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- Buffalo Trail Scout Ranch (BTSR)
Weekend Cavalcade is a three-day guided horse ride in and around Buffalo Trail Scout Ranch. Riders see the best of the Davis Mountains from the saddle, riding over the ridgetops, past box canyons, down narrow trails lined with alligator juniper and pinion pine, sometimes scraping stirrups on rugged rhyolite outcrops. Lead by a trained Wrangler, the Weekend Cavalcade covers 20-35 miles on narrow trails or jeep roads. Riders can expect very full days in the saddle, riding mountain trained horses or sure-footed mules.
Weekend Cavalcades are available from Columbus Day to Thanksgiving, Spring Break to Memorial Day. Longer or shorter trips may be scheduled by special arrangement. Overnight trips are not offered during chilly winter months.
Each rider must be at least 13 years old by check-in, be in good physical condition; weigh less than 250 lbs. dressed to ride; provide a current, completely filled out BSA physical; bring a signed Hold-Harmless Agreement, and have adequate horseback-riding experience, at least equivalent to earning the Horsemanship merit badge. (The merit badge is NOT required).
The program is designed to be a unit activity for Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, and Venture crews, but is also open to groups of registered adult Scouters.
Cavalcade begins with REQUIRED weigh-in, then safety and skills training, followed by individual ability testing. After the training, and before ANY RIDER leaves Headquarters, each rider must pass the following:
“Unaided, catch and correctly halter, bridle, and saddle a designated horse or mule, then mount without assistance and clearly demonstrate the ability to control that animal, to the satisfaction of the Head Wrangler.”
Participants who do not qualify as above may not ride outside of the Headquarters area.
All riders are required to wear approved helmets at all times astride a horse.
A minimum of seven paid riders, (or seven fees paid) including at least one adult over 21 years of age, is required to initiate a Cavalcade. Cavalcade may be coed, if an adult (over 21) female is among the paid riders. Maximum on any cavalcade is 12 paid riders.
BTSR provides trained wranglers, saddles, tack, safety helmets, cookware, shelter, food, and all the horses and mules. Cavalcades ride point to point, single file, at a walk, and stay overnight in cabins or established camps where food, feed, water, cooking gear, disposable plates, cups, and utensils are cached. Adequate shelter will be provided and there are primitive latrines near all overnight stops.
Cavalcades travel light to maximize trail time, so all loose personal gear (not including bedroll, rain gear, jacket, and water bottles) carried must fit into one saddle bag about the size of a gallon zip-lock bag. Riders may not wear backpacks or bladder-packs while astride an animal. Drinking water may be carried on the saddle horn, in saddle bags, or as the wrangler directs. There are opportunities to refill water bottles, and primitive latrines along the trail.
Participants may bring their own saddles and/or saddlebags; however, personal tack must be approved for suitability to the program by the Head Wrangler.
BTSR will not be responsible for any private or personal belongings damaged, destroyed, or lost.
Each rider will be responsible for care and feeding of his or her mount, and must pitch in to accomplish necessary camp chores. Self discipline is required, the Scout Oath and Law are the rules of the camp.
Wranglers carry a First Aid kit, keep in touch with Headquarters by radio, and receive daily weather reports. Emergency vehicles and support from Headquarters are on call 24 hours a day. At least one cavalcade wrangler on every trek is trained in First-Aid and CPR.
At this writing, Cavalcade costs $80 per rider per day: $240 each for a 3-day ride. A NON-REFUNDABLE deposit of $560 must be mailed to the Scout ranch at least 60 days in advance of the ride date. The deposit is considered part of the overall $80/rider/day fee; the balance may be paid on arrival at BTSR.
Buffalo Trail Scout Ranch
Balmorhea, TX 79718
A list of Personal Gear for Cavalcade follows: http://buffalotrailbsa.org/btsr/year-round/cavalcades/gear/