go camping with your horse, have your horse checked numerous times throughout the weekend by a world class veterinarian, eat some great food and meet some new fun loving like-minded horse folks?

Please come and join The Women's Surface Creek Saddle Club and bring a sense of fun and adventure. If you would like to learn more about Island In The Sky or how to sign up, please contact Juleen Feazell at (970) 985-1182 or email GJfeazell@tds.net.

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Surface Creek
Tags: 
Cedaredge, Clubs, event, Grand Mesa, Island in the Sky, Women's Surface Creek Saddle Club
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