Springtime at the Wild Horse Sanctuary

The trail ride season opens with a clip-clop through the wildflowers.

IT'S NOT EVERY DAY... that a city dweller says the words "chaparral" or "woodland" or "burro" or "manzanita" or "buttercup." They can seem like storybooks terms, romantic and distant from our hustlebustle, consta-plugged-in-always lives. But, of course, such terms do exist, now, in our world, and while we may not find buttercups nor burros outside our building or at the end of the drive, we can get to know both during a weekend along a trail. Not just a trail but the trails near Shingletown, which is home to the Wild Horse Sanctuary. 

THE WILD HORSE SANCTUARY... was founded in 1978 to protect "America's wild horses and burros," ultimately becoming "a haven for these disappearing symbols of the American West." Not just home to two or three maned beauties but "nearly 300 rescued wild horses and burros," the preserve regularly welcomes equine enthusiasts and friends of natures for trail rides, fundraisers, and horsey-sweet events. The 2015 trail rides are just about to clip-clop for the season, starting on Saturday, April 25 and Sunday, April 26 for the annual wildflower ride. That's full-up, pardner, but not long after is the Work Ride, where riders will help with "trail maintenance." Several May and June rides are open and on the schedule, and a trio of rides in September and October, too. What's more beautiful, though? Seeing the "landscape of native grasses, manzanita, oaks, pines, creek, and lava rock" in the spring or early fall? We vote both.

OPEN HOUSE: If you want to get to know the Sanctuary apart from heading out onto the trail, mark August 15 down on your horse calendar. That's the open house, which includes a Parade of Mustangs, a barn dance, a barbecue, and loads of hoof-y happiness. Bonus: You're not all that far from Lassen Volcanic National Park, which is glorious, and mud-bubbly in spots, any time of year.

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