Visit to Canyon de Chelly, continued ...
It's always important to bring something to drink on any trail,
and our supply of water and Gatorade easily lasted the day. Sunblock
or long sleeved clothing and hats are also important.
Figure 3: A little bit of rain shows on Pokey's rear end.
The rider in front is a Navajo guide, required for all visitors
to Canyon de Chelly. Photo courtesy Joyce Fay.
After our ride, we trailered to the Thunderbird Lodge at Canyon
de Chelly and enjoyed a meal at the cafeteria. We overnighted
at the Lukachukai Trading Post, where Vicki and her husband Hank
have private corrals. The next day we rode for a few hours on
the reservation before returning to Albuquerque.
The horses and riders had a great time, and we agreed to do
it again in the fall in Monument Valley..
Anybody who wants to ride through Canyon de Chelly can call
one of the rental stables. Justin's Horse Rental, near the mouth
of the canyon, and Tohtsonii Ranch, near Spider Rock, at the
top, offer guided day rides and a variety of overnights in the
canyon. They also provide guides for people who bring their own
equine, and offer some overnight boarding.
It's about a 5 hour haul with a 2-horse load, including a
rest stop. It's a good idea to start the paperwork required for
out of state travel a couple of weeks ahead. You need a "travel
card," or Horse Transportation Permit, issued by the New
Mexico Livestock Board, a health certificate from a vet, and
a "negative Coggins" report, which is blood test. My
horse had some cuts in his mouth from something in his hay, and
the vet said we would need a blood test to rule out Vesicular
Stomatitus. He arranged to have an inspector from the State come
out to take the samples (this service is free of charge), but
it took a couple of days to receive the test results showing
that the horse was disease-free.
IF YOU GO:
The best riding weather is expected in September and October.
The footing can be deep sand, which is slow, or packed sand,
which is easy to travel, depending on rainfall. There are many
shallow water crossings and little shelter in the canyon.
Canyon de Chelly Visitors Center
Justin's Horse Rental
Canyon de Chelly
contact: Justin Tso
Horse rental is $10 per person per hour, plus $10 flat fee
for the guide (one fee for the whole party). If you bring your
own horse, it's $5 per hour per person plus $10 flat fee for
the guide and the permit.
Justin Tso provides overnight stalls for a nominal courtesy
fee. Water is hauled to the horses every day. You can camp at
Justin's and sleep near your horses.
Similar rates. The trail is very steep from Spider Rock down
into the canyon. If you're not certain your horse can manage
the trail, it's recommended that you rent one of their horses.
Best Western Canyon de Chelly
Holiday Inn, Chinle, AZ
The New Mexico Livestock Board issues travel cards to document
ownership of your horse, required for transport out of your county.
Each card is good for as long as you own the horse. The fee is $10.
Allow 2 days notice to schedule an inspector.
If you live in another state, check with yout local livestock
Arizona requires a current health certificate (within 30 days)
from your veterinarian, and a Negative Coggins test. Plan on a full
working day for the lab tests.
Want to learn more about Joyce Fay? See her dog rescue web
site at http://www.joycefay.com/.