Lynx and I are off in the morning. The horses gear: Outfitters Supply: Trail Max saddle bags, packer pads buckets, hobbles, picket lines. Tucker Saddles: The Black Mountain and Endurance Trail saddles. Skito Saddle Pads, Cashel fly masks, Sunbody hat. Tangeleo Cinchs and Source Mirco Nurtrients.
Merci beaucoup to Herbert and Isabelle for lending my a very fine horse indeed. Flora is a lovely 9 year old brown leopard Appaloosa mare, steadfast and well built. I could not have ask for a finer steed, born and bred on his farm. France has an incredible system of trails, both equestrian and hiking which will keep us off busy roads between Ferme de Fonluc in Les Eyzies de Tayac to Pech Merle where the spotted horse cave await us. Yes we are riding spotted horses to the most famous of caves – Pech Merle.
Lynx is riding her 7 year old black leopard Appaloosa mare, Karma. Karma was shipped over 4 months ago from America, this is her new home. Really quite a sight!
Pech Merle is a cave in the Lot department of the Midi-Pyrenees region in France. The cave walls are decorated with paintings and engravings, from the Gravettian culture some 25,000 BC, through the Solutrean roughly 18,000 BC, to the Magdalenian era, about 15,000 BC. The prehistoric art was discovered as recently as 1922.
Many important works of prehistoric art are on display here, and perhaps the most famous panel is that of the Spotted Horses. These large iconic paintings, adorned with hand stencils, seem to be imbued with symbolic significance; it is a busy panel. The horse on the right of the panel suggests that the natural rock topography in the shape of a head inspired the paintings. This use of natural shapes on the cave walls was a common practice in Paleolithic rock art. The daubed-on dots are not restricted to within the outline of the equine figures.
Pech Merle is some 150 miles south of here.
Ferme de Fonluc offers equestrian rides, both day and over night on a selection of fine horses. Here in France one must not only be licensed to run such a business but must pass rigorous equine tests including several levels of horsemanship, farrier, veterinary, saddlery and first aid knowledge. Herbert and Isabelle have an enchanting home (over 600 years old) and also offer overnight accommodations in a lovely, rustic guest house. I find it hard to describe it’s all so beautiful, so other worldly, like a post card or a movie. I am all oooos and ahhhhs. You can find our more about Herbert Backhaus et Isabelle Lencement’s farm at:
“Ferme de Fonluc” 24620 Les Eyzies de Tayac Dordogne, France Tel : 05 53 35 30 06
As lynx and I have been preparing the horses we have ridden down tiny stone alleys lined often times by medieval homes. It makes everything I have seen in America seem modern, EVERYTHING. Herbert’s driveway had been used by the Romans. There are caves on Ferme de Fonluc where traces of the Paleolithic in France have been discovered. Les Eysies is enchanting, everything you would imagine French rural country to be like.
As I said Lynx and I are off in the morning and I will not have access to my computer for a couple of weeks. Until then,
There are so many people to thank for this France trip, so many who have contributed time, money, encouragement, but there are a few who must be acknowledged for going above and beyond…
The ride has been made possible by the following..Tucker Saddle Company and Outfitters Supply.
Outfitters Supply painstakingly shipped my gear to France. I can not thank Lynn Foster, Manager of Outfitters Supply for getting my 3 big boxes with saddles and gear safely to Ferme de Fonluc, France, the boxes have arrived safely.
And with private donations from the following
But then there is Rosie Rollin whom I have been traveling with for the past 3 months- She deserves an honorable mention award. Rosie and I did 12 rides through out Utah, New Mexico and Arizona this winter. Rosie not only assisted in getting the boxes mailed out she assisted with assembling /finding all the necessary gear I needed for the ride in France. THEN she hauled me all way up to Nebraska where her friends Jeannie and Butch Grace have kindly agreed to board my two mares at their lovely home in Lewellen. Rosie also has her retired Arab mare Maple here. Jeannie and Rosie have known each other for years, both were endurance riders. Butch’s family homesteaded in Nebraska and have been ranchers in Garden County for many years.
The word for path and road is the same in Cherokee: nvnoho, “the rocky place,” a place where the soil and vegetation have already been worn away. ….we generally don’t make trails unless there is something on the other end worth reaching. It’s only once an initial best guess is made, and others follow it , that a trace begins to evolve into a trail. Thus a trail grows-a hunch is strengthened to a claim, a claim splits into a dialogue, a dialogue frays into a debate, a debate swells into a chorus, and a chorus rises, full, now, of clashes and echoes and weird new harmonies, with each new voice calling out…” This way,This way, This way. It is impossible to fully appreciate the value of a trail until you have been forced to walk through the wilderness without one.
My path/trail recently took me to Bear Mountain Lodge where the multifaceted art project, One Million Bones has found a home, a resting place. I had never heard of the One Million Bones project until Pat Wolph told me about it. As a member of Back Country Horseman she helped with her horses as many members did to haul the bones from the parking area to a meadow up the Lodges Old Windmill Trail. One Million Bones primary purpose is to bring awareness to the world wide genocides which have occurred and continue to occur. One million bones were crafted from clay or paper mache by “artists” from all 50 states and 30 foreign countries. The creators were of all ages, genders and ethnicities. The website is www.onemillionbones.net
The word I will use to describe the sight is, sobering.
On a lighter note… Rosie and I passed through Silver City again and I spent a couple of days catching up on business at Pat Wolph’s lovely Casita. On a run to town Pat and I stopped at at Silver Shoe Repair in Silver City. I’d been looking for heel cleats for my boots and for the most part had given up hope of ever finding the horseshoe shaped cleat I’d found in New Elm, Minnesota years ago. The heel cleats keep my boot heels from wearing out, its the pavement walking that wears them so. Like the horses who have horse shoes I use a steel cleats on my boots. I have been making them or rather a handy hand has been making them usually by cutting a stainless steel washer in half and counter sinking holes for screws. Now shoe repair shops are few and far between. They are a thing of the past, have their own smells and ancient looking machines that fill the back rooms. I love these shops. So of course I must stop and visit and ask questions. David Wait had only been repairing shoes for 6 years. Once a carpenter, “Um I said, well that must have helped in becoming a shoe repairman.” A quiet unassuming man, much like other shoe repairman I have met. Maybe its the work that makes them like that, sort of like imagining a elf in the back room quietly tapping out shoes while we sleep. Any way in an old box high on a shelf were stainless steel heel cleats, the real kind that look just like horseshoes.
Turned out Dave and Pat were neighbors but had never met until that day. Smiles
A so my “Travels with Rosie” is coming to an end. We had our last ride at the Empire Ranch, north of Sonoita, AZ. with two of her friends from Tennessee. We have had 4 months of Southwest travel, several afternoon rides with warm sun and cold nights. We have strung out behind us a list of new people we have met that we can now call friends and many sunsets and moon rises we shall never forget. It’s been a great winter. But now I must look at my ride in France and riding with Lynx Vilden through the Dorgdone Region. The saddles and equipment have already been shipped over thanks to OutFitters Supply. Rosie is taking me and my girls north to Nebraska where they will stay at the Butch and Jeannie Grace home for the 2 months I’ll be in France. I fly out of Denver airport on the 6th of March.
I met Leslie and her husband Jerry(now deceased) on my first ride. We have been friends ever since. Always nice to see her again.
Ride from Silver City to Madrid, New Mexico – Jan. 26th, 2018
Please remember I am not “Long Riding” right now. These are short little 2/3oo mile jaunts and I haul as need or want dictates. “Long Riding” is all together different than what I am doing this winter. This is vacation riding! smiles.
If you can’t look at nature and see yourself in it, you are to far away.
This ride is made possible by the following sponsors:
Tucker Saddle Co.
And with private donations from the following
Thank you also to the following sponsors:
Skido Saddle Pads
My horse has graciously been provided by Herbert and Isabelle Backhaus owners of Ferme de Fonluc
Herbert Backhaus “Ferme de Fonluc” 24620 Les Eyzies de Tayac Dordogne, France Tel : 0033-(0)-553-353006 To contact us by Email please use the form, and we will get back to you ASAP GPS Coordinates : Latitude: 44.949249 – Longitude: 1.002631
Ferme de Fonluc is situated in the heart of the Vezere Valley in Tayac, just 10 minutes walk from Les Eyzies de Tayac. We have the Vezere river running through our land, and stunning views of the Limestone rock faces riddled with Prehistoric dwellings. All this makes it an ideal location to spend unforgettable vacations in one of our two wonderful gîtes.
About the ride
I remember first meeting Lynx nearly 25 years ago in Montana, years before I’d begun my life as a long rider. She was completely dressed in hides she’d tanned and sewed with sinew! She’d been hunting ground squirrels with bow and arrow if I remember correctly. Even for me it was a stretch of the imagination that anyone, let alone a woman, could be living such a primitive life. Now she has become a renown primitive skills expert the world over. She has taken it to the level of art. A documentary “Pale’o Extreme,” produced in 2012 brought Lynx’s skills into the lime-light throughout Europe. Lynx has traveled, explored and researched the nature and traditional cultures of arctic desert and mountain regions from Hudson Bay to the Kalahari Desert. Her calling has been teaching and practicing primitive living skills (with passion) in the U.S. and Europe since 1991. She has lived in a Sami Village in Scandinavia and lived and studied in the deserts of New Mexico and Arizona. In 2001 she started the Living Wild School dedicated to sharing prehistoric skills and primitive living. www.lynxvilden.com A horse woman for 25 years Lynx has worked with draft ponies and has trained her Appaloosa Mare “Karma” whom she will be riding. I am honored and humbled to have this opportunity to ride with Lynx in the beautiful country of France. There are so many to thank. Our ride, beginning from the Ferme de Fonlucin in Les Eyzies de tayac will circle through the Dordogne region of southern France for a 3 week ride. We return the first week of April as Lynx will be teaching a class at Ferme de Fonluc. We then return to our horses and saddles April 7th for another 3 weeks of riding. We are taking only 2 horses using Tucker Saddles and Outfitters Supply full front and rear bags and will be on our own. I am providing the gear and expertise of long riding. Lynx the route and accommodations for the ride. The Les Eyzies de Tayac is located in a valley, famous for its pre- historical remains. It is one of the main centers in the world for research in this field. Numerous interesting objects and ancient works of art have been discovered in this town and the surrounding areas. Many of these can be admired in the museum, or by visiting local caves. I heart-felt thank-you to my sponsors Out Fitters Supply and Tuckers Saddle for making this ride possible. But also to Ferm de Fonluc for providing a magnificent horse for the ride and the private donators who have contributed so generously. I look forward to sharing with you the readers who follow my rides with the sights and experiences of a ride in France.
“We are so often caught up in the destination that we forget to appreciate the journey, especially the goodness of the people we meet on the way.”
A heartfelt thank you to all those who have helped this ride.
——-French Je me souviens avoir rencontre Lynx il y a a peu pres 25ans au Montana, bien avant d’avoir commence ma vie de randonnees de longue distance. Elle etait vetue de peaux de betes qu’elle tannait et cousait elle meme avec du fil en boyau d’animal.Elle chassait les chiens de prairie avec un arc si je me souviens bien.Je me demandais comment une femme pouvait vivre une vie si primitive. Elle est maintenant experte mondiale sur la vie primitive et leur civilization. Elle l’a transforme en un art de vivre. Le documentaire ” l’extreme Paleo ” publie en 2012 lui a permi de faire connaitre son mode de vie a travers toute l’europe. Lynx a voyage explore et a fait des recherches sur la nature et les cultures traditionnelles du desert de l’artique des regions montagneuses de la bay d’Hudson jusqu’au desert de Kalahari. Ses connaissances sont apprises et pratiquees ( avec passion ) aux etats unis et en Europe depuis 1991. Elle a vecu dans un village Sami en Scandinavie ,elle a vecu et etudie dans les deserts du nouveau mexique et d’ Arizona. En 2001 elle crea l’ecole dediee a apprendre comment vivre en milieu sauvage et inospitable. Cavaliere experimentee depuis 25 ans Lynx a travaille avec des chevaux de bas et a entraine sa jument appaloosa Karma qui fera partie de notre randonnee. Je suis honoree et humble d’avoir l’opportunite et la chance de pouvoir faire ce periple dans ce beau pays qu’est la France.J’ai tellement de gens a remercier… Nous commencerons notre chevauchee a la Ferme de Fonlucin dans les Eyzies de Tayac,Nous allons parcourir la Dordogne dans le sud de la France pendant 3 semaines.Nous serons de retour la premiere d’avril car Lynx doit donner des cours a la ferne de Fonlucin. Le 7 avril nous rependrons notre randonnee pendant 3 semaines .Nous aurons deux chevaux avec 2 selles Tucker et de quoi vivre stocke dans 2 sacs de selles un devant et un derriere ( rien d’autre est prevu ). J’apporte L’equipement et mon experience;Lynx sa connaissance de l’endroit et le logement. Les Eyzies de Tayac se trouve dans une vallee reconnue pour ses fouilles prehistoriques .C’est un des endroits les plus important dans la recherche mondiale sur ce sujet.Beaucoup d’objets et d’oeuvres d’art ont ete decouverts dans ce village et ses environs .On peut d’ailleurs les voir dans les muses et grottes des environs. Je ne sais comment remercier mes ” sponsors “ainsi que les donneurs prives qui me permettent de faire ce voyage ainsi que la ferne de Fonlucin bien entendu . J’ai hate de partager avec mes lecteurs qui s’interessent a mes randonnees, mes experiences et mes vues sur la France. Nous voulons souvent arriver a une destination et nous oublions d’apprecier le voyage ,principalement la bonte des gens que l’on rencontre en chemin. Encore merci de tout mon coeur a ceux qui me permettent de participer a cette aventure extraordinaire.
Long eared desert hare silently burst out from under mesquite brush as I ride north on long straight gravel roads. There are so many we are only momentarily startled as they go bounding off run, run, run leap – run, run, run grand jete’, quick, graceful animals. Canadian geese strung out in an enormously long straight V shape herald their journey north. The wind shoves more air down the throat and up the nose than the lungs know what to do with. The land makes you breath because there is so much space between you and over there with grass, water and shelter only if you are lucky enough to find it. A crow fly’s by. I shout “Where’s the water?” If you see birds your bound to find water.
I now know why these cowboys wear high-top cowboy boots and chaps because there is every kind of sticker known to human-kind here in the Southwest. They get down your boots, stick on your socks, pants, sweater sleeves, they bake into your skin and refuse to be shook off, stickers everywhere.
A Cowboy Story
A young man dreamed of living the life of a cowboy. His eyes and heart beamed southward to the land of buckaroo’s, wranglers, flank riders, come along little dogie. Where roping and branding and wild cattle were real. A land where cowboy hats, cowboy boots and spurs were not out of place. And all the time he lived in Alaska a long, long way from “cowboy.” But he reached for his dream by learning the art of horseshoeing, by riding and training horses. He learned veterinary skills. And then one day at the ripe old age of 18 this young man saddled up his horse “Mr.” packed up two others, called his dog Traveler and headed for the U.S./Mexico border for the land of “cowboy.”
A long ride by any stretch of the imagination, an epic journey. One arduous year and he’d reached southern Alberta. Long days, sleepless nights. His ears froze his fingers and toes numbed by the cold, he rode. As the young man traveled he took on bronc’s and throw away horses no one wanted, trained them – made them good again, sold them and added more to his string to make money. He worked for ranchers training young colts, branding, roping and sorting cattle. He had a good hand with horses. Made a little money and moved on.
In the glorious state of Colorado he saw something that caught his eye, a pretty young rodeo gal who rode like nothing he’d ever seen. And she caught his eye and the adventure that rode in them. She gave him strength to go on. She believed in him.
With no support vehicle behind him nor in front, just his desire to be a cowboy and to find that place where he belonged, another year passed.
And now that Mexico border was in view and friends and family cheered him on and he knew he’d reached the place he so longed to be. The many miles and hardships behind him had bred cowboy into his bones. And he turned around and knelt down and asked that girl who believed in him, who’d caught his heart, if she’d marry him. And she said yes. And now that young man with the dream of becoming of cowboy works on one of the biggest ranches in New Mexico south of Animas.
But what he did not dream of, what he did not know when he set forth on his journey to be a cowboy was that he’d find so much more. That he would find love and happiness as a father and a husband. That an entire community would welcome and embrace him. That ropin and ridin and cowboy boots, spurs, good horses and cattle were but a small part of being a cowboy.
I first heard about this long rider in 2006 while crossing the United States on a 5000 mile ride. Someone handed me a newspaper clipping with a photo of a cowboy coming head on, riding one horse, packing another. A dog ran out front. Flanking him were 6 or 7 horses on leads. I thought, even as a very inexperience long rider at that time, “He’s nuts.”
Well I had the pleasure of meeting Jeremiah John Karsten, now 32, in Animas, New Mexico a week ago. I had dinner with him, his beautiful wife Joetta Rae and their three young daughters, Charlee Rae, 7 – Jemma Jo, 3 – Cora Kate 5 months.
I went away from our meeting thinking this man is my idea (maybe a romantic notion some might say) of a true cowboy. Tall, straight, lean, his attire careful, tidy. His boots, spurs and jeans seem to fit just right as did his colorful cowboy style scarf he wore around his neck. And of course the hat, not at all like mine, a real cowboy hat, with sweat and dirt worn into its years.
But that’s only the look. The important part of a true cowboy rides inside. Polite, soft spoken, yet not shy. Confident but with a measure of humility. He loves his trade, his wife, his family. He resounds in contentment for his life as a cowboy. Jeremiah left Alaska an 18 year old “greenhorn” now thirteen years later he’s probably on of the happiest men alive at least his smile and eyes and family showed it.
Photos – From Douglas, Arizona to Silver City, New Mexico.
Ok all for now, am heading north to visit with my sister in the Albuquerque area and another friend Leslie Adler whom I met in 2006 on another ride in Madrid, New Mexico. Best to all who follow the rides, and of course many thanks for the Facebook page comments and interest. Bernice