Horseback Riding

Time in the Saddle

October 10, 2011

Discover where riding took this 5,000-hour AQHA Horseback Riding Program winner.

Five thousand hours doesn't seem like much time when you're on the back of a Quarter Horse. Colby Harrison and Harmon Redberry. Photo courtesy of Colby Harrison.

From America’s Horse

Amazing, isn’t it, where the American Quarter Horse can take us?

We can ride back in time … or to a peaceful place where the suffering in our life doesn’t exist … or we can ride the hills like an 11-year-old cowboy, astride a trusted friend.

Read on to meet an AQHA member whose Quarter Horse has carried him for 5,000 hours in the saddle, earning him the top award in the AQHA Horseback Riding Program and a custom Montana Silversmiths belt buckle.

The Horseback Riding Program rewards participants for spending time in the saddle, no matter whether it’s for work or play, and awards start at the 25-hour level. There’s a division for folks who ride American Quarter Horses and another one that’s open to all breeds.

AQHA’s FREE Trail Safety Tips report will keep you and your Quarter Horse out of harm’s way when you’re on the trail.

Where could time in the saddle take you?

Fifth-grader Colby Harrison of Paducah, Texas, shows that even youngsters can earn the 5,000-hour award in the Horseback Riding Program. After learning about the program on RFD-TV, Colby signed up because he “likes to ride as much as possible.”

With his red horse, Harmon Redberry, or “Rusty,” Colby spends his hours participating in rodeo and 4-H events and riding around cattle on the famed Four Sixes Ranch in Guthrie, Texas. Although his hometown is flat with a lot of wheat ground, Colby likes riding Rusty around McLean, Texas, where he says there are “rough surroundings.”

A cowboy on the range needs a trusty horse, and Colby knows he has that in the 12-year-old Rusty.

“I purchased him three and a half years ago from Jack Horn of Coleman, Texas,” Colby says, “and he takes good care of me.”

Experts on three different areas of trail riding offer tips and advice in AQHA’s FREE Trail Safety Tips report. Learn how to better enjoy trail riding while keeping your horse’s health and the environment in mind.

Colby remembers one time he knew he could rely on his chestnut gelding.

“I rode Rusty down a mountain no one had gone down before. … We were jumping bear grass when I fell off, and my stirrup flipped to the wrong side with my foot caught in it. But Rusty just stopped,” Colby says.

When asked if he was surprised by how many hours he spent in the saddle, Colby says, “Yes, I like to ride, but I didn’t realize how much!”