Issue 109 | May 2019

Your Monthly Access to the
Top Rated Trail Riding Show in the World,
Best of America by Horseback!
  Office Phone : 540-829-9555
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A Note from Tom Seay
Last week, many of you rode with me and crossed the 300,000 cumulative trail ride milestone. We were in South Carolina and it was a time of great celebration at our banquet. So many of you just got up and made comments about the show, Pat, me and the Best of America family. The Governor sent a letter and many old friends sent words as well. I never anticipated the depth of the kindness of so many people. I held it back but was overcome with deep emotion and so humbled by so many wonderful people that we have ridden with over the years. I was unable to find the words to say what I felt.
As unbelievable as it seems, the morning of the ride, during the National Anthem and Blessing of the Ride, I was remembering so many folks that have ridden with me that are no longer with us... Mike, Kathy, Liz, Mr. Barco, Aileen, and my dear friend, Mr. Abbott, as well as Pat's mom and so many others that have passed on when a great bald eagle came out of nowhere in the sky and circled the arena several times and then disappeared. People actually asked if we had arranged for an eagle to be released for the ceremony. I kinda think it was sent by those that have ridden with us to pay their respects to you and all our riders. Incredible. 

On reflection of the great rides in so many spectacular places, I remember two early original trail rides that I was sure were a true disaster but actually brought us to these great moments of achievement. You may enjoy the story but moreover how they changed our life and accomplishments. I think these events shaped our future.

The origin of our first rule, to scout and know everything about where we are taking folks, came from this story. Many, many years ago when I received a phone call from a group that asked me to guide them to a remote wilderness area for a horseback adventure, I agreed but did not know the area at all. Never been there. Knew nothing. I traveled there to ask locals to take me through the wilderness to the site along a river they wanted to camp. Along the way, I marked the trail with surveyors tape. I would place the tape out of general eyesight but close enough for me to see as a guide. The day of the ride came and a large group of us ventured into the wilderness, only to become lost... very lost. I followed the tape but really did not know the wilderness area there. What went wrong was there was a planned logging operation coming for select cut trees.  THEY also marked the trees they would take. Therefore, the ribbons I was following, were distant trees and took us in circles for a day until, late that evening, I found our way.

From that moment on, I never took a group anywhere that I had not first ridden or visited in person. I am in their trust and will never let anything happen to them. That includes the famous Atlantic to Pacific 3,311 mile trip or our Mexico to Canada trip. It also includes any local or weekend event.

The second terrible event was the first large organized ride from the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains all the way to the top of the mountain and back. There were over 100 horses and riders but many had never been on an organized ride. It appeared no one was ready at ride time. A couple of trusted friends asked if they could take the ride on the planned route as I attended to this rider or that rider or helped someone with a problem. When I finished sending off the last rider, I realized that the lead riders were almost to the mountain top and I could never catch up, even on a fast racehorse. My first ride was on the way back before I put my foot in the stirrup. I was beyond embarrassment.

That evening my wife had to force me to go to the dinner and dance. I knew I would be the laughing stock of everyone. However, the riders up front came and complimented me on a great ride and shared their appreciation on looking after the riders that needed help. The end riders could not thank me enough for taking care of each of them. To my amazement, everyone had a great time and I learned that success is not about me or being the Trail Master, but about making sure every rider is safe and comfortable. Sometimes you do not have to be out front to truly be a leader.

That thought came home to me on the Mexico to Canada trip. In a local restaurant in El Paso, a couple of ladies were eating lunch, and unknown to them, friends of mine were at the next table. They heard how much one lady did not like me and complained about everything. Her friend asked, "if you do not like Tom so much, why are you going on this big ride with him and for so long?" After all the insults, the greatest compliment was spoken that has guided my plans on every ride for these past 300,000 miles. Her answer was, " I know he will take care of me as he looks after the least among us as well as the best."  

I carry with me in my leather book and on every ride a letter that I think is from that lady. It was given to me on the last day of Mexico to Canada by a third party and left anonymously. Somehow I think it was from that lady. I often think of the Bible verse, of well done to a good and faithful servant. It is humbling to be able to serve you.

It has been such an incredible honor to take so many people to so many places. I kinda think it is about time to start heading back home. I trust you might join me on the return 300,000 miles. 

Thank you 

Tom Seay

This Saturday, May 11, 2019, the national television show Best of America by Horseback reached a historic trail riding milestone. Trail Master and Host Tom Seay and his Best of America by Horseback family of trail riders surpassed a cumulative total of 300,000 trail miles by riders on the television show. This happened during a filmed trail ride in South Carolina at H. Cooper Black State Park. The total miles represent participation by riders from every state, countless countries, and every continent in the world.

Best of America by Horseback is blessed to be the top trail riding television show in the world. Most people do not know the goodwill, kindness, and how many hearts have been touched by the television show. All of you have been a part of this wonderful journey and we are so grateful to have been able to share these miles with you.

We asked past locations, sponsors, and friends of the show to share a few words with you, our riders, to help us celebrate and commemorate this wonderful occasion.
Join Us at Events Across the Country
Cattle Drive Weekend
Culpeper, VA - May 31-June 1

Join Tom and Pat Seay at their working cattle farm in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains for a weekend in the great outdoors. You and your horse will learn to drive cattle with other riders across nearly 300 acres at Andora Farm -- no experience required.

Call 540-829-9555 for reservations.

Historic Chisholm Trail
Caldwell, KS to Wichita, KS - June 4-8

Tom Seay and Best of America by Horseback are filming a special four part series on the Historic Chisholm Trail in Kansas! Join us for a once-in-a-lifetime, five day ride along the original trail where you can witness an old west gun fight, drive cattle along the route, eat dinner at a chuck wagon, learn from local historians, and round out each night with cowboy music by our friend, Del Shields. You don't want to miss this!

Call 540-829-9555 for reservations.

Wrangler's Campground at Land Between the Lakes
Golden Pond, KY - June 18-20

Explore this riding oasis with over 100 miles of trails on the Land Between the Lakes National Recreational Area in southwestern Kentucky. Horse and wagon trails lead to some of the most scenic spots in the area as well as historic sites like the ruins of Laura Iron Furnace and an abandoned homestead and farm.

Call 540-829-9555 for reservations.

Hang 'Em High Horse Camp
London, KY - June 21-23

Nestled in the Daniel Boone National Forest, Hang 'Em High is a a getaway for horses, mules, and the folks who love them. The horse camp is run by trail riders, so they know what trail riders love. Join us in eastern Kentucky for this filmed-for-television trail ride!

Sept 28-Oct 1:   RFD-TV The Ranch - NM

Oct 3-6:   RFD-TV The Ranch - NM

Oct 9-12:   RFD- TV The Ranch - NM

Nov 14th-16th: S henandoah Valley Equine Expo - VA
Know of a great trail riding location where you think Best of America by Horseback should go next?
Best of America by Horseback is Proudly Sponsored by Priefert
Priefert's Ponderosa Fence offers you the convenience of no-weld fencing that is easy to install and easy to maintain. All steel components are powder coated to provide a beautiful and durable finish that does not require re-painting down the road. Our line of fencing products are used around the world and even line the ranch of Country Music Legend George Strait!
Does Your Horse Respect You?
by Nancy Spoolstra, DVM
What does it look like when you have your horse’s respect?

I am known as “the Dog Whisperer”. Currently I have five dogs… four of them are Border collies or BC/Aussie mixes. One is a black German shepherd. Four of the five are rescues. I can put my dogs in a down stay and they will hang out on my step landing for hours while I have a party.
When we take our daily walk, there is a very small section where we have to walk on a road. If a car comes, they come to me immediately and all lie down off the side of the road. My boyfriend and I just took all five dogs to his lake house last weekend. Everyone was amazed at how the five dogs would run ahead of the golf cart down to the dock, jump on the boat and lie down when told, and generally behave like the stellar dogs they are.

So given that fact about how I handle my dogs, I am really not sure why I didn’t understand the message my young trainer was trying to give me a few years ago when she noticed how disrespectfully my gray Arabian, Kadeen, behaved around me. She really did encourage me to not let him get into my “bubble” and do other somewhat subtle things that screamed a lack of respect. But for whatever reason, I didn’t get what she was trying to tell me.

Fast forward to one weekend where I went to a cattle roundup clinic/working weekend. The owner of the ranch was a great horseman as well as a knowledgeable rancher. The first day we worked cows in a pen… a nice enclosed space. Kadeen did fine, notwithstanding the fact that he jigged from the stall area all the way down the road to the pens, rather than a nice, flatfooted relaxed walk. He waded in amongst the steers with little understanding of what he was supposed to do but no fear about being surrounded by cattle. The next day, however, we were out in an open field, gathering up a herd. Kadeen is the typical high energy, competitive Arabian, and he was wired that day. All day long he jigged and pranced and piaffed relentlessly. By the end of the day I was totally exhausted. I had been riding a volcano all day long. On the way back, David, the ranch owner, asked if I wanted to swap horses with him? He quietly said to me, “You know you don’t have the level of respect you should have from your horse. He respects you some or he would have dumped you long ago, but you only have half of what you need.” I gladly swapped horses with him. I was never so glad to crawl onto the back of a sedate Quarter horse as I was that day.

As soon as we returned to camp, David beckoned for me to follow him and he took Kadeen to the high walled, enclosed round pen. It was there that my eyes were opened. The Dog Whisperer, the lady who can make a pack of dogs do her bidding, was totally shocked at how disrespectful my horse was in that round pen session. It was clear even to me that Kadeen thought he was hot stuff and didn’t need to do what he was asked to do.

I came home from that “A-ha!” weekend and told my trainer what I had learned. From that day forward I “raised the bar” with Kadeen and our relationship has been so much better ever since. Now I have a new horse, a 7 year old half-Arabian, half-QH/Thoroughbred gelding named Finn. I bought him late last summer but he didn’t get much work this past winter as we had a very cold winter here in Kansas. I have a lot of work to do with him to get our relationship to where it needs to be. 

This is part one of a five part series. You can read more on Nancy's blog here .
ID MyHorse Emergency Tags are available for purchase here .
Previously owned by radio personality Don Imus and his family, the RFD-TV The Ranch sprawls across over 3,000 acres and is the perfect southwestern getaway. Amenities include trails for horseback riding and walking, sport shooting, bass fishing, outdoor games, and a crystal blue pool for cooling off after a long day in the New Mexico sun. There is also a large, family-style gathering area in the Hacienda (pictured below) as well as a game room and library.

The Ranch has rodeo arenas and beautifully maintained equine facilities for your own horses, but you can also choose to ride one of the ranch's own horses along the trails. Part of the National Historic Santa Fe Trail runs right through the property. Tom Seay traveled this very part of the trail during his Atlantic to Pacific Trail Ride!
Overnight accommodations can be made in their Old West Town or guests can spring for a luxurious stay in their gorgeous adobe Hacienda, both pictured below.

Finding the right time to book your ideal stay at RFD-TV The Ranch is easier than ever with several dates and special reduced rates for Best of America by Horseback in New Mexico available this year. Choose your stay below!

Sept 28-Oct 1
Oct 3-6
Oct 9-12
Reservations should be made with
RFD-TV The Ranch directly.
To book accommodations, simply call or visit
Guests can stay overnight in the Hacienda
The Ranch has its very own Old West Town
The Hacienda features a warm, spacious, family-style living room.
History of Chuck Wagons
Story by R. Edison
There is a majestic beauty viewing over the massive grazing lands that run from Texas north through the Dakotas reaching into Canada. These plains expanded westward into Colorado meeting the rocky mountains and northwest to the Cascade Mountain Range. Scenic hills covered in tall Buffalo grass that whispers its historic past as one might sit silent reflecting upon the romantic images of the American West. As the wind blows through the wild blades of green stems that still flourish today, the sounds of the cowboys yawp can nearly be heard as they command their livestock on the long cattle-drives. Today, no other item best reflects the images of those cowboys who worked the cattle drives than the “Chuck Wagon”.   

The Chuck wagon was perhaps used in some form before its true invention. As many ranches moved cattle using a supply wagon during the drive. While the famous cattle drives begin in 1866 after the civil war, Longhorn cattle had been driven too Louisiana before Texas became the Great Republic in 1836. 

Prior to the Chuckwagon, Cowboys often relied on eating what they carried in their saddle bags such as dried beef, corn fitters or biscuits. However, little demand for selling beef beyond locate markets did not come about until the end of the American civil war. Philip Danforth Armour opened a meat packing plant in Chicago, Illinois that became known as the Armour and Company. Additionally, demand for beef was growing throughout the eastern states which brought sells at $40 a head and the demand to move cattle from Texas. 

In 1866, cattleman Charles Goodnight knowing the importance of logistics for his crew to drive cattle required daily meals, bedrolls, extra gear and supplies. A humble Cowboy could work harder on a full stomach and a good night sleep. The trail would often last two or more months moving cattle several miles each day. Some drives lasting up to five months. Goodnight took a surplus Army Wagon made by Studebaker an added a large Pantry box to the wagon rear with a hinged door that laid flat to create a work table. The cook would then have everything he needed at arms length to prepare food. Shelves and drawers were added to the inside of the pantry to carry supplies and cooking gear. The larger pots, cast iron skillets and utensils would be carried in a box mounted below the pantry called the boot. The Army wagon merely was a light supply wagon of that period with Goodnight’s added design creating the invention of the CHUCK WAGON. During the Civil war, kitchen boxes were used by both the Armies of the North and South. They were set up with legs providing a work table and storage which may have lead to influenced the Goodnight design. Goodnight also called for heavier running gear to stand up to rugged country side. This design became so popular that Studebaker created a model called the “Round – Up” wagon by 1880. Several other wagon manufacturing businesses built similar type wagons where as the chuck wagons found there way operating in the United States and Canada. 
The name “Chuck” derived from 17th Century England as meat merchants who referred to their lower priced goods as “Chuck”. By the 18th Century, the term "chuck" was communicated towards good hearty food. It is of no wonder to take the name chuck for Goodnight’s simple creativity that revolutionized the cattle industry. 

The Chuckwagon would be equipped with the wide array of supplies needed to make the journey. While mostly thought of is the food and cooking gear, the supplies would include Farrier and Blacksmith tools for horseshoeing or making repairs to the wagon and horse tack. Sewing needles for mending clothing or saddles, first aid and alcohol tonics used for medicinal purposes. Bedrolls and rain slickers for the working cow hands along with the crew’s personal items. One side would be equipped with a large wooden water barrel to carry a two day supply for the working crew. The other side often had a tool box, as well a smaller attached wooden box in front called the jockey box. Additionally, the wagon would have a canvas cover called a Bonnet that had been treated in linseed oil to repel rain keeping items in the wagon dry. To allow headroom in the wagon, bows where added raising the canvas and providing securing points. Other wagon types used covers too such as the Conestogo for freight and the Prairie Schooner commonly used to move early pioneers across the United States as those who followed the Oregon Trail. Chuck wagons normally would be built from standard farm supply or feed wagon designs merely outfitted with the pantry box known as the “Chuck box” and water barrel. 

Some outfits would supply large tenting that could be extended from the wagon providing cover over the cooking area and gathering of the cowboys around the fire. Additional wood poles would be carried to prop the ends up erecting the canopy shelter. Furthermore, an additional single axle wagon could be trailer to the chuck wagon called a “pup” or “hoodlum” for larger crews requiring larger supplies. The average crew for a trail drive would include the trail boss, the cook about 15 hands to work the cattle of about 1,200 head along with 100 horses. The horses were changed out often sometimes three times in a day while working the cattle. 

Wood was a necessity for the daily cooking. With limited storage, the cow hands working the drive would pick dried logs and chop them as needed. A storage area called the possum belly was attached below the center of the wagon to the back axle. Though sometimes made from canvas, it often was made from the hide of a buffalo or steer that could store extra fire wood much like a hammock. Dried Buffalo chips along the trail would also be used to burn on camp fires when wood was not readily available. To make minor repairs to a wagon, axes and wood saws of various types would be carried along with wood shaving knives. Should a wheel break, spares rarely were carried and the outfit would have to be innovated. A jack was always among the tools used for lifting one side of the wagon should a wheel become damage.
Additionally, another tool known as a “Come-along” was taken to assist pulling wagons over high terrain, off a rock or out from mud should it become stuck. The come-along was a block and tackle rig using hemp rope that worked between two pulley blocks. 

Wagons could be pulled using oxen, mules or horses. Most wagon teams would be worked as paired units using two or four animals. This varied more over by the freight load and need for extra weight-hauling capacity. Mammoth Jacks (half donkey and half horse breed) were frequently used because of their strength hauling the wagon. 
Photo Courtesy of
The chuck wagon would be managed by the cook whom frequently received the nickname “Cookie”. He performed all the needs for the camp sites along the cattle drives. Additionally, he would be second in charge of the outfit to the trail boss. Due to his importance and position, the cook received pay around $45 per month while the wranglers and cow punchers received $25 to 30 dollars each month on a trail drive. They earn even much less working the many ranches. The Cowboys worked in shifts to watch and protect the cattle 24 hours a day. The herd would be moved in the daytime. At night cowboys watched over the cattle to prevent stampedes and deter rustling. Shifts lasted about four hours at night rotating to allow as much sleep before daylight operations. Although the cook never watched the cattle at night as he had other duties calling on a long day. Besides cooking, he was making repairs to equipment or nursing sick workers whom might have taken ill during the long drives. Cookie also was expected to act as Barber, Banker, Doctor, Dentist, letter writer and sometimes referee in camp should tensions flare amongst the hired hands. His normal day started hours before others. Getting up around three in the morning he started by grinding roasted coffee beans to make his blend of coffee. The hand grinder normally would be mounted to the outside of the pantry box. Then pinching some sourdough from the crock stored in the pantry as he blended this with more flour and water to make a large serving of biscuits. Fresh eggs or vegetables sometimes would be available as the trail boss may authorize trading a steer with some farmer along the trail drive. Though the daily norm was dried pork, beans and bread with the choice of water or coffee to drink. Beef was always readily available, thou ranchers did not care much for feeding their crew money on the hoof. The trail boss would be selective to what cattle might be cut from the herd and never was the prime stock selected. Normally it might be a steer that had difficulty staying up with the herd or some wild game. 
Coffee was brewed throwing in a handful of grounds to one cup of water. The enamelware coffee pot was large holding at least 20 or more cups. The coffee was always boiling hot and black. This coffee was known as “Six shooter” coffee strong enough to float a six gun pistol. When ready to serve, the cook poured a cup of cool water into the pot to settle the grounds to the bottom. Egg shell also could be added to the pot as many believe this would abet any bitter taste though it truly was to assist the grounds to sink to the bottom of the pot as does the effect of cold water. The coffee was always available and anyone free to pour them self a cup.
Early trail drives carried green coffee beans which required roasting before grinding. In 1865, two brothers, Charles and John Arbuckle, who were grocers in Pittsburgh, Pa. patented a process for roasting coffee beans. They roasted beans with a mix of egg white and sugar to preserve freshness. Pre-Roasted coffee was so successful that this process is still used today. While pouring a cup, someone might yell, ”Man at the Pot” indicating you need to pour everyone in desire a fresh cup. 

Plates were licked clean and the cook always had a wash bowl set out to put your empty plate in it after you finished your meal. Cookie’s job after having breakfast made for the crew would be cleaning up and packing the wagon to move forward finding the next stop along the trail drive. Then setting up camp and having another hot meal ready for dinner. Cookie’s held many responsibilities yet none as important as cooking a hearty meal. Most meals were cooked using cast iron skillets or Dutch ovens. Enamel wear was used mostly for plates, bowls, cups and utensils. Flour, sugar, vinegar, salt, pepper, potatoes, onions and beans made up most of the daily meals. Although can food items slowly found their way on the later trails drives as can foods were just being introduced and pricey. Sometimes, dried fruit or preserved fruits may make up some of Cookie’s pantry. 

The Chuck Wagon was home on the range for the hands. Sometimes the only home these hard working men ever really knew. Besides receiving hot meals smelling the aroma of smoke from the camp fire as it cooked down some tough beef, the rich hot coffee, and the fresh air of outdoors, the camp was where you socialized sharing stories of the day or one from the past. Surely some tall tales likely were spoken and perhaps one might be blessed with some natural musical talent. Nevertheless, the camp always had rules to follow and only a greenhorn might make error of breaking a camps unwritten law. Some things were merely common sense, other perhaps polite etiquette. Rules, like always ride your horse down wind of the wagon as not to kick up dust. No horse playing “being reckless” in the camp. Never tie any horse to the wagon. Cookie maintained the order. When time permit and if Cookie was feeling kind, he might bake deserts like peach cobbler or an apple pie. While near a river bank the hands took time for a bath removing the dirt from the dusty trail. Although, shaving gear and personal toilets were kept at the wagon. Cookie finished his day cleaning up and being ready to start out his morning repeating his normal routine. Lantern wicks turned out and cowboys climbed into their bed rolls. Only the sounds of perhaps a coyote in the hills, or an owl might sing into the night under the starlit sky. 
Though Cookie would always have a pot of fresh beans soaking in a pan of water making ready for cooking the next day. Meat did not preserve well as there was no refrigeration. Beef cuts would be wrapped during the day and unwrapped to cool during the night air. Beef stew was one of the most common served dinners known as Son of a bitch stew. Although, referred to as son of a gun stew and other names when around soft ears; young folks or ladies. 
The trail drive attracted men from all walks of life, some restless after the Civil War, others looking for a new start in life. Since early cattle development of the west began under the Spanish control during the 1700’s, many cowboys working the trail drives were Mexican-Indian decent known as vaqueros . Black Americans were also drawn to cowboy life. There was not quite as much discrimination in the west as in other areas of American society at the time. Regardless of ethnicity, most cowboys came from lower social classes and the pay was poor. 

As the railroad developed, cattle soon were transported in Stock Cars ending the era of the long cattle drives. Ranchers would not have to move their herds hundreds of miles to ship. Nevertheless, the chuck wagon continued to be useful during round up for large ranches as they made ready their cattle for market. The chuck wagon even made its way in use with logging camps. Though present day the chuck wagon may appear more novelty feeding guest or holding large barbecue events at Ranches, Rodeos and trail rides, it still brings a warm, hearty feeling to any crowd as they dine savoring sourdough biscuits. Today, the Chuck Wagon so historically represents the era of the trail drives and the Cowboys whom worked the cattle that it was Honor as the Texas State Vehicle and continues operations on many ranches nearly 150 years after its invention. It is no surprise to view a chuck wagon and immediately think of those nearly forgotten trails and the cowboys who drove over 10 million head of cattle to market. Trails of majestic beauty where you can nearly hear the wind echo a ringing camp bell and Cookie calling out, “Come and get it. Get it while its hot”. 
Why Go West?
Truck & Trailer Driving Clinic

November 3, 2019
Cattle Drive Weekend

May 31-June 1
June 14-15 
September 13-14
October 19-20*
Team Penning Practice

Every Friday, weather permitting
Now-November 1st
Experience the cowboy way of life on the east coast!
Call our office to plan your next visit to the farm
I Made a Huge Mistake...
by Carole Herder

In my never-ending quest to make life better for our beloved equine friends, I have done all I can to help educate horse owners around the world about the benefits of caring for their feet. Of course, we are a hoof boot company, so we absolutely advocate wearing  Cavallo Hoof Boots  for protection, injuries, laminitis and for all the other ways they provide comfort to your horse. But that’s not what I want to tell you. You see, I neglected something that I now realize is very important.
A few years ago, I was asked for insoles for sensitive hoofs, rehabilitation from shoeing, stimulation for blood circulation, to add increased cushion for problem conditions and endless other issues. I realized how beneficial insole pads would be and I flew into action to develop a great range of pads, which you can select for your own personal reasons and applications and simply place right inside your boots. The pads are the perfect complement to our boots, and I am so very grateful to you, our supportive community, for suggesting we make them. Your boundless input and thoughtful suggestions help us to improve, thus benefiting all. What a community!

These pads have even helped save horses’ lives! I am not kidding. They are awesome but, darn it - the packaging was NOT! I really didn’t even think about it – all these pairs of pads and all the plastic bags they are packaged in. Sheesh! How thoughtless can I be? I know, I know – ignorance is no excuse.

OK, now in my defense I was focused on the benefits to our horses and NOT on the PLANET! So, ooops – I am sorry, Planet Earth. It’s bad, but I am fixing it. Now,  in honour of Earth Day , (the global celebration which is an effective reminder) we are eradicating the plastic bags! And from here on in, at Cavallo, we will improve our awareness of our carbon footprint. As of today, we are eliminating the use of ALL plastic in production and replacing it with newly designed, smaller, less obtrusive packaging. From April 22 onwards, plastic will be replaced by 100% recycled paper for all of our pad packaging. We will continue to pursue and develop more ways to consciously consider our Earth and all that she provides for us.

I know it’s not a really big thing, but I believe that every bit helps. We cannot change past mistakes and oversights, but we can look to the future. I call upon all fellow equine industry companies to look at what they can do to make a change to more environmentally friendly practices. Together we make a difference. Even if it’s just one horse at a time.
A Quick Update from Belize
Dear Best of America by Horseback Family,

Thank you for your donations to pay tuition for the high school students!

Our students are taking part in the track and field competition and we are doing great! They won some medals already. The competition continues this Thursday (May 16th) and we hope to do well. 
We also managed to continue building the school stage. Jane and Alice send their donations to complete this project. We greatly appreciate their assistance and love for our school.
We are so grateful for all the support we are getting from Best of America by Horseback family.

Blessings, Jose, Valley of Peace Christian School
Cat Slusser

As a horse crazy kid, I drew a lot of horses, but very seldom had a chance to ride. That changed at age 40 when a dairy farmer friend in Orange County, VA let me ride her elderly pony gelding. On our first ride, he took off across a field and all the passion for horses came back like a bolt of lightning to the stomach. In that moment of epiphany, my life changed forever and I have never looked back.

Fast forward more than 25 years later to my first (of four so far) cattle drive at Andora Farm. Tom Seay asked if anyone in our group was nervous and my hand shot straight up. He and the Andora Farm crew kept an eye on me and he laughed when I took off following Kristen into the woods chasing down strays. He hadn’t asked what I was nervous about, and it wasn’t cows. My darling QH pony Whimsy loves trail riding and is good about working with cattle. What always makes me nervous is riding with a large group of horses, and riding out in the open fields, and there is a lot of that in herding cattle. Chasing individual cows in the woods was definitely “our thing.”

Why do I keep going back? Because every ride at Andora is a pleasure. Tom, Pat, Bea, Lisa, Matt, Jess, and all of the rest of the Andora Farm team are the most awesome hosts. The rides are fun and sometimes an adventure. (Whimsy no longer tries to lie down every time we cross the creek, but is still suspicious of the bull who could probably play the role of Ferdinand.) The food is out of this world! The camaraderie among both the hosts and the other riders is always warm and welcoming. Riding at Andora is more than a great horse experience, it is always a homecoming. Every time, I learn something new, make new friends, and build a better bond with my horse. What more can anyone ask for?

Thank you all at Andora Farm for wonderful times, and more to come!

Catherine (Cat) Slusser
What's your favorite trail riding memory?

Trail Club Members are invited to send in your favorite trail riding memory riding with Tom Seay and the Best of America by Horseback family, or regale us with an adventure you took all on your own.

Please include:
  • Your name(s)
  • State or province/country
  • Where you rode
  • Favorite part of the ride/funny story/whatever made it memorable for you
  • A photo or two from the ride
This Month's Giveaway Winners!
Richard & Vicky Larsen
is the May 2019 Winner of
one bottle of
The Miller Family
West Virginia
is the May 2019 Winner of
one pair of Trek Hoof Boots from
Equinutrix Fly Shield
Fly Shield Spray is designed to topically provide long lasting natural protection from biting insects. The botanical formula is ideal for use in horses and dogs to repel against biting insects while nourishing sensitive skin. It is gentle enough for daily use and NON-TOXIC.
  • Ideal for any setting where biting insects may cause discomfort or distraction
  • Easy to use spray bottle
  • Easy to use
  • Comprehensive formula helps deter biting insects
  • Contains Citronella Oil, an ingredient proven to work more efficiently than Permethrin and Pyrethrin spray concentrates
Rides for a Good Cause
Join us November 8-10, 2019
for a ride benefiting
Tallapoosa Girls Ranch
in Alabama

The Alabama Sheriff's Girls Ranches provide homes for girls in need of support. These facilities also provide extracurricular activities, mental health care, and meals for the residents. 100% of the proceeds generated will go directly to the Tallapoosa Girls Ranch!

Call 256-872-1535 to join the ride or donate

Join us April 24-26, 2020
for a ride benefiting
Horses for Hope
in North Carolina

Horses for Hope is a nonprofit organization that provides services like therapeutic riding for individuals with disabilities as well as horsemanship lessons and a variety of riding lessons. 100% of the proceeds will go directly to Horses for Hope!

Call 919-270-7832 to join the ride or donate
The Liz Malcolm Award
The Mike Phillips Award
The Aileen Livingston Award
The Liz Malcolm Award is given to someone in the horse world that helps others with compassion and dedication. Liz and her sister, Kathy Baldwin, rode with us on the famous Mexico to Canada Trail Ride. Both of these ladies are extraordinary in so many ways and have done so much for so many people. Liz & Kathy devoted their lives to nursing, and Kathy organized a medical mission to the children in Belize. Their love of training and riding Tennessee Walking Horses is well known. Liz passed away several years ago and we felt, like so many of you, that she and Kathy were truly part of everyone's family. We feel when we announce the winner this year, everyone will say, "Well yes, of course! Liz would be proud."
The Mike Phillips Award is given to modern-day trailblazers. Mike was a trail boss and close friend on the Mexico to Canada Ride. Mike needed heart surgery but rode from old Mexico with us along the Rio Grande and continued every inch for over 1,000 miles until he had to go have his surgery. A friend without boundaries to me and so many others, he never stopped wanting to care for all around him and to help people in any way. He and his devoted wife, Wanda, spent many years with us traveling until he passed away several years ago. He helped Back Country Horsemen, worked the trails, and his love of horses and trail riding was endless. He overcame health issues to help all of us. This year's award will go to someone that Mike would have loved to spend countless hours with. The person we will name has done so much for all of us, and you will enjoy learning about that person.
The Aileen Livingston Award is to honor one of the finest people we have ever known. We had the pleasure years ago to meet John Wayne and to spend a day with Roy Rogers, but it is Aileen Livingston that I tell people is my most inspiring hero. Her love of horses and trail riding is inspiring, and her compassion for life and those around her, even in the face of health issues, has no boundaries. Despite a dozen reasons not to go, she rode across the country with us, hopping and skipping from place to place, all the way to California. Aileen recently passed away in February of 2019.

Submit your nominations for the Annual
Best of America by Horseback Awards

Please include the nominee's name and the reason you think they should receive one of the three awards, including their services to their community &/or the horse world.
Accidents are Going to Happen - Be Aware & Be Prepared
by Heidi McLaughlin
I’m pretty sure that most of us have witnessed or experienced a few bad horse accidents in our lives, I know I have. These images, these experiences, all produce a trigger in our mind. We have opinions of what happened or confusion about what went wrong, but one thing is certain, it’s not something we will ever forget. What happens next, what we do with these experiences, shapes our mind’s future and how we move forward.
The mind is a powerful thing and we need to use it to our benefit instead of to our detriment. We can choose to become fearful or we can choose to be brave. While what we experienced may have been traumatic, it is now in the past and we must choose move on. We can allow it to paralyze us or we can learn from it and become stronger. Remember, you cannot start the next chapter in your life, if you keep rereading the past! I have chosen to learn from my past.
Unfortunately, one of the things that I feel is lacking with a lot of recreational riders, is “awareness”. When your horse isn’t acting quite right you must pay attention. Many horses become labeled as “rank” after tragic accidents occur because important signs or indications of what your horse was trying to tell you, were missed, because of our lack of awareness.
I always teach my students that horses usually act up for one of two reasons: Fear or pain. It is our job as horse owners to figure out what it is. I’ve personally seen horses being saddled that are clearly indicating with a swish of the tail or head tossing that they are in pain. Even when I have pointed it out to the owner, they kind of shrugged their shoulders and continued on their merry way. Many people don’t realize how much pain a horse will put up with before they finally snap. I feel so bad for a horse whose owner is ignoring important signs.
Let’s start with the most obvious; back soreness. Obviously, an ill-fitting saddle is going to cause discomfort but what many riders don’t realize is that a cheap, worn-out saddle pad, is the most common mistake I see. I preach over and over that a high-quality saddle pad is the most important piece of equipment that you can own! You will know by the price tag if your saddle pad is good quality. Most of the experts do not use fleece pads, they use 100% all-natural needled wool. My recommendation is to look into, what I consider, the best saddle pads on the market: CSI, 5 Star and Won pads. Read all about the science that goes into these pads and then make your choice but never skimp on your pad. If your horse has back soreness, your safety is at risk because he can become so uncomfortable that he can react adversely to pain, even violently. Even lameness can often manifest itself as back pain. When a horse is “off” and starts to compensate for his pain, often times their back takes on the brunt of the pain as a result.
Second is teeth. Do you have your horses’ teeth floated yearly? Do you use a harsh bit or a bit that pinches, twists or jabs your horses’ mouth? Most recreational riders hold too tight on the horses’ mouth which is painful and frustrating for the horse and gives the rider a false sense of security. We must learln to ride correctly with balance, a proper seat and good posture as well as using light hands and a loose rein to take good care of his soft mouth. Recently, I was shown the photo of the mouth of a horse that was considered too rank to ever be ridden. Sadly, after this horse was euthanized, the x-rays showed he had horrible problems in his mouth including abscesses and sharp edges. No wonder he couldn’t tolerate a bit and a rider! The poor thing was in so much pain he became violent but just a little “awareness” and proper care could have made all the difference.
Sometimes, finding their pain-problem area can be a long process of elimination. But we must not give up until we find it. It could be something small like a chiropractic adjustment to something more serious such as ulcers. But for as strong as they appear, horses are delicate animals. Good feed, shoeing, and vet-care is essential for their longevity.
Since I have become more aware, I have become a much better horsewoman. I look for signs of what my horse is trying to tell me and I try never to ignore the indications that I used to miss. We can’t fault ourselves for what we don’t know. But it is our job, as horseback riders, to “know”. We must become brave for our horses, champions for their well-being, and strong in our horsemanship skills to become their leader who will keep them comfortable and protect them from harm. Too often our horses get blamed for things that were not their fault, but rather were the fault of the rider for not being skilled enough to know better.

So when people ask me how to become more confident in the saddle, I tell them they must go back to basics, establish a good foundation in the saddle, and actually “work” on becoming a better horseman. But as recreational riders, we often don’t put the time in, we just want to go on a weekend trail ride and hope that all goes well. I used to be guilty of this because I didn’t know better. Once I understood what it took to be the leader and the “support” my horse needed, I started to become the “rider”, not the passenger. I worked on helping my horse to want to be with me, to trust me and to become my partner on this journey. I no longer wished to dominate him or force him to do what I wanted. As a result, I have become the rider that my horse deserves and I no longer leave my safety up to chance!
Trail riding is not easy. In fact, it takes a skillful rider to keep themselves and their horses safe on trail. I am, personally, not a fan of riding out on trail with beginners. The reason is that it takes experience to handle our horses when something happens out there. I recommend working on your horsemanship skills in an arena, a controlled environment, for quite a while until you become more confident. Trail riding is an uncontrolled environment and most of the accidents happen to riders who don’t have the skill to support a horse who begins to act up or spook at the unusual stimuli that can pop up. Since we can’t plan for the hazards that can happen, we can be prepared by sharpening our horsemanship skills.
When something comes up on trail that my horse reacts negatively to, I try to replicate it later, in an arena, so that we can both work on trusting each other. I look for opportunities to work on different things with my horse that could turn into roadblocks in the future. Imagine if you worked so hard and so often on how to handle your horse when he spooked, that you didn’t fear it anymore? This is true “horsemanship”, this is how both you and your horse become more confident partners. This is what keeps you safe!
Remember, we must stop blaming the horse when something goes wrong. It is a fact that most horse accidents are the result of rider error. There is inherent risk every time we place our foot in the stirrup, and we accept that risk, but without the proper skill, your risk becomes higher. If you want to be safe, confident and happy out on a trail ride, you must put in the time to practice better horsemanship. You must become the rider your horse requires….a fearless rider!
Heidi McLaughlin is an author, clinician and former fearful rider who travels all over the United States conducting 3-day clinics on becoming a confident rider. Her book, “KICK Your Fear of Horses” was written as a result of her finding the secret to overcoming her fear in the saddle and wishing to share it with others. She admits she is not a horse trainer but rather a “people trainer” who helps horses with people problems! Her unique and unprecedented program is revolutionizing the experience of the recreational horseback rider everywhere. She lives in Fallbrook, California in North San Diego County with her husband and fury critters.

Follow her on Facebook , YouTube and check out her website:
Tom Seay's 2019 Lakota Big Horn is Available for Purchase
Tom has received his new 2020 Lakota Big Horn demo LQ trailer for the 2019 season from Lakota of Ohio!  His demo unit from last year is now available for purchase at Lakota of Ohio at a discounted demo price with full warranties.

This beautiful 3-horse Big Horn trailer has a large slide out with a dinette, two recliner chairs and plenty of storage cabinets.
Interior also includes:

  • Queen size bed in nose with HD-TV and beautiful cabinets.
  • Living area with large HD-TV, electric fireplace, double sinks, bar with two bar stools, large refrigerator/freezer, microwave/convection oven, 
  • 4 burner stove with oven and beautiful wood cabinets.
  • Bathroom has a large wardrobe, lighted vanity, sink and shower and access to the horse stalls.
  • Exterior of the trailer includes a push button awning, power step, full drop down windows on head and tail of three horse stalls with hay mangers, tack room and large outside access storage under hay mangers.

This Lakota Big Horn is Tom's favorite floor plan with the recliner chairs and dinette. Please call Leah Falascino at Lakota of Ohio, 740-426-6737, for more information on this Lakota Big Horn now for sale. If you buy this trailer or any trailer from Lakota of Ohio and tell them you saw this in the Best of America by Horseback newsletter, you will receive a FREE ride with Tom Seay on an upcoming BOABH ride!

Watch Your Favorite Trail Riding TV Show
Two Chances to Watch!
Episodes air Tuesdays & Thursdays on RFD-TV
Look for BOABH
all week long!
Episodes air
Monday-Friday on
The Cowboy Channel

You can always watch the latest episodes
or re-watch your favorite destinations
from our website or on our YouTube channel!
Upcoming Episodes on RFD-TV
May 23 - Hooves Jamaica & Briana Carsey
May 28 - Hooves Jamaica & Briana Carsey
May 30 - Greenhorn Creek Ranch - CA 
June 4  - Greenhorn Creek Ranch - CA 
June 6 - AL Sheriff's Girls Ranch - AL |  NEW!
June 11  - AL Sheriff's Girls Ranch - AL |  NEW!
June 13 - Elkins Creek Horse Camp - OH
June 18 -  Elkins Creek Horse Camp - OH