Roses changing to hearts

Board Meets: 5:30 p.m. monthly on the third Wednesday. This month February 15th.

President: Marcia Gray, 443-2679

Vice-President (open)
Secretary: Kate Hollandsworth, 492-7206
Treasurer: Sheri Onstott, 431-1014


Trail Rides: Cassy Lynn

Building/ Maintenance: Bill Gray, 443-2679

Historian: Shirley Herrin, 442-8858

O-Mok-See: Keith Herrin, 461-3614

Public Relations/Social (Combined this year): Carol Ham, 458-9779

Director Representatives: Vicky Blixt, Montana Saddle Club Assoc, 202-2355,

Odd numbered months will have a membership and board meeting. Even numbered months we will have an activity and board meeting.
February – Let’s try elections again!

From our President --- Marcia Gray

Dear Helena Trail Riders, We have made history. What if an election was scheduled and there were not enough voters? Would it still be called an election? In our case, no.

For the first time in the Helena Trail Rider’s almost 80 year history, we had to postpone the election of officers. So, please put the date -- February 15th, 6:30 p.m., HTR Clubhouse -- on your calendar. The board of directors meet at 5:30, and anyone is welcome to attend. We will have elections and possibly a program. Remember, dues need to be paid before voting. Members 12 years old and older may vote.

We are in need of a Vice President, and two to three directors, depending on whether someone wants to re-run. This is your club. The directors do their best to carry out the wishes of the membership. They appreciate all the help they can get.

We had a warm thank-you from our Salvation Army adopted family. It reads

“Dear Helena Trail Riders –
Thank-you for adopting me and my children for Christmas this year. I greatly appreciate our gifts. Thanks, Your Christmas adopted family. Mom, Baby boy, Baby girl.”

This is one of the many ways HTR acts as a service club.

It is not too early to begin thinking about this year’s Stampede and Fair July 26-29. We need to notify the Fairgrounds of our intent to take gate receipts by March 1. Since this is our only fund raiser, please think about signing up for a couple of shifts when the schedule comes out.

Valentine horse

When our building is being used by other clubs, the by-laws state we must have a Helena Trail Rider in attendance. The High School Rodeo club has monthly meetings and 4-H once in awhile, with some other one time only borrowers. If you could help out sometime please contact anyone on the board to volunteer. We could spread out the number of trips to town and all the responsibility wouldn’t fall just on a few.

Keep your eye open for an electric range or stove with an oven. We need it in good to excellent condition to replace the nice but nonfunctioning one in the kitchen. Christmas dinner is a lot easier to cook with two ovens.

The ice is treacherous for both two-legged or four-legged critters. Be careful on your way to and from the barn or pasture and the icy walkways. I needed the full moon and sparkling stars on a clear night to remind me why I like living in Montana, even with all the icy roads.

Remember- please plan to attend the next meeting on February 15, 6:30 p.m., at the Helena Trail Rider Clubhouse. Marcia Gray, President

Trail Rides, Cassy Lynn

No current rides scheduled. If you have questions please contact Cassy at her e-mail address,
Horse and rider in the snow


Club Contacts:

Helena Trail Riders- Vickie Blixt 442-1717

Gone with the Wind – Peggy Huntington 459-2161

Western Patriots- Patsy Althof 439-8916

Helena Valley Blues – Moriah Parker 202-5729

Remember: West Arena Schedule is (exclusive use) every Tuesday and Thursday and the first Friday of the month. Don’t forget to check on all Helena Trail Riders information posted to the website (including past copies of Pony Tales). Suggestions or corrections to Cheryl Bryant

Join us on facebook!

Remember, the facebook page is not the website.
Valentine verse

Anyone with suggestions for programs or activities, please come to a meeting and share, or let a board of directors member know what you would like to see or hear about.

Any member can contribute to the Pony Tales. For sale or wanted items and articles must be to Sharon by the 10th of each month.

It is important that no Helena Trail Rider member is left out of the loop because he/she doesn’t have the latest social communication device. Please let us know of any member who is not receiving the newsletter either via e-mail or by snail-mail. Send items you wish included in the newsletter to

valentine eating candy

Horse named Valentine is left behind, survives six weeks in Wyoming wilderness

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS, Thursday, January 26, 2017, 8:23 AM CHEYENNE, Wyo.

On a 16-mile trek off a mountain, a young horse lay down — she could not go another step. The mare looked deathly ill to the men leading a train of horses out of a base camp for hunting and fishing excursions.

In a race against the weather last fall, they left behind the horse they named Valentine to get the rest of the animals down. When they went back for her the next day, she had vanished into the vast Wyoming wilderness.

Six weeks later, a worker spotted the 6-year-old mare, and her owners helped guide the healthy horse out through a storm and deep December snow. Not only is this grizzly bear country, a domesticated animal like Valentine had to find food and survive the harsh winter conditions.

She didn’t even need veterinary care. But when the story spread last week in the horse-loving resort region of Jackson Hole, it unleashed a fervent debate among residents over whether the outfitting company did the right thing in leaving the horse, did all it could to find her or should have put her down to spare her suffering.

It has culminated in a state criminal investigation that aims to find out if the outfitter’s actions were cruel or helped lead to what some call the miraculous survival of an animal that’s iconic in the American West.

B.J. Hill, who owns Swift Creek Outfitters and the horse, said he has received angry phone calls from across the country.

“People are so quick to judge,” Hill said in a telephone interview from his ranch. “Who knows what’s going to happen. It’s not over with yet. We’re just trying to survive the moment that our horse is home.”

Hill, who owns 125 horses, said Valentine is doing well and is happy. It’s unclear why she got sick. But she survived on grass until the snow came, when she would paw at the powder to get the food underneath.

Jackson resident Joan Anzelmo, who used to own horses and rode when she was young, is among those raising questions about why Valentine was left behind and whether enough was done to find her.

“I’m a horse person, and I just despair at the thought of that animal being left out in the deep backcountry with all the risks that occur for people or for animals and in one of the toughest winters that we’ve had,” Anzelmo said. “So, clearly, this 6-year-old mare was able to survive, and for most of us, we consider it a miracle.”

It is considered humane to put down a horse that is severely injured or disabled by old age. Anzelmo and others say it would have been better to put down Valentine than let her suffer alone.

Hill said the wranglers did not have firearms, but even if they did, he didn’t see the sense of shooting a young horse and giving it no chance to survive.

Valentine being led out by snowmobile Valentine at the trailer

(AP)Photo by US Forest Service 12/16 for publicity distribution.

“She was down, but she’s too nice of a mare to go shoot for God’s sake,” he said. “She did what we figured.” Anzelmo said it is not the first choice but leaving it alone was not acceptable.

Hill, who was not on the trip, said most people don’t know the whole story. He said his son went up a day later and found her gone. He said perhaps the horse left the trail to get water. Maybe she was spooked by a grizzly bear.

Attempts to find her over the next few weeks proved fruitless, Hill said. Inevitably, the harsh winter arrived, and snow piled up by the foot.

In mid-December, a worker grooming snow trails in the Bridger-Teton National Forest spotted Valentine and called the U.S. Forest Service. Hill said he, his son and a Forest Service employee worked for about nine hours to get the mare back home, leading it out of the wild by a snowmobile.

“She was quite a ways from where she went down,” Hill said. “She went way down country.”

The Wyoming Board of Livestock is leading the investigation into what happened, including the reason the wranglers left her. Senior criminal investigator Ken Richardson said it will take about two weeks to complete the review, which will be given to prosecutors for a decision on charges.

Richardson said his agency has not uncovered previous criminal wrongdoing by Swift Creek Outfitters.

The company’s annual permit review has consistently attained the highest rankings, which include treatment of horses, Bridger-Teton Forest district ranger Todd Stiles said.

Horse and pink valentines

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