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Wheelinallover's favorite places for riding on horseback

Updated on November 18, 2013

Having ridden horseback all over the country my favorite place to ride will always be the Black Hills of South Dakota. There are beautiful places to ride in Southern California where most of my early riding was done. My father was an avid rider and horse owner, he taught me to ride at age fourteen. He liked horses with spirit and it didn’t bother him if no one else could get near his steed. My riding lessons were given on the California desert.This was a special time as it was father, son time and we spent it alone together. Each time trying new things, stretching our limits,and enjoying a slow walk home enjoying the scenery and talking.

The semi desert outside Riverside was beautiful in its own way, boulder filled hills with a few sage brush giving them just a touch of color filled this scene. Riding through orange groves after they were trimmed back was a favorite pastime. Even putting the horses to pasture was a pleasure at times with seven mini rainbows in a grass covered meadow filling your eyes.

With the backdrop of the three sisters which are part of the cascade mountains, the central Oregon desert was another beautiful place to ride. If you timed your ride just right you could see the sunset three times in one evening. Winding through the foothills took your view of the three sisters and each time they came into view again they seemed even more spectacular.

Then for a while it seemed like the hills in central New York where you could ride at full gallop under an ever changing canopy of colors was the best place to ride. Any time you were on top of a hill and had a view it seemed like there was a multicolored wonderland which you would want to last forever. In the spring you would see a sea of green which changed from light green to black at sunset.

Riding in the hills below Lancaster Pennsylvania was the most social riding ever encountered. The scenery was beautiful and you never got far without running into someone with the same idea. There were many times a ride was spent with more time talking and taking in the rolling hills with Amish farms in the background than riding.

The only thing that reminded me of home when riding north of my military post in San Diego was that my father brought the horses down so we could ride together. We never did ride on the beach but it was possible. It was a crowded world there so the view was filled with houses, not something which was wanted after being on post surrounded by people and buildings for weeks at a time. We spent more time talking while the horses were at a slow walk and just rode for hours.

In Alabama while posted there riding was time to let your mind wander. Anyplace where it would have been comfortable for me to ride was off limits. The bogs and heavily forested areas weren't safe for a rider alone. After the second time my heart was no longer in riding in that area. When the itch to ride hit me too bad, available leave time was used and a trip home was the ticket.

By the time the Black Hills became part of my life a wheelchair had been my legs for three and a half years. There had been no riding in those years. Finding a horse who would let someone in a wheel chair get near it much less ride it was a chore Once one was found the first thing that happened was she became mine. Then it was off to the local saddle store. My horse was short bodied and there had to be some way to keep me in the saddle. Two weeks later it was time to ride.

Just being able to ride again gave me a sense of freedom that hasn’t been found since. It was as if horse and rider were one and able to do things neither would alone. There were also riding opportunities for me there which were never found anywhere else. No one had ever asked me to ride in a parade, herd cattle, or ride across streams seven times in an hour.

My Indian upbringing and wanderlust were always leading me off the beaten path. Riding into old growth forests helped me feel more alive again. The only way to navigate them was to follow a path either animals or other people on horse back had made. There are trees everywhere from a few inches above the ground to fifty feet above your head. In some areas you are lucky if you can see ten feet in any direction. Animal trails were my preference it gives a feeling like you are going someplace no person has been before. Riding through places which had recently been burned let you see a lot of wide open sky and kept the horse on its toes weaving through downed trees.

Riding along cliff bases can give a weird feeling like your being watched from above. The safest way to get to the top of a rock cliff was to follow well worn tracks. More than once my riding companions felt there was something on the cliffs and knowing the horses all shied away from them more than once made me wonder if they were telling the truth.

New growth forests were the most fun its like there is a canopy above your head and you can hear the wind and feel it differently than any place I’d ever ridden. The areas where forest turned to meadows were great fun. Weaving in and out of the tree line gave you yet a different feel. Its like for a few seconds your part of two worlds. Riding into a meadow from new growth forests was best for this as the trees are all taller and easier to ride around. In my mind there is no place on earth which compares to riding through the Black Hills of South Dakota.


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    • wheelinallover profile imageAUTHOR

      Dennis Thorgesen 

      8 years ago from Beatrice, Nebraska U.S.

      Thanks Ced. In the late seventies I was in Kansas serving in the Army. It was a two hour drive to where I rode at the time. My grandmother lived in the small town in Nebraska where I do today and it is where I spent what time I did riding. In the early seventies I rode just outside San Diego where I was stationed then.

    • Ced Reynolds profile image

      Ced Reynolds 

      8 years ago from Covina, California

      I spent some time in Riverside back in the late 70's while I was at U.C. Riverside. Didn't do any horseback riding but saw a few horses every once in a while. Perhaps you were out and about riding at that time. Last time I rode a horse was at camp as a kid. Did pretty good. Not sure why I didn't ride again.

    • wheelinallover profile imageAUTHOR

      Dennis Thorgesen 

      8 years ago from Beatrice, Nebraska U.S.

      Thanks Mary for dropping by and leaving a comment. I have had the pleasure of working with horses for most of my life. I still consider them spirit brothers. As a child it was necessary to build a relationship with a horse before riding and carried this into my adult life.

      Some of the horses I rode after becoming wheelchair bound I was warned away from. This taking time to build a relationship made riding possible, I never worried because I knew a relationship had been formed before I was ever in a saddle.

    • mary615 profile image

      Mary Hyatt 

      8 years ago from Florida

      Hi, My 4 kids grew up riding horses and even though they are all grown now, they say they still miss them. One of my daughters is active in trying to save the wild horses in the west. In fact she is in Montana now to find wild horses. I truly admire you for your attitude, and I wish you all the best. Regards, Mary

    • wheelinallover profile imageAUTHOR

      Dennis Thorgesen 

      9 years ago from Beatrice, Nebraska U.S.

      Brett.Tesol This article had been on page one of Google under my writing nickname and I was getting traffic it however is all but gone.

      When my memory was gone and my parents decided how I would be retrained father decided English only which my mother knuckled under and allowed. This both helped and hurt me.

      There are only a few people on the internet who realize English is my third language. My first language was Cherokee, followed by Spanish. English was learned at school out of necessity. At home, and in our neighborhood English was rarely used.

      Knowing my (people) hadn't even seen a horse before the white man came, getting into riding was something which was never considered as a small child. My father had horses but I was kept away from them. This all changed in my teens. Especially now as my body requires wheels to move, I love riding. It gives me a feeling of freedom nothing else does.

    • Brett.Tesol profile image

      Brett C 

      9 years ago from Asia

      You are a really talented writer, although you didn't include many pictures, I could clearly imagine the scene and feel your love for riding. It is something that I have never tried (other than guided as a kid lol), but hope to when I am in a country that is more suitable for riding.

      SOCIALLY SHARED and voted up.

    • wheelinallover profile imageAUTHOR

      Dennis Thorgesen 

      9 years ago from Beatrice, Nebraska U.S.

      D I actually like both of the profile pictures I used before this one. The screws are a symbolism for what Google has done to many people who publish here. It also has to do with a site called 68articles who (has members who) have been taking hub pages articles and publishing them as their own.

      I never thought working with Jungle cats was anything special. My step daughter used to feed a Jaguar crushed corn with her fingers, at age two. The shocking thing about it was the jaguar actually ate them.

      Just like working with horses its about respecting them as brothers and not fearing them.

      I have been finding linking under the suggest links tool often now take me to my own work. It's finding others to link to which has become more of a problem. For the most part I like to link to things which add to that which I have written, sometimes that is hard to do with authors who have quality articles. Other than suggested links I use no other method of linking, but I often highlight words or phrases they don't suggest.

    • DTroth profile image

      Diana Owens 

      9 years ago from My Little Hole In The Wall, HubPages, USA


      My own Hubs are linked, but I haven't spent enough time looking up how to link my Hubs to other peoples...aside from the "suggested link" button. I'll get it all down eventually. (:

      I miss your old avatar, but I like the new one too. I know you're a carpenter, but if you add a ball in there with all the screws, you could be a "screw-ball" like Daffy Duck! (: I love the old Bugs Bunny cartoons.

      Jungle cats, eh? You have really seen it all.

    • wheelinallover profile imageAUTHOR

      Dennis Thorgesen 

      9 years ago from Beatrice, Nebraska U.S.

      D I always link my hubs within 24 hours of them being published. Hub pages loves it, and its never been too hard to find something worth linking to. It took me a while to figure out how to link to my own hubs though. LOL I like how your hubs go into detail and in my book gentle training is the only viable way to train any animal. Years ago I worked with jungle cats who had been improperly trained and let me tell you I had my hands full. It wasn't my job to retrain them just to make sure they were fed and the cages kept clean.

    • DTroth profile image

      Diana Owens 

      9 years ago from My Little Hole In The Wall, HubPages, USA

      Love this Hub, Denna.

      You speak the truth! You brought back so many memories for me when I used to trail ride almost every weekend. It's great fun and I think the horses enjoyed the new surroundings as much as I did!

      You have another keeper! Keep up the good work!

      be blessed,


      P.S. Thank you for linking my Hub to yours! I didn't know you could do that with other people's Hubs. I'm still working on figuring things out, but I'll get there eventually thanks to your help! (:

    • wheelinallover profile imageAUTHOR

      Dennis Thorgesen 

      9 years ago from Beatrice, Nebraska U.S.

      Never had that problem my worst were saddle sores and broken pride. LOL

      In all my Riding time especially after a wheelchair became my legs has always been without bruises and broken bones.

    • freecampingaussie profile image


      9 years ago from Southern Spain

      Love this hub , last time I rode a horse was in France & I fell off & cracked some ribs


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