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