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Wednesday, July 31 2019
Zion National Park: Horseback Riding


    In Zion National Park, that is, inside the National Park itself, there is only one horseback trail ride and it is run by an outfit called "Canyon Trail Rides." This is a very beautiful ride that follows the riverside up a trail, then makes a figure-9 and comes back down the river. You will get a great view of "The Patriarchs" inside Zion National Park and have a relaxing, easy going nose to tail ride on your horse or mule. Because of the tourist-like nature of this ride, you will only be allowed to follow the horse in front of you at a walk. If you are looking for a ride that will teach you to trot or gallop and take steep hills, there is no such ride open to the public within the National Park itself.

   If you have your own horse, there are trails you can ride inside Zion National Park such as Cassidy Trail, the Casto Canyon Trail, Losee Canyon Trail, Rich Trail and Thunder Mountain Trail. There are certain rules that apply if you bring your own horse inside the National Park (such as using only certified weed free hay and hobbling your horse when you are not riding him) so be sure to read up on what you need to do.

   As far as Rising K Ranch is concerned, we are between Zion National Park and Bryce Canyon National Park. We are about forty miles from Zion National Park by horse (50 miles if you take the interstate) and about 60 miles from Bryce Canyon National Park by horse (80 when you drive a vehicle following the roads and such.) The countryside where we ride at Rising K Ranch is very much like a mix between Zion and Bryce Canyon, with the tall red cliffs and red rock peaks such as you find in Zion and with the ponderosa pine and high country such as you find at the higher elevations of Bryce Canyon.

   Zion National Park receives about 5 million visitors per year, and Bryce Canyon National Park receives over 1 million visitors per year. Each of the National Parks are large enough that they are not too crowded to have fun (at least not if you start early in the morning). Here at Rising K Ranch, we receive only a very small percentage of these tourists, so we are much more free to ride as we please without being crowded (probably not even seeing another person actually.) If you would like to know for yourself what kind of countryside we ride in, take a look through our “Photographs” page on the website, as well as our Facebook Page & Youtube Channel.

   If you should ever find yourself visiting Bryce Canyon or Zion National Park, or are just in Southern Utah, I hope you will drop in for some great horseback adventures!

Posted by: Klay Klemic AT 04:43 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
Wednesday, July 03 2019

   The American Quarter Horse, as far as Rising K Ranch is concerned, is used primarily for reining and working cattle. However, the Quarter Horses can fairly well be split into two different types of breeding: Cowhorses (which I would claim vaguely includes reining, reined cowhorse, cutting, all manner of ranch work, and roping) and Race Horses. Those which are bred for the purpose of working cattle will be more definedly muscular, (with different muscluar emphasis depending upon the particular event the horse is bred for) and quarter horses bred for racing will be more long-muscled as it were. The foundation stallions of the AQHA came from both types of Quarter Horses.

 Born in 1937 (or possibly '36 or even '35), Wimpy P-1 was a sorrel stallion from the famous King Ranch in Texas. His grand-sire on both sides was the famous Old Sorrel, the foundation stallion of the King Ranch Quarter Horses. Wimpy P-1 earned the position of first in the AQHA stud book by taking forst place at the 1941 Fort Worth Exposition and Fat Stock Show, judged by Jim Minnick. After winning the Fort Worth Show, it appear that Wimpy never did show again; but he remained at King Ranch as a stud, siring many influential Quarter Horses, such as Bill Cody who in turn was the grand-sire of the great Topsail Cody, an highly influential reining horse who was owned by Bob Loomis.During his life, Wimpy sired over 170 known horses registered to the AQHA. Wimpy died on August 14, 1959.

Posted by: Klay Klemic AT 10:25 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
Monday, July 01 2019

 At Rising K Ranch, we have mustangs as well as mixed breeds to ride out on the Utah trails here in the Zion and Bryce Canyon National Park country. However, our favorite breed is the American Quarter Horse, and we are more and more specializing in raising and showing quarter horses. 

    While top of the line breeding makes very little difference for most of our trail rides, it makes a great deal of difference when it comes to reining or working cattle. This is because the American Quarter Horse has been purposefully bred for over a century to do just exactly these kinds of jobs. 

   Though the AQHA (American Quarter Horse Association) itself did not officially begin until March 14, 1940, the foundation for the Quarter Horse began in the colonial period of America in the 1600’s when colonists would hold local horse races. These horse racing courses were quite smaller than the large courses back in the Old Country, so over time a horse was developed that excelled at short sprints. This horse that would so excel at short sprints, sometimes reaching 55 MPH, was developed by breeding the European Thoroughbred to the horses used by the Indians, such as the Chickasaw Horse. The Indians, of course, had formerly acquired these horses from the Spanish conquistadors, who brought with them Arabians, Barbs, and other breeds from the Iberian Peninsula. For quite some time, then, the primary focus of Quarter Horse Breeding was racing, particularly the quarter-mile race then commonly held.

   By the 1800’s Americans were moving ever westward, and found themselves in need of a reliable and hardy mount. Once again, the Spanish horses bred by the Indians as well as living in the wild as feral mustangs played a large part in the making of the American Quarter Horse. The American pioneers came across Spanish stock on the Great Plains and bred them to their more European-style colonial quarter horses. This new “mixed breed” turned out to have just the right physical makeup and ability as well as the right mindset and willingness to be an ideal cowhorse. He was sturdy enough to bear up under harsh conditions of mountains and deserts, strong enough to hold a cow or drag a steer to the branding fire, had cow sense enough to work as something of a cutting horse, and was a fast enough sprinter to herd wild cattle.

   It was in the 1840’s that the American Quarter Horse began to be perceived as a true “breed” of horse, for in 1843 that foundation sire Steel Dust was foaled, and in 1844 Old Shiloh, another foundation sire, was foaled. Throughout the rest of the 1800’s, the quarter horse was to become an increasingly popular and useful breed of horse in the American West. With the mixed emphasis of working cattle and weekend horse races, the quarter horse became more and more defined as both a sprinter as well as a working ranch horse. The cattle ranches saw to it that the Quarter Horse grew in its cowsense, and the horse races saw to it that plenty of speed was put into the breed by inserting more Thoroughbred blood. Through these early years of the development of the Ameican Quarter Horse, there was also plenty of Arabian, Morgan, and Standardbred blood added by individual horse breeders, all with their own ideas of the perfectly bred horse. 

   Finally, in 1940, a group of men formed the AQHA in an effort to keep alive the old traditions and pedigrees of the Western horse. Today, there are over 5 million registered quarter horses all over the world, with 3 million of them still here in the United States of America. 

    If you ever should find yourself visiting the Bryce Canyon/ Zion National Park country in Utah, I hope you will stop by Rising K Ranch to take a look at some of these amazing American Quarter Horses!

Posted by: Klay Klemic AT 03:02 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
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    Rising K Ranch is a Horseback Trail Ride and Riding School in Utah, located perfectly between Zion and Bryce Canyon National Parks.

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