FROM: Petra Keller, Nevada NPEA
I wanted to share the write up of Chloe Young, 4H Youth rider that shadowed me on the re-ride.
One hundred and fifty-six years ago, when there were no railroads and the telegraph wasn’t yet invented, horses and their riders carried the public’s mail. From California to Missouri, these riders went back and forth with news. They were the Pony Express! Though the Express lasted only 18 months, it is one very important event in U.S. history. As of 1960, a re-ride of the pony express began. This year (2016) I, a 13-year-old girl, rode my horse Lassen on a section of the trail as part of the re-ride for the very first time.
The section I rode was just out of Cold Springs Station, Nevada, many hours away from where I live. When we arrived at the station I was feeling that, “Wow, I am actually going to ride my horse somewhere another rider rode 156 years ago.” The “Camp master” was Doug, and along with him came the rest of his family who were riding, as well were two other groups (besides us) riding.
When it came the morning for Petra and I to ride, I was tired because I hadn’t slept well from the anticipation for that day. Then finding out the mail was three hours late made me more and more anxious to go. Finally, when we had packed up camp to head to the spot the mail would be handed off to Petra, with myself shadowing, I became nervous of the ride just because I hadn’t ever really ridden for an actual purpose except enjoyment (and because my horse can be a bit of a brat sometimes). The mail was coming soon; I could see the riders coming to hand us the mail. This is when my stomach flipped. I was so nervous that I had to keep giving myself giant gulps of water just so I didn’t throw up in front of everyone. Thankfully that nervousness went away as soon as the Mochila was put on Petra’s horse Red. I took a giant breath and we were off. Lassen and Red were side by side canter-galloping, and at this point I was having the best time ever. This went on a little while until it was good to let the horses walk. As we rode that five miles transitioning from walk and canter-galloping I looked at my surroundings and wondered if the rider who rode through here saw the same thing we did today. I also realized both the first riders and us were scared of something. The first riders were scared of not getting the mail back and Indians and we, also scared of not getting the mail back were more scared of running across a rattlesnake. I remember looking everywhere at every sound I heard and continuing to ask Petra what we would do if we saw a snake. When the ride was over and we had passed the mail on to Doug, I felt proud of what I had just accomplished, both with my horse and passing the mail on. My horse Lassen and I probably had our best ride ever that day riding wild and free for the Pony Express.