Saddle up for a 100-mile ride

By Deborah Byrd CONTRA COSTA TIMES
Posted on Thu, Sep. 02, 2004
Reposted by permission.

0_2
The Times did not give permission to use its photos,
so this picture (by Morris Older?) is one of our own.



BERKELEY - Mounted on ponies and Arab endurance horses, quarter horse crosses and mules, a group of riders from around the state set off from Tilden Park on Wednesday morning to cover 100 miles over six days to raise money for improvement and maintenance of the Bay Area Ridge Trail.

"We're some of the luckiest people in the world to be able to live here and enjoy this wonderful nature so close to urban areas," said Jaye Winkler, one of the ride's organizers.

Winkler is a board member of the Metropolitan Horsemen's Association which has organized the fund-raiser with the Tilden-Wildcat Horsemen's Association.

The Bay Area Ridge Trail, hundreds of miles long, connects parks and preserved open spaces along the ridgelines surrounding San Francisco Bay.

As of mid-August, more than 50 people had signed up to join the trail ride, which has become a popular event over the last few years, Winkler said. Each rider pays $40 per day, with some collecting pledges for each mile ridden.

Profits from the ride will be matched by the Bay Area Barns and Trails trust.

"We did that last year, and it will all be turned over to the Bay Area Ridge Trail Council," said Barbara Weitz, executive director of Bay Area Barns and Trails. The group's purpose is to support various equestrian efforts to preserve trails throughout the Bay Area, Weitz said.

Last year's ride raised about $10,000 for the Bay Area Ridge Trail. This is the first year the ride has gone 100 miles and the second year the ride has been a fund-raiser. Not all riders will ride the whole distance, Winkler said.

The ride will follow trails through Tilden, Joaquin Miller and Chabot regional parks. Riders will camp two nights at each park, with catered dinners for the riders and hay, carrots and apples for the horses. Each night features an activity, from lectures on astronomy and park flora and fauna, to a harpist, a dance and a cowboy poet.