Taking Trail Riding to a New Level
By Troy Lynn Norris, Director Top Trail, and Robin Morris, Top Trail Ambassador
This story was written in January and since then Robin went out and took advantage of every halfway decent day that Montana offered and on February 2 reached the 10,000 mile mark on her journey in about 4-1/2 years time. Congratulations Robin!
Robin joined the Top Trail family in late 2015. Top Trail is an online ride program designed primarily for trail riders. Right from the start Robin and her mule, Beau, started winning Top Trail Challenges. To date Beau has won Top Trail Horse Division 1 challenges 20 times and Robin has won Top Trail Rider Division 1 five times. They are Top Trail Horse and Rider of the Year 2018 just as they were in 2017. To earn that honor, together they logged over 2000 miles on the trail in 2018 and we could not be more proud and honored that they are part of Top Trail.
Riding Year Round In Montana
“Since Beau came into my life, I ride 12 months out of the year. After all, I am a firm believer that warm clothes allow us to enjoy the beauty that only winter has to offer.”
“My partnership with Beau took time. While I chose him because of his calm and quiet demeanor and exceedingly good looks, we have had our moments. I had issues with him and I am sure, if asked, he had issues with me. But I believe if you have a kind animal, that can all be worked out with consistency and time. I expose him to as much as possible. If there is something that he is hesitant about, I never avoid it.”
I asked Robin how she goes about bonding with and developing a fantastic trail partner, because it’s quite apparent that she knows how to do it right: “Try camping with them. The first time I took him camping in the Wilderness for 8 days — wow — we grew as a team. While I “camped” in the tack room of my horse trailer, he was in a small corral right next to me. We rode every day, and logged our first two 40-mile rides during that trip. In keeping with full-disclosure, we got lost on both of those rides.
“I have shared many nights, several times just the two of us, camping in the Wilderness and I treasure it. When we’re alone, if I get out of his sight he will bray for me. I also think it’s important to ride new trails and give your equine partner a job. Beau loves going to new places just as much as I do. We would both get bored if we rode the same trail day after day. As a member of the Beartooth Back Country Horsemen, we clear a lot of public trails. He has benefited from trailering with unfamiliar horses, and being tied, hobbled, and high-lined with different equines.
“His one constant is me. I love that he has been exposed to chainsaws, obstacles on the trail, work crews, pack animals, hikers, bicycles and ATV’s. His energy, interest, and harmony simply make me smile, and keeps me going.”
Achieving Lofty Goals
I had to know, what is it like to have goals and go after them, even so far as exploring 10,000 miles in less than 5 years, in the saddle? “2018 was an amazing year for Beau and I,” says Robin, “we both stayed healthy and sound and able to accomplish our established goals. I wanted to exceed my 10,000th ‘rider’ mile; for Beau to exceed his 9,700th mile; and, to log more miles on Beau in 2018 than any year in the past,” according to Robin.
Winning Ways with Top Trail
We are so pleased and happy for this incredible team. As 2018 champs, Robin and Beau have won a tack outfit from SpecTACKular Tack, and an Equine Therapy Cooler from Draper Therapies together with Top Trail. If that’s not enough they have also been the recipients of awards from the following Top Trail partners: The Hay Pillow, Inc., Hawthorne Products, and EQyss Grooming Products.
Top Trail began in 2013 as a humble little spreadsheet driven mileage program for riders to a still humble but growing mileage based program for horses and riders on it’s own website with a program doing the work of the old spreadsheets!
If you would like to check out Top Trail, please stop by for a 30 day free trial at toptrailhorse.com. We invite anyone who is interested in keeping records of your rides and connecting with other riders to share information, motivation, and inspiration to join us and let’s share the journey.