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2011 Owyhee Fandango
Images by Merri Melde

2011 Owyhee Fandango
Images by Merri Melde

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Cheap Thrills No Frills I & II
Owyhee Trail & Endurance Ride
Saturday June 25 & Sunday June 26

Photos by Merri Melde

Vet In Day - Friday

Day 2 - Booby Rock

Day 3 - Way Upper Hart Creek

Steve Bradley's great photos here!

Cheap Thrills No Frills Day 2: It's Good Fun

This is what I love about endurance riding in this country:

it's fun.

The Owyhee Cheap Thrills No Frills endurance ride proves my point.

You can name a trail the Booby Rock Trail. Could you do this in an FEI ride in France or the UAE? I don't think so.

You can follow your long shadows to the Owyhee mountains and back in a day.

You can race the 50 miles if you have those competitive bones in your body; you can win and tie with three old endurance friends (and get a pair of cool sunglasses for your award), like Bill and Sue and Lee.

You can ride slow and finish last or close to it every ride - and not only get the occasional really cool Turtle Award for doing so, but you might have a 5000+ mile horse that you hope to do 10,000 miles on, like Carla and the Khid, who came from Colorado to do the two days.


Cheap Thrills No Frills Day 1

photo by Steve Bradley!

Saturday June 25 2011

Top photo - Me and Jose: another completion, and 990 miles together! Still holding our breath for our ride tomorrow.

Booby Rock!

So much water in the desert!

Great Owyhee skies...


Ready For Some Cheap Thrills

Friday June 24 2011

A decent little group turned up for this weekend's Cheap Thrills No Frills endurance ride; tomorrow there are about 35 riders in the 50, 8 in the 25, and a couple of trail riders.

It feels like a family affair again, just a bunch of friends with a common obsession getting together to have a trail ride - a long trail ride for a long weekend. Our friend Sue from Utah finally made it, after two years of attempting to get here, and having truck troubles and broken hand problems. Carla and the Khid are here from Colorado. Estelle is here from South Africa! (Though she's been living in Idaho the last year, she still gets the Farthest Traveller Award.)

The humans may get No Frills here, but the horses are in heaven with the special grass pasture Steph grew and opened for grazing. We call it our little Sierra del Rio pasture, in honor of the Sierra del Rio Ranch on the Oregon Trail that lets us use their ranch and grass pasture for our out vet checks on our May ride.


The Things We Do For Love

Saturday June 18 2011

With the 2-day Owyhee Cheap Thrills endurance ride coming up next weekend, people have been asking about the trails. "Will there be new trails? I don't like to ride the same trails every time." "Will the trails be the same? My horse likes trails he's familiar with." "Will it be rocky?" (Hello, this is southern Idaho with mountains and beautiful rock canyons!) "Will there be a lot of sand?" "Will it be flat?"

I expect that a number of people who have not put on an endurance ride are unaware of the time, thoughts, ATVing, riding, hiking, marking, unmarking, re-marking, re-thinking, agonizing, and more, that go into putting on a 2-day 12, 25, and 50-mile trail and endurance ride. Do you go for easy trails? Beautiful trails? Challenging trails? Stay up near the mountains where it will be cooler and we don't have to haul water? How many loops, how many miles, and where are the vet checks and where is the best place and timing for the veterinarians?

Steph could make it easy on herself and just mark the usual near and pretty trails with all the vet checks in camp, but she is always driven to find new trails and show off more of the spectacular Owyhee country, so she's spent the last 2 weeks scouting new and less-used trail. The prettiest one that we couldn't use in May because of high water in Alder Creek, we can't use now because the cows are late moving up into the mountains and the owner doesn't want us riding through all the cows (with a potential of left-open gates). A shame because the fields of purple and white lupine are lush and stunning right now. Beautiful Sinker Canyon was another possibility, but the water in the creek is too high. Who would have thunk it - too much water in the desert!


Ride scenic and well-marked trails from our ranch outside of Oreana in Owyhee County. 10, 15, 25 and 50 mile trails will be flagged. Lots of variety, and great scenery. The creeks are flowing and grass and wildflowers abound. Ride sand washes or rim trails with great vistas. Ride through canyons and old homesteads – this is beautiful country, and a great time to be out there riding!

Plenty of camping space. Water for horses and people, hot showers in the barn, big grassy shaded yard with tables and chairs for hanging out. We'll host potluck dinners both evenings. Gas grill available.