Outside Adventures!

Horsing Around

This post is another entry in my series Outside Adventures!,

Monday I went on a hike with my friend Laurie and her Bernese Mountain Dog Luna on Horse Butte in Central Oregon. But first she took me on tour of Healing Reins where she works as a Physical Therapist providing therapeutic equine based services to children with special needs to begin our “horse themed” adventures.

I met several of the therapy horses in the outside areas. There was a group therapeutic session going on in the large indoor barn riding area with most of the horses and I could not take photos there because of client confidentiality. However here are a couple photo of the horses used for therapeutic riding and Laurie helping them get to the hay at the bottom of their feeder:


Here is Elvis, who is used for therapeutic interventions but not for riding, as he is a miniature horse:


There are also farm animals at Healing Reins that are very tame and used for therapeutic interventions with children. The farm animals include chickens, goats, pigs and a slightly grumpy duck named Michael and his partner:


I had a blast petting the farm animals and got to watch a therapeutic interventions with a pediatric client and the animals:


The staff at Healing Reins clearly love animals as evidenced by their current use of a side door to enter their indoor therapy center as there is a robin’s nest on the electrical meter near the front door (and they do not want to disturb the nesting bird!):


We kept the horse theme going and left Healing Reins to head to Horse Butte/Arnold Ice Cave Trail for a hike with Luna in tow. Note that on the trail sign below “Horses have the right of way“!


While hiking the base of Horse Butte we came across a woman riding one horse and leading another horse (who did not have a saddle). It was like she was taking the second horse “for a walk”. Laurie, who has extensive experience with horses, explained that likely she was acclimating the other horse to the trail.


The base of Horse Butte was scenic but we were lured into the possibility of awesome vistas at the top of Horse Butte and decided to climb to the top.

Unfortunately we could not find a suitable path, only sections of loose lava rock (Central Oregon is region formed by ancient volcanoes). But we decided to try it anyway. You will see in the photo below Laurie headed up and I am lagging behind (I’d like to use the excuse that I was lagging behind to take photos but in truth I was just lagging behind!)


Even more unfortunately on the way up the loose lava rock gave way and I took a spill and banged my knee, but I was able to continue to the top.

Although I had a sore knee, I got to enjoy some beautiful vistas at the summit:


Sometimes you have to suffer for beauty.


Then it was time to face the scary hike down on the loose lava rocks:


Obviously I made it as I am able to write you about it. My knee is still sore but I will survive.

(There was a funny moment on the trip back down where Laurie, who is very fit and sporty, was trying to guide the clumsy me back down the mountain, so I would not take out my other knee. She would preview where I should try and gain a foothold. At one point she yelled: “walk over here, this is best” and then proceeded to wipe out herself on the loose rocks. We had a good laugh about it!)

Luna, the Bernese Mountain Dog (note the word “Mountain” in her breed name) had no trouble scaling up and down Horse Butte!


After the hike we rewarded ourselves with a tasty lunch and microbrew at a new food cart station in the area (there were no horses in the food cart area to continue the day’s theme!)

24 thoughts on “Horsing Around”

  1. What a lovely day you had! I laughed at your comment about “suffering for beauty”! It’s happened to me on more than one occasion, but the end result is totally worth it! Luna is such an adventurer…fun to have along, I’m sure!

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  2. This sounds like a lovely day, even if you did suffer a sore knee. The healing horses sounds like a brilliant way to help children- it’s wonderful to hear of these sorts of places existing and doing well. Your trip to the top was worth it, they are beautiful views you got to experience!

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  3. A great post about the power of animals to touch our souls! Even the small squirmy hairy feathery ones. The power and dignity of a horse has to make us feel a connection. Sorry about your tumble and sore knee. I slipped on my concrete driveway three days ago and my swollen and sore knee feels your pain. Also my three stitches in the split lip. Another resolution to be (even more) careful! Hope you can get back on the trail soon. We love vicariously enjoying the hikes with you.

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    1. Oh Martha – sorry to hear about your fall and thanks so much for your comments. It felt like a very healing place in general at Healing Reins! I wish I could have taken a photo inside the barn – there were all these clients with their horses on a group therapeutic intervention and it was so cool! I hope you heal and sorry about the stitches – ow!


  4. Looks like you had a good time with the animals . I (TTQH) joined them for lunch at the food cart station by the hospital , it was nice around 1:30 – 2:00pm on a weekday . The Beers are mostly local in the permanent shed with food trucks lined up on the other side of the sitting area . Parking is the worse part of it however as the road in the area is used for parking by the local businesses .

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  5. Well, if the food cart’s name was “The Chuckwagon” that may have continued the horse theme. 😉 Beautiful, beautiful country. Love all the animals and nature in this post!

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  6. I’m highly skilled at falling DOWN hills, but never UP hills. You must be very talented in the injury department. There’s just too much to love about this post…horses, pigs, Central Oregon scenery…beer. Thanks for the terrific tour!!

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  7. I’m so glad you “suffered for beauty” and got to the top of that hill… Those views are immense! I also enjoyed the tour of Healing Reins – it sounds like they’re doing seriously good work there. Plus it’s hard to resist the charms of a fuzzy kune-kune pig! 🐷 Cheers for sharing your lovely day out with us all!

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