Students can saddle up, blaze a trail on horseback

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Buck Mountain will be inundated with pint-size horsemen and women Thursday, when the Craig Parks and Recreation Department offers its first Blazing Saddles trail ride.

It will be an all-day trip, with a three-hour ride in and out, lunch in between, and beautiful scenery the entire way.

"I haven't been up there myself, but from what I've heard, it's gorgeous," said Pam Brethauer, administrator for the Parks and Recreation Department. "It's up in the mountains with creeks and plenty of wildlife."

Buck Mountain is located south of Craig.

Seeing wildlife is almost guaranteed to the young equestrians, since the ride takes place on land owned by Elk Horn Outfitters.

Little is needed by the youths who wish to participate in the Blazing Saddles program. The saddles, horses, lunch and sun screen will be provided by the ride coordinators. Participants should bring clothes appropriate for weather changes.

The ride costs $45 for the day trip, which is only about half full at this time.

The deadline for registration was Monday, but has been extended to fill out all 10 spots on the ride.

There will be two more day trips this summer, on June 21 and July 12. All will travel up Buck Mountain. Youth ages 8 to 14 are invited to participate.

The Parks and Recreation Department offered a similar program seven years ago, but the cost of hiring an outfitter proved to be to much of a financial burden.

This year, Elk Horn Outfitters played the godfather, and made the department an offer it couldn't refuse, so officials restarted the trail ride program.

"We really couldn't have restarted the program without the help of Elk Horn, they've made it so affordable. It would be impossible to run it without their generosity," Brethauer said.

July 19-20, youth can sign up for an overnight trip, which will push even farther into the wilderness behind Buck Mountain. Guitar music and a storyteller will travel along for the overnight trip, and provide the riders with the night's entertainment. The cost of the overnight trip is $90. Again, all participants need to bring are clothes.

There may be an adult ride scheduled later this summer.

"We've gotten all sort of requests by teenagers and adults to allow them to come along on the rides, so we may organize an adult ride, but it isn't set in stone," Brethauer said. "It just shows how popular the program is."

There are spots open in all the next rides, and preregistration is strongly recommended. Call 824-8151, Ext. 329 for more information.

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