Utah- Riding Olympic Bred Horses with video

February 25, 2010

Saddle up for this video from a Western trail ride in Snow Canyon State Park in Utah

by Darley Newman

I meet a lot of outfitters as I travel who organize day rides, as well as longer horseback riding adventures. These locals show me the best of their area on horseback. Many times, I'm also surprised by the story of the horse I'm riding, whether it's a horse from Antelope Island that has appeared in "Far and Away" or "Return to Lonesome Dove," a horse in Hawaii's Waipi'o Valley that used to run wild and that outfitter Maile caught and tamed or the Queen of Spain's horse in Donana National Park. I knew I was in for an interesting ride there, as my horse called loudly to his friends hiding in the back of the lush, tropical valley.

Since the Vancouver Olympics are on and I'm enjoying watching them, I thought that you might enjoy this clip from Snow Canyon State Park. I join local outfitter Patty Arnett to ride her Olympic trail horses. I ride a horse named Itos, a Dutch Warmblood whose father medaled at the Atlanta Olympics. Sweet ride! A variety of movies scenes were filmed among these beautiful landscapes of Snow Canyon State Park including The Electric Horseman, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid and Jeremiah Johnson.

Video Transcript

Darley Newman: For our next riding adventure, we're close to the border of Nevada at Snow Canyon State Park. Patty Arnett of Snow Canyon Trail Rides is leading us out to explore this colorful area on her award-winning horses.

Darley Newman:
Patty, I understand that one of your horses went to the Olympics.

Patty Arnett:
Yes, the father of all these horses, he competed and medaled at the Atlanta Olympic games.

Darley Newman:
My goodness. So these are some very nice horses you have.

Patty Arnett:
Yes, yes. They’re all Dutch Warm Bloods.

Darley Newman:
Great.

Darley Newman:
Patty's ride are open to the public, so that anyone can take in the park on horseback and ride horses like Itos, the horse who is leading me for the day.
Here in the park white and red Navajo sandstone cliffs are juxtaposed with black rocks from lava that flowed here as far back as 2.5 million years and more recently as well.

Patty Arnett:
So this section that we’re riding over right now is kind of rocky.

Darley Newman:
Yeah.

Patty Arnett:
And that’s because we’re walkin’ over the top of a lava flow and all this lava rock that you see comes from a volcano right on the other side of the White Cliffs and the last time it was active was over 25,000 years ago.

Darley Newman:
Wow. So it’s been sleeping for quite a while.

Patty Arnett:
Yes. It’s considered extinct.

Darley Newman:
Patty leads us through a sandy wash, as we take in the park's spring flowers, and decide to get a closer look.

Patty Arnett:
So Darley, these are the first blooms of the season and they’re called a spectacle pod. And the reason they have that name is there’s these little seedpods on the stem that look like a little pair of glasses.

Darley Newman:
They do. They look like glasses for ants.

Patty Arnett:
Yeah!

Darley Newman:
Now Patty, you said “the first bloom of the season,” does that mean that these flowers are going to bloom again?

Patty Arnett:
No, um, each week it seems like, in the desert, there’s this rotational blooming process and so there’s a new flower. For instance we have these yellow flowers here and those are a desert marigold and those tend to bloom all year.

Darley Newman:
So constantly changing here in the desert. Oh, definitely.

Darley Newman:
Lots to see. I love these. Those are great.

Patty Arnett:
Yeah. Oh, yeah.

Darley Newman:
Patty, the sand is so soft and fine here.

Patty Arnett:
Yeah, the sand, Darley, is part of what was the Navajo Desert. Hundreds of millions of years ago this desert area was bigger than the current Sahara desert.

Darley Newman:
Wow.

Patty Arnett:
And the unique feature about it is its color. And it gets its color from the iron in the soil. And the iron has oxidized or rusted, giving it that reddish quality.
So Darley, you notice that there’s an abrupt change in the color of the sand. And here it’s white, opposed to the red that we’ve been riding in. It kind of looks like a Caribbean beach.
Darley Newman:

Nice! Where are the pina coladas?

Patty Arnett:
Yeah, we call this the Utah Beach and instead of having ocean, we have a sea of sage!

Darley Newman:
We have a nice breeze, too.

Patty Arnett:
Yeah, now where’s that cabana boy?

Darley Newman:
We continue through the white sands to a high spot with views of the back of the park.

Darley Newman:
Patty, I think this is my favorite view over here with the white and the red and everything else.

Patty Arnett:
Yeah, Darley this is a great spot where you can get just all the best of the park. You’ve got the lava flow, you’ve got all the variations of the vegetation, and you’ve got the red rock, the white rock, the Box Canyon at the north end, and what a view, huh? It just couldn’t be more spectacular.

Darley Newman:
Patty, what’s your favorite part of riding here in the park?

Patty Arnett:
I enjoy coming into the park day after day and seeing all the changes that occur in the park. Just the beauty of the park. Just the beauty of the park with the light and the dark and the shadows and the sunlight. And I really enjoy hanging out with my kids.

Darley Newman:
Yeah, these guys are great.

Patty Arnett:
They really are. Every day. 

Darley Newman:
As we head out of the park, I stare at its vivid colors for one last time and enjoy my last ride on Patty's horse Itos, who she's let me treasure during my time in Snow Canyon.
 


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Topics: Darley Newman, Day Rides, equestrian vacation, equestrian vacations, Equitrekking, EquitrekkingTravel.com, horseback riding vacation, horseback riding vacations, Patty Arnett, Snow Canyon State Park, Snow Canyon Trail Rides, Trail Riding, Trail riding, United States, Utah, video