Crawford, Nebraska

September 7 – 11, 2009


by Redhorse


            Through the efforts of Cindy Grier, Managing Director of APHA Recreational Riding, and the entire staff at Fort Robinson State Park, this was one of the best organized and memorable trailrides this, and probably the other 80+ riders, have participated in.  Riders from Nebraska, Arkansas, Colorado, Nevada, Texas, Idaho, New Mexico, Missouri, Wyoming, Kansas, South Carolina, California and Maryland (yes, Maryland!) were there. We hope the thousands of miles home were as safe as this ride went for all.

            This writer was one of the “newbies” on the ride.  I arrived a few days early to take in this vibrant “living” museum of historical frontier life.  Sights I took in were the Toadstool Park, the Hudson-Meng Bison Bonebed, a delightful 'spur of the moment' visit with local Jerald Wallace and his farm full of antique vehicles and tractors, the Town of Crawford and the interesting people that live there.

A group of early arrivals were led on a warm up ride on Friday before the ride began into the “Red Cloud Buttes”. There were just over a dozen of us, and it gave us an idea of what the riding would be like.  (I’d thought the new Alpaca girt was going to be great…..NOT.)

            Every day was full of action from the early big breakfasts to appetizing suppers. Once you’ve eaten buffalo prepared by the chefs at Ft. Rob, you’ll discover the best hidden talent at the Fort! You’ll wager it was mouth-watering homestyle pot-roast or filet mignon…and loose.   Tasty lunches greeted the riders out on the trail each day. How “Skinny” got to some of these “picnic” spots is still puzzling! There were Clinics for beginners and advanced riders conducted by Arvell Bass of Mountain Home, AR. Arvell also served as Safety Rider and after his horse demonstrated how to fly over one of the creeks, they assisted others in doing the same!

A great tour was conducted by Thomas Buecker. He is the Fort Robinson Museum Curator, as well as noted author of books about the Fort. Mr. Buecker is a walking talking history class of not only Ft. Rob, but across the nation; probably world. He pointed out to yours truly that the Fort D. A. Russell in Marfa, TX was actually the second to the one in Wyoming. Pictures in the following galleries will show the thousands of horse shoes, harnessing and other leather tack that are still housed at the Fort. A lot of the equine hospital is still intact as is a reproduction of the barracks.

The trails were scenic and in some places challenging. The staff Wranglers were always among the riders and when the situation called for assistance, they were there. The smiling faces of the staff became very common….they were cooking & serving breakfast, on the trail with us all day, cooking & serving supper, participating in the rodeo, clinics and even cooking and serving at the closing banquet! I challenge anyone to find a nicer or more dedicated hard working group of folks anywhere.



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