Ramblings from the Editor

From the Desk of Shannon Schraufnagel

Our favorite trail partners have carried us to the top of the most beautiful mountain peaks and through some of the most beautiful valleys. They’ve strengthened us, challenged us, comforted us, and cared for us. Some people wonder how a horse can care for a human, but I’ve felt it way high up on the side of a cliff, caught in a thunderstorm with water streaming down like a river past my horses’ hooves on the goat trail we were following…


I hate heights. They are not for me. BUT I do love amazing mountain views so I will push past my fears to get to the top. But on this particular day, I was shaking in my boots. So, I did the only thing I knew to do and that was to start singing every old hymn and praise song I could think of and give Brandy her head. She put her nose almost to the ground, snorting at the water rushing past her hooves down the steep decline, and carefully put each hoof in just the right place, step by step until we made it safely to the bottom. I felt very cared for by the time we reached flat ground.


(*Photo of Shannon & Wyatt in 2002 on their first vacation to the Big Horn Mountains in Wyoming)

Brandy and I don’t always see eye to eye, mostly because she believes Jason, my husband who has had her since she was 6 months old, is her only human and anyone else is just a guest in the saddle. But that day she knew I was nervous, and she knew she had to take care of her “guest”. She is 25 now and some days I feel like maybe she has finally accepted me as an equal – but I think that’s more a hope than fact on my part (especially, when I go to put her bridle on for the millionth time and she puts her head 10 feet in the air - which prompts “her man” to come over, to which she then drops her head to his chest level!)… But I do know she cares for me.


Our other horse Cisco doesn’t really care for me… but he does make me laugh. Jason and I both have laughed quite often at his antics. The other day my husband was putting up new lights and wiring in the horse shed, Cisco came over and watched his every move. For 3 months Cisco has never messed with the lights, but the very next day Jason came out and sure enough the light bulb was busted. We made sure it was high up (just as high as all the other lights we’ve had through the years in our barns and sheds) but this time Cisco SAW us put the light up. So, Cisco had to take it down. We don’t know how he did it. But he did. He does this often… we have to “Cisco” proof everything within his reach because if he happens to see it, he’ll touch it (or bite it, or bust it or eat it). Cisco doesn’t really care about being nice, but he sure does like making us laugh. And we’re pretty sure he laughs at us… when we have to fix the things he breaks!


(*Photo of Jason & Brandy in the Big Horn Mountains in 2005)

Wyatt, also one of my husband’s horses who’s he’s had since he was 4 months old and is 22 now, is a bit of a comedian but also a gentleman. He is very kind, a little on the nervous side, not in a spooky way but in a way that he doesn’t want to do anything wrong. He’s very self-conscious. When Jason shoes him Wyatt is always afraid he won’t lift a leg up fast enough. Why he thinks this we don’t know. We’ve never hit him, never had to! We did yell at him once or twice – and apparently, he’s never forgotten. He poops a minimum of 8 times while being shod… all nerves, afraid he’ll step out of place. Wyatt very much cares about the way we think of him and cares very much about always doing the right thing. I love that horse.


Our horses truly are our partners in life. As I’ve mentioned in past Ramblings, almost every single important decision my husband and I have made in life was on the back of our horses. When Jason asked me to marry him, every major move we’ve made we discussed on horses, many of our arguments started (and stopped) on horses (it’s very hard to argue when riding a horse!).

They are truly our partners and I just can’t imagine life without them! You’ll read more stories like this in this wonderful Journal – other trail riders who love their horses and love sharing the trails they ride. It’s a great reminder why we love to trail ride… it’s not just the trails we get to see and experience – it’s who we get to experience them with. Our trail partners, our horses.


(*Photo of Jason & Cisco in the Black Hills, South Dakota in 2017)


We hope you enjoy this Journal and share it with your friends! And we hope you get out on the trails with your trail partner soon – and if you do, we’d love to hear about it back on HTCAA!


Blessed Trails,

Shannon Schraufnagel

Founder of HTCAA
Editor-in-Chief of The Trail Journal


Shannon Schraufnagel is the Founder & President of HTCAA | Horse Trails & Camping Across America and the Editor-in-Chief of The Trail Journal. She grew up in Wisconsin, riding and showing American Quarter Horses in 4-H, Open Shows, as well as Breed Shows. When she started trail riding and camping with her best friend Jason, she fell in love with it - and her friend! They married in 2004 and in 2012 she created a Facebook group for trail riders just "for fun", which has now become the #1 Trail Riding Resource & Largest Trail Riding Community in America! She loves her HTCAA Members, her husband, and all her critters. She enjoys hunting, fishing, hiking, camping, and of course trail riding in God's creation. She and her husband live in Wyoming.

Would you like to Advertise with HTCAA & The Trail Journal?
Contact us today!


Want to Become an official HTCAA Member?