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Back Country riders made it from Norco to Bishop!
Follow their journey…

After months of planning—and training—Mike Williams and Rebekah Wan completed a 320-plus mile trek from Norco to Bishop. A foursome of Mike, Rebekah, Linda Wesch and Carol Kelly left SoCal Equine Hospital on Sixth Street at 8:02 a.m., Friday, May 3, and Mike and Rebekah reached Bishop Wednesday, May 22.


Day 20:  Made it!…we arrived in Bishop!

Wednesday, May 22
20.2 miles / 5 hours, 21 minutes / 482 ft. / 3.8 mph

We made it! 320-plus miles in 19 days through mountain ranges, desert, flood plains, aqueducts, streams, train tracks, trestles, wind, rain, heat … and patience. All the horses are showing the wear-and-tear, as are the riders, but they all made it! Mike and Rebekah are ready for some good R&R —  no more midnight waterings, 4 a.m. feedings, 7-8 a.m. starts in the saddle, and riding from dawn to dusk. The horses are ready to relax, heal up from some minor scrapes and soreness. After 320-plus miles, Mike has lost weight, Rebekah is already talking about another ride, and the horses all look healthy. They have kept their weight and look stoic, and the spouses are ready for their loved ones to be home.

Upon their arrival in Bishop, Mike and Rebekah were greeted by Backcountry Horsemen of California members Alan Sanderson, the Moslers, and Terry Jorgenson. What a day! Here’s the final leg of the journey: http://bit.ly/190522-Day20

Mike Williams and Cowboy look good at the end of the 320-mile trail

Day 19: It’s the homestretch

Tuesday, May 21
14.5 miles / 3 hours, 55 minutes / 446 ft. / 3.7 mph

We trailered out to Taboose to pick up the trail Mike and Rebekah left yesterday. All four horses are with them.  http://bit.ly/190521-Day19

Mike and Rebekah near Independence

Day 18: Going in circles!

Monday, May 20
21.8 miles / 5 hours, 57 minutes / 312 feet / 3.7 mph

Today’s ride took Mike and Rebekah to Taboose where they were picked up and taken back to Independence to spend one more night. Only took two of the four horses today and left two in camp to have a break from yesterday. Land-locked on several occasions, we had to go in what seemed like circles! You can follow the crazy route here:  http://bit.ly/190520-Day18

Just a couple days away after Day 18.

Day 17: An extremely HARD ride

Sunday, May 19
26.9 miles / 8 hours, 18 minutes / 1,234 ft. / 3.2 mph

Today’s ride was extremely hard. Between the wind, locked gates, inaccessibility because of floods and washouts, and again wind, it became a hard day for horses, riders, and our ground crew. We had over 50-mph gusts and were told that some gusts exceeded 70 mph. We were all exhausted when we arrived in Lone Pine. The longest day yet. Tomorrow will bring us a shorter day — 17 miles and three days away from our final destination. Follow our challenging day here: http://bit.ly/190519-Day17

Day 17…the longest, windiest day of the trip.

Days 15-16: Let’s give horses a break

Friday, May 17

Time for a layover and let the horses have a break, get laundry done and have some down time. Sigrid came up and made our meals and then we all enjoyed a movie (The Man From Snowy River) and popcorn along with some liquid refreshments.

Saturday, May 18

Another layover day to relax. Another movie (“Return to Snowy River”). Sigrid made tri-tip today with baked potatoes and beans. No one can say we didn’t eat right on this trip. Some shopping done earlier this morning to buy the rest of the food supplies for our last week.

 


Day 14: Slight change of route today

Thursday, May 16
26.3 miles / 7 hours, 57 minutes / 1,644 ft. / 3.3 mph

Last night was a cold windy night. Rain in the forecast and 50 mph gusts. Mike and Rebekah have decided not to trailblaze today and use the DWP access road to take them into Lone Pine.  Follow the day here:  http://bit.ly/190516-Day14


Day 13: Steak & Eggs

Wednesday, May 15
21.4 miles / 6 hours, 22 minutes / 801 ft. / 3.4 mph

Riding to Olancha tonight. Breakfast this morning consisted of steak and eggs. Only the best for our loved ones. Mike, Rebekah and the horses had to go through a boulder field and had to rock hop for several miles. Horses were quite tired after their day. They rode a little over 21 miles.
Relive the day here: http://bit.ly/190515-Day13


Day 12: Sharing the trail with sheep

Tuesday, May 14
17.4 miles / 5 hours, 13 minutes / 1762 ft. / 3.3 mph

Riding toward Lonepine today. Staying in Coso Junction tonight. Shorter day than normal—only 17 miles. Mike, Rebekah and their horses Cowboy, Razor, Jack and Fancy had to ride among the sheep that were on the DWP trail.
Relive the day here: http://bit.ly/190513-Day12


Day 11: Today was a HOT one!

Monday, May 13
16.8 miles / 4 hours, 52 minutes / 384 ft. / 3.5 mph

Extremely hot day riding through the desert. Over 90°. Had to stop several times to allow the horses to rest. Water was limited. Staged at 9-mile. Heavy wind. Dale Crawford joined the team today to provide ground support for the next several days.
Relive the day here: http://bit.ly/190513-Day11


Day 10: Time to rest… and add horses

Sunday, May 12

Day off for the horses in Inyokern, to re-up on supplies and do laundry. Sigrid arrived with a second horse for Mike. Both Mike and Rebekah are ponying a second horse so they can switch off every few days. All four horses are now on the journey.


Day 9: Happy Birthday, Mike!

Saturday, May 11
24.7 miles / 6 hours, 55 minutes / 922 ft. / 3.6 mph

Long day in the saddle but it was beautiful. That evening Misha surprised Mike with a homemade birthday cake. 58 candles, no fire permit needed. Relive the day here: http://bit.ly/190511-Day9


Day 8: Rest day following a night of heavy rain

Friday, May 10

Rained like crazy last night. Everything got wet. The group decided to take today off and ride tomorrow instead. Misha, Rebekah’s daughter came out to help this morning with the trailer and moved horses to Ridgecrest for the day and overnight so they would be under cover instead of in the open desert. Today was the last day that Carol and Linda are riding with Mike and Rebekah. Tomorrow it becomes a two-person ride unless others decide to join. Pete also leaves as ground crew support and Misha and Nolan begin the chore of keeping everything in order.

Just 158 miles to Bishop!

Day 7: Halfway to Bishop! Trek continues…

Thursday, May 9
25.3 miles / 6 hours, 37 minutes / 1,270 ft. / 3.8 mph

After a week’s worth of riding, the halfway point has been reached! Relive the day here: http://bit.ly/190509-Day7


Day 6: Making progress along Highway 395

Wednesday, May 8
23.8 miles / 6 hours, 20 minutes / 692 ft. / 3.8 mph

Today, the group traveled about 300 yards off of west side of Highway 395, finishing two miles north of Kramer Junction. According to Mike, the day was uneventful. The day got warm, but they had two water stops. They crossed the 58 behind the truck stop which turned out to be pretty easy. Everything worked in their favor! Relive their day with this link: http://bit.ly/190508-Day6


Day 5: After a windy, damp start…sunshine

Tuesday, May 7
24.8 miles / 6 hours, 31 minutes / 220 ft. / 3.8 mph

Horses and riders took a one-day break on a Day 4 layover in Phelan, and it also marked the first day of cold wind and rain. Day 5 started with Mike and the group in thick fog—everything was damp. They rode through heavy wind which made for a long ride, but eventually it warmed up. They stayed on trail until they got north of Adelanto and then cut across the desert to their overnight destination. Relive their day on the link!: http://bit.ly/190507-Day5


Sunday, May 5

Day 3: Through the Cajon Pass

Sunday, May 5
21.8 miles / 6 hrs, 11 mins / 2,789 ft. / 3.5 mph

The group traveled along Highway 66 through Cajon Pass to Phelan. Water stop for the horses and lunch stop for the riders along the PCT at the 138. 21.8 miles / 6 hours, 11 minutes / 2,789 ft. / 3.5 mph. Follow their Day 3 route with this link!: http://bit.ly/190506-TrailRide


Saturday, May 4

Day 2: Along the Santa Ana River basin

Saturday, May 4
18.8 miles / 5 hrs, 25 mins / 1,325 ft. / 3.5 mph

An uneventful day… after leaving Grand Terrace, they traveled through the Santa Ana River Basin and the city of Colton to reach Saturday’s final destination, Devore. Ride along with the day’s link: http://bit.ly/190504-TrailRide


Friday, May 3

Day 1: Journey begins!

Friday, May 3
19.6 miles / 5 hrs, 18 mins / 909 ft. / 3.7 mph

Mike Williams, Rebecca Wan, Linda Wesch and Carol Kelly left Socal Equine Hospital at 8:02 a.m. on the 320-plus mile ride from Norco to Bishop. First night’s camp: Grand Terrace. Relive the first day: http://bit.ly/190503-TrailRide


Get the story! Here’s background on the riders and the ride…

If you missed the California Horsetrader’s Feb. 1 cover article on the ride, get the story by clicking here: http://bit.ly/1902-TrailRide

Mike Williams, Rebekah Wan and “Cowboy” on Feb. 1 Horsetrader cover

An affair in Horsetown USA

From Horsetrader staff reports - November 2nd, 2018

Andrea Kaus photo

Andrea Kaus photo

NORCO—From the mounted shooting to carriage driving—and everything in-between, it seemed—the Second Annual Norco Horse Affair brought Ingalls Park Equestrian Center to life Oct. 5-7. Presented by The Thrifty Horse Consignment Shoppe, the event drew attendees from throughout Southern California to enjoy three days of seminars, entertainment and shopping the wares of more than 35 vendors.

More online: http://bit.ly/811_Norco

The Norco Experience

Take a ride with a hometown author through Horsetown USA

By Audrey Pavia | for the Horsetrader - October 4th, 2018

EDITOR’S NOTE: Longtime Norco resident Audrey Pavia, an award-winning author and avid horsewoman, shares a slice of life in her beloved community by taking us on one of her favorite routes.

Norco residents pose for a 2013 community photo by photographer Brigitte Jouxtel at Pike’s Peak Park to commemorate an iconic Pedley Field Photo taken 15 years earlier.

Norco residents pose for a 2013 community photo by photographer Brigitte Jouxtel at Pike’s Peak Park to commemorate an iconic Pedley Field Photo taken 15 years earlier.

Brigitte Jouxtel photo

The sun is hanging low in the sky, and the gentle afternoon breeze has arrived. It’s time to saddle up my Spanish Mustang, Milagro, and go for a ride through Norco.

I step outside my back door and Milagro whinnies to me. He knows the drill. I saddle him up and lead him to the front yard. We pick up the trail right across the street from my house. That’s how easy it is to go riding in Norco.

We head south on the Hillside Avenue trail, passing an assortment of paddocks and driveways. Milagro takes a good look at a peacock perched on a fence in a nearby yard. He’s familiar with the flock of feral peacocks that live on this part of Hillside. He then glances up at a yard across the street, where a few alpacas, a miniature horse and two Haflingers are sharing their dinner. There’s always something interesting to see in Norco.

The trail curves and we are on Third Street, headed toward Norco High School. We cross third and walk along the narrow dirt shoulder skirting the high school football field. The field is quiet today, and we pass without incident, turning right on Second Street. This is the way we need to go if we want to pass our first landmark for the ride: Disney’s Circle D Ranch.

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The sense of community and the freedom to ride my horse out my gate to miles of riding trails on all the different terrain, mountains, street or river—we have it all. I call it “Equine Therapy”!
–Michele Steeber

My favorite part of life in Horsetown USA is the designated horse trail on every street in the city. As a horselover from as far back as I can remember, I feel at home here in Norco, where everything is about the horse. We have horse shows, equestrians groups, learning opportunities, a river to ride through, lots of feed stores and horse supplies. Everyone seems to be like-minded. We moved to Norco in 1985 and had to leave in 2012 to take care of an ill relative who lived in the mountains of Colorado. Our aunt has passed away, and we were able to move back home to our beloved Norco. My horses love Norco, too—as shown by the big smile!
–Marsha Carey

The best part of living in Norco is that you can ride your horse anywhere, and there are so many beautiful trails at the Santa Ana Riverbed. Everything is so country in this little town!
–Gabriela T.

Norco is the last full service, semi-rural, equestrian community in Southern California: a patch of green surrounded by a sea of ever growing concrete – we must not take this for granted and fight to protect our large lots, to trails to open space!
–Kevin Bash

Norco IS Horsetown USA! It’s like no other place I know. This is where horsemen meet, work, shop and play, and that is why we moved our business here. It’s an eclectic tapestry of horse people and that enriches our lives.
–Fran Klovstad

Friday, April 22nd – Ingalls Park
7 pm – Extreme Ranch Rodeo
5:30 pm – Gates Open, Children 3 and under free!
Come out and see all our vendors!

Making Norco Horsetown USA

It takes horses, horse people and horse professionals to create a one-of-a-kind home like Norco

- April 21st, 2016

Norco Ranch Outfitters
(951) 735-4130
Norco Ranch Outfitters has been supplying horse and rider for over 30 years. Carrying the top brands of saddles, tack, clothing, boots, helmets; and offering free saddle fitting and a full line of farrier supplies (with the NRO Farrier Club), Norco Ranch has become the one stop shop for your equestrian needs. Recently remodeled and merchandised to help shoppers flow through the store more easily to find what they are looking for, NRO staff is at hand to give you the complete shopping experience. Be sure to save the date for their Annual Parking Lot Tack Swap Meet on Sunday, May 1st. This is the time to clean out the tack room and sell those pieces you just don’t use any longer. Be sure to stop by during Norco Horseweek and say hello. You never know who or what will be in store.

Malcolm Miller

City Of Norco photo

Malcolm Miller

NORCO, CA – Memorial services were held at Nellie Weaver Hall Tuesday, Nov. 23, for Norco Mayor Malcolm Miller, who passed away Nov. 17 after battling with liver cancer that had been diagnosed in August.

Dr. Miller, 65, a retired anesthesiologist, was in his first four-year council term after being elected in 2007. His gentle, intellectual manner were combined with a drive to preserve and enjoy his community’s equestrian lifestyle. He saw his role as one who could influence long-term implications of City Council decisions – and also prevent council members’ political differences over them to become personal. Two weeks before his death, he had announced that he would take a 10-week leave of absence to receive treatment.

A Party for Hail Yeah

From the Horsetrader sales staff - August 5th, 2010

The City Of Norco’s official mascot, the Mustang “Hail Yeah”, celebrated his sixth birthday July 10 at Starbrite Riding Academy with 500 of his closest two-legged friends (above), ranging from well-wishing Norco councilmen and dignitaries to children with hand-made “Hail Yeah” dolls – as well as plenty of gift carrots (including carrot cake). To enliven the party, O.H. Kruse Feed and Alltech sponsored a Kentucky bluegrass barbeque with Tom Cunningham and his talented band. Scott Helms of Ramona won the raffle for tickets to the Alltech World Equestrian Games in Lexington, Ky., this fall. All proceeds benefitted the Compton Junior Posse, which received $1,729. O.H. Kruse sponsored the Compton Posse to attend a clinic with Hail Yeah’s trainer, Ray Ariss, in the morning before the celebration, which capped off a festive day at Starbrite Riding Academy. At right, Hail Yeah and his trainer, host Ray Ariss, receive a birthday present from Carson Badger, age 9, of Norco.

More photos: http://news.horsetrader.com/media/hailyeah/

Sermon on the trail

'Deacon' takes Extreme Trail Challenge in Norco

Special to the Horsetrader - June 3rd, 2010

Julie Bryant photo

Gary Wedemeyer of Winton and The Deacon win the 2010 Extreme Mustang Makeover Trail Challenge in Norco May 14-16.

NORCO — The Deacon, a well-made American Mustang trained by Gary Wedemeyer of Winton, seemed to come out of nowhere to preach a sermon on the talents of a wild horse with 90 days training. The 5-year-old gelding went on to take the win in the $9,000 Extreme Mustang Makeover Trail Challenge, held May 14-16.

The Norco event encompassed more elements than any other Extreme Mustang Makeover held this season. Not only did Mustangs and their trainers compete in the routine body conditioning, but also in hand and under saddle obstacle courses.
How challenging was the four-mile trail course?

“The only way up the hill was with an ATV or horse,” said Mustang Heritage Foundation Executive Director Patti Colbert. “The ruggedness was a production challenge, too. The very best challenge was thanking the more than 40 volunteers that helped us, and eating at every Norco restaurant where we heard ‘there’s those Mustang people, we love you!’ ”

Memories with Mom

What is YOUR favorite horse story shared with your mom?

By Horsetrader readers - May 6th, 2010

Keeping the pony dry…
Venice Liston, Riverside, Ca
I’m the mother — but I thought I’d share our story. I was 29 and my daughter, Elishia, was 7 when we first got into horses – and we got her first pony. He was a Shetland Pinto, about 11.1 hand (good thing my daughter is very small … she’s still 5-feet-4 at age 26 today!) We named him Oreo since he was black and white. We were new to horses, and this was our first small ranch. It was a stormy, rainy night after we had rain all day. We only had partial covers, so Oreo was soaking wet. I felt so badly because my daughter Elishia felt so sad for her pony. So, thinking I was doing a good thing for Oreo and my daughter, I brought Little Oreo into my living-room, in front of the fireplace. My daughter was so excited, she got her blowdryer and we proceeded to blow dry him. Well, we got him all dry and fluffy. He looked happy. Then my husband came into the living room and said, “Well now that you got him all dry, when are you taking him back outside to his stall?” Oh, Oh. We didn’t think that far. We just thought we were doing a good thing for Oreo, and I thought I was doing a good thing for my daughter. But poor Oreo, all nice and warm and dry in our living room, had to go outside back to his stall with the partial cover to get all wet again. I think we made it worse. We will never forget that. Now, after owning horses for about 21 years, we know better. Now I have a 3-acre ranch with about 18 horses — some mine, some boarders — and all have full covers.I have made sure of it. Not a one will get wet in the rain. Ever. In fact, I think the horses I’ve raised are very spoiled and they do not even know what rain is. (Don’t know if this is good or bad.) But at least I know, and my daugher knows, forever on my ranch no horse will stand in the rain again!