Click image for more info regarding Buffalo Trail Scout Ranch.

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.

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.

Horseback riders enjoying Cavalcades at BSTR.

Horseback riders enjoying Cavalcades at BSTR.

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.

Cavalcade 1Cavalcades 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.

Mail to:
Buffalo Trail Scout Ranch
attn: rangerdan
P.O.Box 188
Balmorhea, TX 79718

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.
A list of Personal Gear for Cavalcade follows.

BTSR horsemanshipHorsemanship Training is a full day of training and trail riding offered at Buffalo Trail Scout Ranch year-round, except during summer camp. It is available to registered Scouts, Scouters, and (with activity insurance) Girl Scouts from age 11 up, for $40.00 per rider, minimum of 10 paid. The program works best as a unit activity, but campers organized from a combination of units are welcome. Maximum program size is 20. Leader participation at the corrals is appreciated and desired, but everyone who gets astride a horse pays the fee.

Participants must be in good physical condition; weigh less than 250 lbs. dressed to ride; provide a current, completely filled out BSA physical; and bring a signed Hold-Harmless Agreement. No deposit is required, but arrangements must be made at least 60 days in advance with the ranger at BTSR.

Horsemanship Training will typically cover all 11 requirements of the Horsemanship merit badge in the course of one day. Participants will practice riding horses or mules in the corrals, and on the trail.

The Horsemanship Training program can be tailored to meet the specific program goals of particular groups. Most of the requirements for the “Equine Elective” of the Venture Scout Ranger Award can be taught; likewise, many of the requirements of the Girl Scout “Horse Sense” badge can be met in this program. Often, high-adventure bound Scouts, Venturers, and adults use the program to test their riding skills to practice for a future Cavalcade.

The day will start early with all participants invited to the corrals to help feed before daylight. Meals are not provided in this program, and campers will be released to their campsites for breakfast and lunch, so units should plan menus that are fast and filling. . There will be other breaks during the day, but the last ride in the evening may return at dusk. It’s a full day.

For Scheduling Information, contact:

432 426 3709


Bring final payment, signed Hold-Harmless with Chapter 87 Disclaimer, and current, complete BSA medical form to BTSR on the ride date. You will not be allowed to ride without all three. All riders will be weighed before entering the corral.

  • Long pants
  • Long-sleeved shirt
  • Boots or shoes you can hike in
  • Ball cap
  • Leather gloves
  • Bandana or neckerchief
  • Jacket or Coat appropriate to the season
  • Pocket knife or multi-tool, NO SHEATH KNIVES
  • (2) one-liter water bottles
  • SMALL flashlight or headlamp
  • Blanket bedroll*, or backpacking sleeping bag (all bedding must roll down into a cylinder no larger than 8″ diameter X 24″ long)
  • Extra pair of socks
  • Rain gear (Close fitting, not floppy)
  • Spare eyeglasses or extra contact supplies (where appropriate)
  • Personal Medications**

*A blanket bedroll consists of a waterproof canvas or heavy plastic sheet measuring approx. 5’x7′, two blankets, a sheet, and two 8′ in pieces of manila rope.

**Bring THREE TIMES the amount of medication you normally carry to camp so that a wrangler or adult leader can carry a spare supply on the trail, with the remainder available at HQ. THIS IS ESPECIALLY TRUE FOR INHALERS and EPI-PINS: elevation, dirt, ash, and pollens unique to the area may aggravate even slight respiratory conditions; and there are many vectors on the trail that can cause allergic reaction.


  • Cheap Camera
  • Snacks that don’t melt


  • Sunscreen
  • Insect Repellent
  • Hand Sanitizer, Towelettes
  • Deodorant


  • Comprehensive First Aid Kit
  • Radio
  • Horseshoeing Supplies


  • Money, Wallet, & All Valuables
  • Car Keys! (May be left with Camp Ranger)
  • Cell phones
  • Fragile and/or Expensive Digital Cameras
  • Radios, iPods; similar electronic devices
  • Scout Uniforms

Cavalcade Participant Hold Harmless Form

Updated 9/7/10

Cavalcade 1Cavalcade – TWO CAVALCADES PER WEEK!

The Cavalcade is a weeklong High-Adventure horseback experience. The program is designed for older Scouts, Venturers, and Explorers who have achieved the horsemanship merit badge or equivalent training. Cavalcade participants will ride day to day traveling over extremely rugged terrain through canyons, up mountains, and across BTSR’s many trails. Cavalcade participants get the chance to experience the best of the Davis Mountains from up in a saddle.

BTSR will provide well trained guides (Wranglers), tack, cookware, shelter, food, and ALL riding and/or pack animals. Riders must supply their own bedding, clothing, rain gear, and water bottles. Participants may to bring their own saddle and/or saddlebags, though all equipment must be approved through the Cavalcade Director. Personal gear is only carried by a riders’ mount, weight and bulk must be minimized. Keep it simple and keep it light, BTSR Wranglers will perform a shakedown to ensure this is followed.

Cavalcade crews are limited to 10 paid riders (eight youth and two adults). The ride may also be coed if adult female leadership is available. If ten riders cannot be found to fill a cavalcade, the group will still be responsible for payment of a ten rider crew. Many crews adopt riders from other troops before their arrival in order to meet the 10 rider requirement.

All riders MUST be in good physical condition, earned the horsemanship merit badge of equivalent training, weight less that 250 lbs (dressed to ride), and be thirteen years of age or older by check-in. All riders will be required to pass an equestrian skills test before being allowed out onto the trails. Each rider must also bring a current BSA Medical form, with all information complete, signed and approved by a physician. All riders must also complete the BTSR Hold Harmless and the Chapter 87 Liability Disclaimer form with appropriate signatures. (See Forms section)


Your Wranglers will greet you at check-in. A brief orientation, medical check, and weigh-in will follow. Training begins Sunday, right after supper. The trek will be discussed at this time, and any questions and concerns will be addressed. Training will continue past dusk down at the corrals. Your cavalcade meets again with the wranglers, at the corrals, at 5:30 am the next morning to feed, and resume training. Don’t be late! Saddling, packing, knots, riding, bridling, grooming, and many other skills will be taught the first part of the day.

Cavalcade 3If all goes well, the Cavalcade should hit the trail in the late afternoon. In the course of the week riders will cover 30 – 45 miles horseback, starting at an elevation of 4400 ft and topping out at over 6400 ft. Cavalcades change camps daily and the group will be expected to pitch in with chores at each night’s stop. Your wrangler can tell you all about the history and ecology of the Davis Mountains as you travel along the trail. When the horses are resting, there are hiking opportunities. Advancement opportunities are limited due to the cavalcades constant movement. Days will be full of riding and exploring, so sleep will come easily to most. Itineraries return the Cavalcade to Headquarters Friday morning in time for the picnic lunch and a much needed shower before campfire.

Your wrangler stays in touch with Headquarters by radio, and receives daily weather reports. Emergency vehicles, the BTSR Search and Rescue Team, and qualified medical personnel are on call 24 hours a day. Every cavalcade wrangler is trained in First-Aid and keeps emergency supplies close at hand at all times.

All riders are expected to pitch in to accomplish necessary camp chores and to follow the leadership of the wranglers. Self-discipline is expected; the Scout Oath and Laws will be the rule of the camp.


The fee for the Cavalcade Program covers all food, program supplies, and a qualified staff. See Fees & Payment Schedule for current pricing information.


  • Long durable pants, properly fitted
  • Baseball cap
  • SMALL Flashlight or headlamp
  • Blanket Bed roll*
  • Long-sleeved Shirt
  • 2-1qt. narrow Water Bottles
  • Western-style boots with traction hiking sole or hiking boots. (Broken in & comfortable!)
  • Leather Gloves
  • Pocket knife or multi-tool
  • Rain Gear (Close fitting, not floppy)
  • Bandana or neckerchief

*A bedroll consists of a tarp or canvas measuring 4×6 ft, a fleece blanket and two 8’ pieces of 1/4″ to 1/2″ sisal or manila rope.Cavalcade 2OPTIONAL INDIVIDUAL EQUIPMENT

  • Camera (Be careful with valuable digital cameras!)
  • Toothbrush
  • Pocket hammock
  • Camp Map
  • Snacks that don’t melt

These items may be shared and carried by one rider in 1 gal. plastic bag:

  • Hand Soap/ Towelettes
  • Bug repellent
  • Toothpaste
  • Sunscreen

Cavalcade Wranglers Carry

  • Comprehensive First Aid Kit
  • Radio
  • Horseshoeing Supplies

Leave in Camp

  • Billfold & valuables
  • Scout Uniform
  • Changes of clothes
  • Shampoo, conditioner
  • Towels
  • Extra Shoes
  • Deodorant
  • Cowboy hat for Friday campfire


  • Privately owned horses
  • Cell phones
  • Sheath Knives
  • Floppy rain gear
  • Radios, iPods or noise making devices
  • Thermarests
  • Big Sleeping Bag
  • Bladder type water cateens


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