Woman riding a horse

Board Meets: 5:30 p.m. monthly on the third Wednesday (June meeting at 5:00 pm)

General Meeting follows at 6:30 p.m. on odd months only.

June activity will be our annual ice cream social on June 17th at 6:00 pm, at the clubhouse.


From our President ---Happy June to you all …

On May 16th the Helena Trail Riders performed an O-Mok-See demonstration at the Equine Expo. Thanks to our riders: Candy, Sherri, Kimberly, Madison, Alexis, and Ariel. Vicki did a great job of organizing us all … I believe that it went over pretty well. Unfortunately we were first thing in the morning and there were not that many spectators, but there were a few.

For those of you who attended the Horse Show on May 30th, thank you for coming out. Thanks to everyone who helped make this happen…we could not have pulled this off without you. The weather actually held out for most of the day. We did have one class in which the riders got a pretty good shower, but thankfully it was short lived. I do believe there was a run on coffee from the concession stand after though. We also had a little PA system trouble, but we got around that too with the assistance of Gerry Kercher who brought us a karaoke machine to use. Beth Steel did a fantastic job judging . . . talking to every rider after every class. I have not got pictures yet, but from what I understand Derek Amos took over 700 photos during the show. I never did get an accurate count, but I believe we had over 25 riders competing. I was very pleased with how the day went…

This month is an activity month. We will be having our annual ice cream social on June 17th at 6:00 pm. This is a half an hour earlier than our meeting time, so make sure to mark it on your calendars or iPhone or wherever you keep your notes. If you would like to bring homemade ice cream to share with fellow members, please do so. Otherwise the club will have vanilla ice cream with various toppings available.

The Helena Trail Riders Facebook page is now up and running. Please go on there and share photos, trail riding stories, and anything else you feel that our club members would be interested in. Thank you Jessica Erickson for getting us up and running.

Our first trail ride was unfortunately cancelled. Our next trail ride appears on the schedule for June 17th… but as that is the night of our ice cream social it has be rescheduled for Friday JUNE 19TH.

Please make note of this change on your calendars as well. This is the John G Mine Trail Ride. Any questions or concerns please contact the trail director, Jessica Erickson 459-4907.

The Trail Riders will be working the East and West gates for the County Fair again this year which is July 22-25. Please help out by coming down and taking a two hour shift . . . trust me they go pretty fast when you have people there to talk to as well as people driving in. It is not hard and can be downright entertaining at times…

As always please feel free to contact me with any questions, comments, or ideas. 406.492.7066 hmtnavy@blackfoot.net

Vickie Blixt, O Mok See Director

Hi there folks! Gees these months are going just way too fast. It seems as though I just wrote up an article for our Pony Tales and here it is time to give it another go.

On May 30th our club hosted an Invitational Schooling show. I have to be honest, I didn't have a clue as to what goes on at a horse show! But with the patience of Candy Score, I did learn so much. Candy put in a lot of time and effort to make this show a success not only for our club but the people that participated. She deserves many kudos. I would also like to give a big thanks to all of the club members that came out to make sure the day went well. Heather, Kate, Marcia, Julia, Cynthia and Carol. If I've missed anyone I apologize, but that day was a blur for me!

As you can see, it takes more than just one or two of us to make our club activities a success. You don't necessarily have to be up on a horse to benefit the club. So, if you have an extra couple of hours, please consider volunteering to lend a hand.

Remember that the west arena is open for club members on Tuesdays, Thursdays and the first Friday of the month.

Please feel free to email me or give me a call at 442-1717 if you have some input. Until next month, ride safe and have fun! Vickie Blixt, O Mok See Director

Cynthia Warner

Hi all! Hope that you have been able to get some saddle time, in between the rain drops! I have ridden some, though not as much as I would like, but am happy that we will have a good hay crop. Both of my mares have been great, and I look forward to upcoming O-mok-sees, and hours on the trail.

We had a great speaker at our last meeting. Crystal White, an equine nutritionist from CHS gave an interesting talk, and shared pointers on how to achieve optimum health for our four legged friends. The more we know, the further we go, and I for one, want my horses to last for as many years as possible.

I hope that you all are getting a great start to your summer, and I look forward to seeing you soon.

2015 Omoksee Show Dates

May 31st ~Western Patriots Fun Day--Broadwater Country Fairgrounds, Townsend, MT
June 14th ~Whitehall Saddle Club Point Day--Whitehall arena, Whitehall, MT
June 20th ~Helena Valley Blues Saddle Cub Fun Day--Birdseye arena
June 27th ~Helena Valley Blues Saddle Club Point Day--Birdseye arena July 19-25th
~National--Buffalo WY August 2nd
~Western Patriots Point Day--Broadwater Country Fairgrounds, Townsend, MT
August 8th ~Helena Trailer Riders Point Day--Lewis and Clark Fairgrounds, West Arena
August 15th ~Anaconda Saddle Club Point Days--Anaconda Saddle Club Arena
August 22nd ~District Finals--Birdseye arena
September 5&6th ~State Finals--Great Falls Saddle Club Arena, Great Falls
September 12th ~Poker Run--Canyon Creek, MT

Trail Ride Schedule for 2015

June 19th (changed to Friday) John G Mine Trail Ride
June 28th (Sunday) Head Lane Trail Ride
July 11th Upper Clark Fork Back Country Horsemen Annual Poker Ride, Gold Creek, Montana
July 11, Gallatin Valley Back Country Horsemen 28th Annual Poker Ride, Bridger Bowl.
July 18th (Saturday) Cromwell Trail Ride
August 1st (Saturday) Blue Cloud Trail Ride
August 12th (Wednesday) Switchback Trail Ride
Carol Ham Reminders: Board meeting at 5:00 Ice Cream Social at 6:00 on the 17th of June at the building. I will get the ice cream or Vicki will. Feel free to make home made ice cream, and there may be a game.

Marcia Gray Many thanks to Kate and Heather for loaning their trailer, buying the groceries, cooking, and then manning the cash register at our first HTR Schooling Horse Show. Sometimes, when people don't toot their own horn, they need to be recognized by others so we can appreciate what they do.

There were many people in the crows-nest and the arena who made, what I thought, a very successful first showing. If there were any new members of the Back to Earth club, I was not aware of them. There were people of all ages enjoying their horses. Thanks to all those who participated in any way to this enjoyable time.

Sadly, I am announcing the passing of another of our Lifetime foundation members of the Helena Trail Riders. LeRoy Michalson, 93, died May 19th. He and his wife, Minnie Mae, were active Helena Trail Rider members as well as being heavily involved with many other community activities. Their dedication and support will be hard to duplicate. We lose a tremendous amount of history and experience with each passing of these "Old Timers". I bet Skyke, Harold, John, Dale, Lloyd, LeRoy, Ken, Bud, Pat, Keith, King, and several others are gathering for a trail ride in the sky.

We are trying to get a feel for what you would like to see the club doing…so if you have any suggestions for proposed events, please contact:

Heather Hollandsworth
PO Box 14
Elliston, MT 59728
Or to the club at
Helena Trail Riders
PO Box 4801
Helena MT 59604

Miscellaneous upcoming events

***Montana’s Largest Mule & Donkey Show (http://www.montanamuledays.com/) JUNE 12, 13 & 14, 2015 Hamilton Montana at the Ravalli County Fair Grounds. Montana Mule Days is an annual event that is great for all ages, over 100 classes that include log pulling, driving classes, western pleasure, trail classes, team penning, costume class, plus many more -- for both kids and adults. Admission $5/per day or $10/all 3 days (6 and under free).

***Invitational Schooling Show June 13, 2015. Laughing Stock Horses Inc and Johnson and Company. 5783 Lincoln Road. 8:00 am sign in . Riders will accumulate points toward a year end high-point champion buckle and a reserve champion trophy in the six skill categories. For questions call Candy Score, 442-2890. (Stormcloud@aol.com)

***Great Falls All Breed Show (http://www.mshsa.org) August 8, 2015 King's Arena, Great Falls 50 Foothills Lane Great Falls Montana

From the Back Country Horsemen Of Missoula newsletter WEBSITE: www.bchmt.org/wp/Missoula/

Trail Safety and Trail Etiquette

Adapted from: June 2001 Feedbag, “Back Country Horsemen of Montana Defensive Horsemanship,” Paul Evenson’s “Defensive Horse Safety True/False Challenge Quiz” BCH Missoula April 2008 General Meeting, “Horse Safety 4/28/07” by Gary Salisbury and “You and Your Horse”--Wilderness Outfitters, Smoke & Thelma Elser with input from Richard Tamcke.

Travel with experienced horsemen and horsewomen. Make sure your horse is ready for the trail-- physically fit and conditioned to obstacles such as water, bridges, bogs, and gates. Your horse should stand quietly while tied. Condition them to gear such as hobbles, cruppers, britchens, rain slickers, overhead branches and riding alone. Get conditioned for riding yourself. Leave a horse that kicks or a green-broke horse at home until you’ve worked with a trainer enough to take them out.

Leave stallions and dogs at home, unless the group agrees. A cycling mare can stir up other horses on the ride. Be vigilant if there is a stallion, dog or cycling mare in the riding group.

Wearing a helmet is a personal choice, but recommended, especially with a young horse. Carry an emergency medical information card. When saddling up, be aware of loops hanging from your saddle that could trap you to the horse during a mishap. Always fasten the main cinch first (in increments), then the back cinch, then breast collar and then crupper. Remember to check your cinches after taking a break. When unsaddling, unfasten the main cinch last.

Never mount a horse that is still tied up. Horses are always more comfortable and calm if they do not feel trapped.

Don’t be shy about using a mounting block or log or rock to get into the saddle. Once mounted don't start down the trail until everyone is in the saddle. A horse left behind can get extremely nervous making it difficult, if not impossible, for anyone to mount. Wait for all other riders at water crossings or obstacles. Wait at water tanks, streams or ponds until all the horses have had a chance to drink. Stay together.

Stay alert! Remember you are the one with the thinking and reasoning ability. Maintain control of your mount at all times and think about what effect your actions might have on others less experienced that you. Maintain the proper distance between your horse and the one in front of you--two to five horse lengths between horses. Always be aware of your own horse in relation to others. Remember there is no such thing as a bombproof horse. If you can, dismount to put on your raincoat, unfold a map or handing an item to another rider. Even if you don’t spook your own horse, you could spook another horse in the group.

And speaking of dismounting, kick both feet free of the stirrups. That way if your horse moves you won’t get the left foot hung up in the stirrup. Watch that loose garments don’t catch on the saddle horn.

Walk your horse on mountain trails. Don’t gait or trot unless all riders agree. Keep up so you don't find your horse trotting to catch up. If a rider needs to stop, notify the leader. Avoid stopping when going uphill or downhill when there is another rider behind you. The more difficult the terrain, the slower you and your group need to travel and the more room you need to give other horses. Preferably dismount if you must turn your horse around on narrow and/or steep trails. Always turn his head out over the down side so he can see what his feet are doing. Your weight will not be able to throw him off balance this way either.

Give your horse his head in a bad spot and don't be too quick to bail off if he stumbles. This applies particularly to stream crossings, bog holes, etc.

Approach any stock with caution. Let others know you are in the area. Yield to uphill users and pack strings. When approaching bikers or hikers, talk with them so they will hopefully respond. That way the horses can see and hear them. Also, have them stand on the downhill side of the trail so they are less threatening to stock. Be courteous and respectful. ***

Trail Riding with Bees Melinda Codling
animated bee In a group, it’s usually the 3rd or 4th horse that starts getting stung.
If your horse starts to hop or buck, move down the trail as fast as possible. Bees are territorial and will not chase you beyond their territory boundaries.
Wear half chaps, full chaps or tuck your pants inside your jeans during bee season. Jeans over the tops of boots invite bees-up-the-pant-legs. Likewise with loose-fitting shirts.
Check yourself and your horse for bees caught in clothing, mane or tail.
Take an antihistamine such as Benadryl immediately to minimize allergic reactions.

Trail Riding in Burn Areas (This article was added as recent windstorms have increased the numbers of fallen burned and beetle killed trees.) John Favro

Be alert for potential hazards including: falling trees & limbs, especially during periods of wind.
Look for unstable slopes and rolling material like logs and rocks, burned out stump holes, areas that may still be smoldering or burning and bridges or other trail structures that may be damaged. Avoid off-trail use in these areas.
Before you leave, check with your local ranger station or administrator to find out which trails may be closed because of fires.
Take a small crosscut saw and axe with you.
Look for and avoid hazard trees that may still be burning or have burned partially through, and those that are leaning at a precarious angle.
Look up, down and all around as you travel through burned areas.
Check the weather before you leave. Avoid burned areas and areas with high numbers of dead trees if high winds or storms are predicted.


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 2chalkie@gmail.com

Join us on facebook! https://www.facebook.com/helenatrailriders

Wanted/For Sale

From: Perri Knize, pknize@montana.com

If anyone is interested in doing an overnight horse trip, either car camping or horse packing, please call Perri at 406.880.1640 or email pknize@montana.com. I would like to organize a few such trips this summer and fall with HTR members, if there is enough interest.

Also, on a more personal note, I just found out yesterday that I have to find a new boarding situation. The property where my horse is boarded has been sold and she has to be out by July 1. I have excellent references from the barn owner, and I hope you can let HTR members know as soon as possible that I am looking. I’m looking for a private situation where I can pitch in with chores and would be available to do occasional horse sitting, and I’m able to pay a reasonable monthly fee. I’m responsible, reliable, and knowledgeable. I’m certified in Defensive Horse Safety by the USFS and I’m an avid student of Natural Horsemanship. Deva and I mostly trail ride, and I’m actively involved in her care. Deva is a gentle, well-trained Rocky Mountain horse. She gets along well with other horses and is an easy keeper. I’m hoping to board her within 15 minutes of town so I can be with her often. If you also want an in-house trail riding companion, that would be a bonus!

Thanks for your consideration, and please spread the word.

From: Keith Herrin

ISO- Used Round bale feeder for horses Used Stainless Steel pots and serving bowls Used battery tool set (skill saw, recip saw, drill, etc) a couple used light weight panels, like those at state in Townsend. Thanks. Keith Herrin 406-461-3614

Bay horseBay Horse From: Althof, Patsy [mailto:palthof@helenaschools.org] Hey all you horse friend I have friend who is looking to trade or sell his horse. She is a bay, AQHA appendix, age 7. She is just more horse then he would like. He wants a horse that can have time off and you can get on and go for a ride with no problems. So if you have a one that you would like to trade for a young horse let me know. Here are some pictures of her.

From Bev Stiger:

Grey Mare My friend, Bonnie Young, in Wolf Creek, who is “housing” our horses has one for sale. She is going to buy Rocky, but has to sell this one first. He’s a pretty little thing, not too tall, lots of potential for an experienced rider. He’s had lots of training, does things right, but he’s a handful for a woman her age. She’s more comfortable on laid-back old Rocky!

Call or email Bonnie for details. She’ll have pictures. I’m trying to help her get him sold because she is the perfect “fit” for Rocky and I’d like to see her have him permanently. Her contact information: Bonnie Young, 406-431-6693, or byoungwc@aol.com

From: Sharon Hopkins Help! I have too many saddles and too few horses. Looking for new homes for a couple of used saddles.

1) Saddle King ranch saddle, nice tooled saddle with breast collar. Very comfortable riding saddle.
2) Light weight barrel saddle. Pretty good shape, but needs new sheepskin lining. Would make a good light-weight kids saddle. Contact me at hopfammt@yahoo.com or 406-459-6641.
Saddle Saddle

Funny Horse Facts & Trivia:

The average horse weighs about a half a ton, its brain is the size of a baked potato.
A horse's hoof is analogous to the human fingernail. Horses stand on their middle fingers!
Some of the equine family's closest relatives are tapirs and the rhinoceros.
A horse can poop up to 14 times a day!
Horses cannot vomit.
Most of the time, a horse's ear points where the horse is looking.
Horses can lock the muscles in their legs so they can go to sleep standing up and not fall over.
In the wild horse world, the mare decides when and where the herd will go while the stallion follows.
When spoken to, horses distinguish tones rather than particular words.

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