Jun 222014

There are easier ways to travel, but families still love their three mile an hour horse power on the hoof.
Antelope Island Horse and Wagon
This covered wagon group travels through the western states each year. They converge on Antelope Island in Utah each summer during the annual Western Music Festival. The riders donate their time and covered wagons for local charity. As fellow horse lovers, we couldn’t resist the chance to go along for a ride down the dusty trail.
Antelope Island meeting wagon
They allowed me to ride shotgun with the driver, which seemed to give a very short proximity to the back side of the horse. Nell was harnessed close enough to me that she brushed the dust off my cowboy boots with her tail. I was so relieved that the horses didn’t need to add some fertilizer to the trail, or I’m sure that would have landed on my boots.
Antelope Island Covered Wagon
The driver explained what a day out on the road was like.  Although some of the group travels in motor homes, he keeps the heritage alive by camping as weather permits.  He described his morning as being awakened at dawn by the sounds of harnesses clanking and smelling coffee boiling.

The smile on his face while explaining that his average speed is three miles per hour, gave a sense of what I’m missing.  One of the tales he dispelled was the colorful phrase “circle the wagons” actually meant that the wagons served as a corral for the livestock.
Antelope Island riding shot gun
The towns along the way welcome them with organized guitar playing groups sitting around the evening campfires.  Other entertainment in the towns would include quilt and craft shows, toilet bowl races and cow pie bingo.

He admitted he’s feeling the old bones are telling him that riding on wagon trains may have to end soon.  His motto has been “as long as he is able to continue, this is an adventure that gives him a real appreciation for God, Country, and his pioneer ancestors that thrived on the western life.”

  62 Responses to “Travel By Hoof Power, Horse of Course”

  1. So cool… I wish to go too…

  2. That looks like it would be alot of fun. I bet you have met some very interesting people during your trip.

    • Interesting people are active people and I love meeting them. There are fun stories to be heard and I’m always looking for new stories of peoples lives.

  3. So while they’re in town do they do rides in the wagons out on a nearby piece of dirt road?
    Or can you join them for segments of their annual trip, between towns?
    Puts a new spin on the circus coming to town to have a wagon-train come to town 🙂

    • Actually they enjoy both the small trips on a nearby dirt road and join them for segments of their annual trip. There are many groups doing these short or long trips. We are comfort loving creatures, so we opt for the short day rides when we can.

  4. What a great experience! How far does the wagon train travel in total each summer?

    • They have groups traveling from all areas of the middle states like Wisconsin. They take people for a day to as long as they want to be part of the trail rides.

  5. Oh, that looks like fun! A speed of three miles an hour is about my speed too especially if you’re travelling with little children such as grandkids.

    • I wouldn’t mind traveling at three mph for a short time, but I have a heavy foot when I’m eager to get home. Luckily children have their electronic games so they won’t ask “are we there yet?”

  6. Oh how fun, the pictures are awesome. Totally wanna go!

    • We moved from Wisconsin to the western state of Utah and love the life of a wannabe western woman. Horses are my favorite animal and I still would like to own one as I did when I was young.

  7. I’m a sucker for any activity that takes me back to how it might have been like in history…especially the westward movement and pioneer days. Look like it was awesome!

    • I grew up in Wisconsin and always wanted to be a cowgirl. I even had the boots and western outfit. Now as an adult, I again have the boots and western clothes.

  8. That looks like quite an adventure! My first time going for a wagon ride was a horse-drawn “sleigh” ride this winter! It was bitterly cold out, but I didn’t care. It was fantastic! The wagon itself was not nearly as nice as the one you were able to ride on though.

    • I also love hay rides, sleigh rides and anything to do with horses. I owned a horse when I was young and the love never ends for these majestic animals.

  9. This looks like so much fun! What a wonderful way to see the country and re-live history~

    • These wagon drivers aren’t your usual couch potato. They are enjoying the outdoors because they want to, not because they have to like their ancestors.

  10. I’d never heard of this horse and wagon trip to Antelope UT- interesting.

    • People are spending thousands of dollars on custom made covered wagons instead of motorhomes. It’s a way of capturing history by being part of it.

  11. I have never been on a horse or had a horse drawn ride. I’ve always wanted to do something like this. Reminds me of Little House on the Prairie.

    • The horses are so enjoyable to watch as their personalities show spunk or frustrations. I grew up with horses and still love them.

  12. Looks like you guys had an amazing time! Our family would LOVE to do something like this!

  13. WOW! What a wonderful vacation you are having! I enjoy your pics and posts. This also reminds me of Little House of the Prairie….now that goes way back! LOL!

    • I also enjoyed Little House on the Prairie along with Mr. Ed and the other western sitcoms. Moving to Utah allows me to follow my dream of being a cowgirl.

  14. What a fun historical experience and I see the red cowgirl hat. On one of our road trips we traveled near Ft. Laramie Wyoming and visited the site of the embedded wagon wheel ruts and it was a powerful experience. What those pioneers braved to carve out a new life for themselves is pretty much unimaginable. So your experience gave you a little taste!

    • How do you know you love the western life? I’m now on my second hat, which also shades the sun off my head while saving the colored strands from fading.

  15. This looks like so much fun!

  16. Growing up my favorite TV shows were Mr. Ed – that beautiful palomino horse and Little House on the Prairie. While I’m glad I didn’t live during Prairie times (I like turning on the tap and having running water come out) I do love the horse and wagon concept. What a trip!

    • I guess my title “horse of course” was in the Mr. Ed TV show song. Some things stick forever along with my love of horses too.

  17. what a wonderful way to travel and enjoy the landscape – really fun – I would love to do something like this.

    • I love new experiences and revisiting fun things again. I have to admit that I’m love driving (nudging) the speed limit, but riding a wagon at three mph is fun too.

  18. What a fun thing to do and a great way to experience some empathy for the thousands of people who migrated from east to west in search of better lives and adventure over a hundred years ago.

    • I agree that I love learning what it was like back then. I also like the comfort of living now, since I’m very spoiled with driving 70 mph when I can.

  19. This kind of travel would force me to S-L-O-W DOWN, which I desperately need to do! I love reading your posts because I always learn about something I have never heard of! I knew about covered wagons, just not that I could ride in one today!

    • I love to learn something new and in this case about something very old and historical. I have a heavy foot and love to test the speed limit, but slowing down and enjoying a three mph ride was a relaxing pace.

  20. This would be a blast as long as they had the modern after market seat suspension put in. Otherwise, having ridden on one, it makes for a very long ride. My favorite though would be to have a campfire with only wagons around and having a true chuckwagon dinner made by a trail cook. I’ve seen some of those on TV and I would be all in! Good post, Neva 🙂

    • I agree that my seat would need something other than a wooden board. We love the true chuckwagon dinners served on metal plates. Although hot coffee in a tin cup has burned my mouth a few times.

  21. Love horses! I have had the pleasure of riding them and also the buggies. There is nothing like the experience. It is so calming and peaceful!

    • I love horses too and owned my own pony when I was a child. Horses are such peaceful animals and these seemed to enjoy pulling the wagons at three mph.

  22. Wow what a cool experience! I would love to do this. Those horses are beautiful!

    • The horses seemed to be having as much fun as the people. The wagons were a work of art and it was fun seeing this caravan.

  23. Ok this is something I HAVE TO take my daddy on. The man loves this type of stuff!

  24. What an interesting way to travel, looks like a fun time.

    • We thought this was a fun thing to do for an hour. We couldn’t imagine riding for days across the plains like the pioneers had to do.

  25. That looks like such a great experience! I would love to do that someday!

    • It’s one of those fun experiences that you have to grab when it comes along. This was a great way to get to know a wagon driver and his horses too.

  26. I didn’t know that people still make covered wagon trips. Cool. It would be fun to join them for a while, although I think it can’t be the most comfortable way to travel for long periods of time.

    • I was amazed at how beautiful some of the wagons were, so I looked on-line to find out more. There are places that do quite a business and the cost is similar to a cheaper car.

  27. Whenever we drive out west, I always marvel that entire families traveled over similarly rough and desolate terrain in covered wagons for long periods of time in all sorts of weather, facing unsavory wildlife and the ire of upset native Americans.

    • I love speeding down the highway and can’t imagine going 30 or 40 miles a day and walking besides. I feel fortunate to enjoy the colorful and fun part of the western life.

  28. Looks like so much fun, and it sounds like you met a driver who “lives for his job” 🙂

    • I had a fun time getting to talk to someone who loves what he’s doing that’s now a hobby. The horses were so fun to be watch interact that with their wagons, it was an interesting ride.

  29. This must be part of the Slow Travel movement. Seriously, I think we could all use a little travel at this speed to help us stop and appreciate all that is around us!

    • I guess we miss the little things if we speed through them too fast. There is something to be said for stopping and smelling the roses from time to time.

  30. Riding up front of the covered wagon must have been such an amazing experience! Little House on the Prairie was one my my favorite childhood books and TV shows, so I’ve always wondered what exactly it must be like. I think I’d probably enjoy 30-60 minutes of it but would be thankful that it’s not my primary mode of transportation.

    • If I had to ride on this kind of wagon for more than an hour, I’d have the best butt pillow money could buy! It was a great chance to talk to the driver and hear his stories, so that eased the bumpy ride totally.

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