March 10, 2018​

There are mountains, there are hills, and then there are the Dragoons. Officially a mountain range, the fiercely rugged and
enticing Dragoon Mountains defy categorization. Some mountains soar, but the Dragoon Rocks seem to roll over for 30 miles over the landscape. The Dragoon Mountain Range is a collection of sharp-slanted cliffs and tumbled boulders that arise abruptly from tall grasslands and cut north to south across Cochise County. Historically the mountains provided Cochise with food and medicine and year-round water. From the high vantage point, the Chiricahua Apaches had excellent views of the valleys on either side of the mountains. They could literally see Army troops coming two days before they arrived. All 3 days of riding showed these views and emphasized why the Apaches chose this range as home.​

​On Friday, April 27th, Lil Leclerc led 17 riders on the most beautiful ride in the Dragoon Mountains outside of Tombstone. Drag rider was Pam Bouilly on her mare Tango. We began the ride from under the Sheepshead and rode the “Magilla Gorilla” trail that follows the edge of the mountain range heading northwesterly. The ride was short, only an hour long, but the views of the San Pedro Valley were awesome despite the smokey cover. We had views of the Huachuca Mountains, Mule Mountains towards Bisbee and the tips of San Jose Peak in Naco, Mexico. The Rincons were also visible. The weather was sunny with slight wind and made it a perfect day. Camp was set up just north and south of the windmill. The highlights of the Magilla Gorilla trail was a herd of deer that spooked Lil’s horse and everyone behind also jumped. Riders spent some time finding Cochise Head in the rocks above, the whales or frogs depending on imagination, Magilla Gorilla screaming at Snoopy. The Alien Child was seen at a distant canyon. The return ride back to camp was on a welldefined
trail, with foot tall grass and wound through mesquite and catclaw bushes. Dinner that evening was potluck with spiral
cut ham and yummy potluck dishes.

Saturday’s ride to Council Rock.  We left camp at 9:30 with 21 riders and returned with 21 riders unscathed. Lil Leclerc led the ride again with her horse Vinny.  Drag riders were Pam Bouilly on Tango and Molly Jo Fuller on Lucky. There were no wrecks or incidents with horses. All lined out well for the ride to Council Rocks. This is an unsigned and unnamed trail that has been in the Dragoons for many many years. One very interesting sight is Fertility Rock. The trail follows the hillside around the mountain to the northwest, past the  rock climbers’ rock and campground dropping into Slavin Gulch and down a tributary that drains into Slavin. The trail continues on up over a saddle where the views of Benson and St. David are seen. There were interesting rock formations all along the trail.  As we got closer to Council Rock, I-10 would have been visible except for the smokey haze. At Council Rock, the group tied up in a secluded spot for an hour rest and lunch. There were tall oak trees and plenty of shade with large rocks for mounting up. The brave hiked about 150 yards up to Council Rock and walked in the footsteps of Cochise. It was at Council Rocks that Cochise signed the Broken Arrow Peace Treaty in 1872. There were pictographs, grinding holes and a cave to explore. Archaeologists believe the original pictographs were created by the Mogollon people nearly 1,000 years ago and were later augmented by the Apaches. The return trail followed open meadow with tall grasses for a short way then dropped down into Mummy Canyon that has rock formations that look like an Easter Island Statue, a giant’s toes, and a genuine mummy face. Riders were warned about the “knee eating rock” and everyone managed to slip by the rock without injury. Some riders were so fascinated by the view that they missed the knee eating rock entirely. We again dropped down into Slavin Gulch and down to the West Stronghold road for a short distance, returning to the Texas Gate close to Fertility Rock. Then back to camp. Potluck dinner again had grilled burgers and a feast fit for a King. Steve made a dutch oven chocolate cherry cake that was excellent and it came with ice cream. It was another beautiful day, with great weather, fantastic scenery and excellent riders. The horses all had a good workout with the short ups and downs and the gentle elevational climb. Everybody slept well this night and all was quiet under a full moon. Saturday’s ride was listed as approximately 12-13 miles. Several people with GPS got an average of 11 miles.

Sunday’s ride was only 2½ hours long led by Lil and Molly Jo riding drag. There were 14 riders. This was the “Pasture Ride” then back through the Magilla Gorilla Trail in reverse. This was especially done so that our TSC president Carolyn could see Cochise Head, the Gorilla, Snoopy, the Standing Man, the two Frogs and the Alien Child rock formations. The riders headed south to the high ridge and then followed the ridge west to the fence line. There were 360 degree views of the area. Lil pointed out the Mule Mountains towards Bisbee, Naco Peak, Huachuca Mountains, the Mustang Hills by the Babacomari, Whetstone Mountains that hold Kartchner Caverns, Benson, St. David, Rincons and the north end of the Catalinas where Hay Creek Ranch is located. The horses enjoyed the water stops, playing in the water and blowing bubbles with a short graze on the lush green grasses. The ride circled around to the north along the rock faces for Carolyn’s view and even those riders that saw the same trail on Friday were awe inspired at the totally different view.
Photo ops were made and many pictures were taken with the rocks in the background. Another beautiful day and gorgeous ride.

​A successful camp trip and a safe trail ride. Look forward to another adventure in the “Dragoon’s 2019”. ~ Lil Leclerc

Addendum by Steve Pferdeort ~ We missed the Friday afternoon ride yet was told that 18 riders went out for a short ride at the base of the mountain. The potluck that night had plenty to go with the ham that Lil cooked. No one should have gone back to their trailer or tent hungry. Sitting under the trees and enjoying the shade from the warm sun, we ate and made introductions. On Saturday, a group of 21 riders were led by Lil on a 10.5 mile ride to Council Rock. She directed
our attention to several rock formations: fertility rock, Magilla Gorilla, shark rock, the foot and toes, and more I cannot remember.  Lunch was in a wash under oak trees. Some riders made the hike up to Council Rock. We were moving about 3 hours and 30 minutes and stopped about 90 minutes when we returned to camp. Another potluck was to be on Saturday for dinner. Lil was flipping hamburgers. Plenty of other items were out on the tables for the riders to enjoy. Donations were collected for Lil, as she is now committed to have the camp and ride next year! On Sunday, 14 riders went on a short ride to the west in the pastures, making a large loop and returning through Mummy canyon. We took some time for a photo shoot and Lil pointed out rock formations of Cochise’s head and the two whales leaping out of the water. We traveled about 5 miles in an hour and 45 minutes moving. We were stopped about 40 minutes. The riders returned to
camp and began to break camp. It was an enjoyable weekend!

15 riders joined Don and Colleen Finlayson at 9:30 am for a scenic ride into Saguaro NP East. Shortly after hitting the trail we spotted a magnificent crested Saguaro with the largest crest several of us had seen. This was the first ride at Saguaro NP East for some and we were not disappointed--lots of trees and cacti plus well-managed/marked trails. As promised the ride level was suitable for horses inexperienced with group rides or other trail challenges. The ride was just under 3 hours traveling 8.09 miles with a moving speed of 3 mph. The perfect weather coupled with a fun group made for a truly enjoyable ride.
~ Written by Pam Oldfield​


February 11, 2018​







Photos by

Rebecca Pferdeort


Diane Fouts​

Photos by:

Carolyn Pferdeort
Becky Tucker-Hardy

​​The ability to share our wonderful rides here on the web site and in the newsletter with those who weren't able to attend a ride, or those who are considering going on our rides and want to see what they've been missing, is totally dependent on those who have gone on them submitting pictures they have taken, volunteering to do the write-ups on them, and send to both to the club Newsletter EditorAND to the Webmaster of the website via email.  Pictures must be in jpeg format and attached (not embedded in the text body) of the email!  Ride reports are typically posted in the next newsletter they are received before the deadline.  Please help us continue to support this tradition of sharing the fun and scenery we have on our rides by submitting your pictures and write ups to both​ the newsletter editor Linda Dahl at tscnews@hotmail.com and the Webmaster Dan Simmons at sgtsimmons1@dakotacom.net . Thank you.)​

I knew this would be a fun day when I hopped into Fancy’s (Loretta Rowley’s) trailer! We drove and drove and drove: new sights through the windows and new scents on the breeze. The end of the drive was uphill twists and turns and
then we were there! Wow! 15 Saddle club buddies and a bunch of strangers in a beautiful equine complex called Hay Creek Ranch overlooking a broad valley.  We parked next to a long line of pipe corrals near a mare motel. There was
a big parking area on the other side filled with RVs and LQs belonging to the people of the boarding horses and up the hill was a set of rooms for people without campers and a group room: what a concept!

Mountains and crest lines loomed over us as the trail ride headed out led

by Frank Santana on one of his Arizona Trail horses. Through the one and

only gate we filed and headed on down a rocky hill and up a rocky hill and

up and up and up. Trucks and ATVs were easy peasy for our courageous

group. We can all handle screaming police cars, smoke and fire! Up over a

ridge line, then working our way up a canyon we passed boulders bigger

than me! Bigger than Fancy! Bigger than that big black Shocker (Linda

Dahl)!  How did they get here? Looking up I figured it out! Boulders and

outcroppings poised on the steep walls. Awesome!

Suddenly there was a steep ridge of grey rocks in front of us. Frank led small groups of three and four up the hill, along the top and then back. I was curious!  What's up there that's so special? Three spooky dark entrances into the hill concealed by bushes and trees. Mines! And all that grey rock? Tailings pulled out of the mines in a quest for silver and gold. People sure work hard for glitter.

                                                                            Another long climb, more rocks but nothing too tough. We can do this.                                                                                We hardly noticed the climbing with all the interesting trees and twists                                                                                  and turns. Oh good, lunch break! What a view! 1200 feet above our                                                                                    trailers. Away out
                                                                            there was the San Pedro River and we could see the glowing cliffs at                                                                                  Sacaton Bingham Ranch. Tying up to well trimmed pines, we felt like we                                                                              each had our own private space. Thanks for the apple, Mom. After a                                                                                   long relaxed lunch, our riders
                                                                           had their choice of lots of mounting boulders!

Here we all go again: down hill, up hill, down, down, down, around and up. Old mine roads for side by side visiting and narrow trails, mild drop offs and then, really?  Down that? YumYum (Joanne Triplett) thought it was weird but she did it. I can too.

With all the hunt activity in the area, wildlife sightings were limited to birds. But as we moved along a beautiful tree-lined road, suddenly a skunk appeared, marching determinedly toward the horses. Thankfully he veered off into a wooded wash never sharing his perfume. That was enough wildlife for one day.

Hey! Our trailer, I know we're headed back! Yippee! So happy I'm going to

dance! All the way back! Ok, Fritz (Steve Pferdeort) and General (Don

Finlayson) remind me how to slow motion and flat foot. Everyone else is

well behaved and calm, enjoying the big country scenery as we covered

9.3 miles in 3 hours 15 minutes. Add an hour for lunch. A good day!

Cheerful conversations, happy comments about the ride and making plans

for future get togethers; maybe Tierra Bella at Hay Creek? I'm going to try some new dance steps.

​~ Written by Sandy Pony (Mary Karrels typist); contributions from Loretta Rowley and Steve Pferdeort

** Added info from Loretta Rowley: Our ride leader, Frank Santana is staying at Hay Creek Ranch while he and a friend are riding southern Arizona sections of the Arizona Trail. His horses are not only saddle savvy, they work as a team pulling his wagon up and down the mountain mine roads. When asked about the challenges of descending steep grades he replied, "I built that wagon and it has great brakes!" No wonder his horses are in such fantastic shape!​

On February 22, eight TSC members assembled on a dark, chilly morning to ride in the Tucson Rodeo Parade. Our line-up number was 121. We weren't at the end with the street sweepers! Donuts were a welcomed treat from Becky as she organized the group. We parked on Fair Avenue by our line-up spot. Bonnie enticed some of us to her camper for more donuts! As the sun rose over the Rincons, the riders began to tack up. Frank S. and his horse proudly carried the American Flag and looked sharp in his leather jacket. Some saluted or put their hands or hats over their hearts as the flag passed by. Carolyn and Finnigan carried the Arizona flag. Spectators liked her "horse"! Michelle Casey carried the TSC flag. She and her horse dazzled parade goers with teal flowers in the mane and tail with the club banner on her horse's rump. Also in the line-up were Amy R., Jennifer B., Don F., and Steve. The Buena HS Band was in front
of us and a mule team with bells behind us. The riders finished the parade without incident and were able to shed a layer. Hopefully, Becky will be healed and able to ride with us next year. The morning was a good one!

~ Written by: Steve​ Pferdeort

On February 11, Pamela led nine riders on the Urban Ride. Art was the drag for a total of ten riders. A new member, Sarah, joined us. Letha was back in the saddle! Three horses had red ribbons in their tails. The slight breeze kept some of the dust off the riders. It was a cool morning to begin with as the riders dropped down into the Agua Caliente Wash.  None of the animals were afraid of the traffic overhead as we went under the bridges. Riders rode in the cool shade of trees to a pond then back towards the trailers. A lonely coyote was awakened and he trotted off. The obstacle of a step-over bar was too much for a couple of horses. When the riders dismounted, the horses went over the bar. After just over 2 hours, the riders returned to the trailers. The ride was about 6.5 miles long. Thanks to Pamela and Art for leading this ride.                                                                                                         ~ Written by Steve Pferdeort​


January 27, 2018​


​Click on Photos button below to see ride pictures:

Ride Reports

Thanks to Karen Lake and the Pferdeort team of Carolyn and Rebecca, 14 riders found our way through the beautiful hills and the canyons of the Catalina Mtns. We got to see a nice little dam and it's pools and the horses got to splash through a few streams of that cool mountain water. We ended up stopping for lunch in a beautiful opening under the watch of Thimble Rock with an expansive view of Tucson below. Wearing my flannel shirt open over a t-shirt, it felt more like a fall ride with all the fallen leaves, golden grass and that little bit of overcast sky. We traveled 9.8 miles in the 4-1/2 hrs we were out and climbed just over 1300 ft. It was a good work out and a ride well done! Didn't catch that little bit of rain until I was down off the mountain either!
~ Written by Diane Fouts​

16 riders set out on a sunny and comfortably cool morning for a 5 hour ride after a quick temperature check for the health and safety of our horses. Our destination was two great landmarks in the Santa Rita Mountains that I had missed seeing on the Fish Canyon Tierra Bella. The little Arizona Heritage horse (Spanish Barb) I was riding handled the 9 miles of trail and 1500 ft of climbing effortlessly.  At our first stop we got off our horses and took a short hike to find the Bathtub Spring. The best view was found by climbing a ladder up the rock wall. It was amazing to see. There were even icicles at the bottom where it overflowed to the pond below. The next stop was lunch at El Pilar and another short hike to see more water that came forth from the rocks! It was all so beautiful to see. Thank you Bonnie and Diane for leading us there and to Don for being Drag.                                                                                 ~ Written by Diane Fouts​


February 10, 2018​


March 7, 2018​

February 22, 2018


April 27-29, 2018​