Reno woman undertakes 450-mile solo trail ride to raise awareness of wild horses in Nevada
Samantha Szesciorka has the gear, the clothing, the food and water, and now, a donation of 600 pounds of feed for her horse.
She’s finally ready.
The adventure she’s been planning for two and a half years is just around the corner. On May 25, she’ll embark on a history-making trip across Nevada, with a family she’s created at her side. Samantha, her horse Sage and a dog named Bella are planning a historic ride on the Nevada Discovery Trail.
It’s the Nevada portion of the American Discovery Trail. Some 450 miles of rough terrain that have been set aside for nonmotorized transportation: bicycles, hikers and horses, that’s it. It’s long, it’s treacherous and it’s a trail that to anyone’s knowledge has never been ridden solo on horseback.
Szesciorka is a citizen of the world who has adopted Nevada as her home. And she has adopted the future of the wild horses here as a way to make her mark on the world.
She was raised in a military family, growing up in Pennsylvania, Louisiana, Georgia, Germany and Hawaii. She completed a tour of duty with the U.S. Army in 2008 that took her to Iraq, Kentucky, Maryland, South Carolina and South Korea.
And, in 2008, she took a job as a television producer in Reno and fell in love with the state. She also fell in love with the wild horses that live here. So, she adopted one to join her family, which includes Bella, a dog she adopted from a Humane Society in Washington.
Sage was a 4-year-old mustang when Szesciorka met him. He was rounded up in Central Nevada when he was 2, and he was trained through the Nevada Correctional Center’s Saddle Horse Training Program, Szesciorka said.
“I went to an auction, and we had an instant connection,” she said.
At home on the trail
Szesciorka said Sage is an incredible trail horse.
“Sage seems to understand all of the terrain here. He seriously seems to be able to navigate anything, and he’s never rattled,” she said. “I think it may be because he was raised in diverse terrain. Snakes, coyotes and riding at night bothers some domestic horses, but nothing bothers him.”
Erin Breen is an Emmy Award winning writer based in Reno. You can find her and her first book at ErinMeehanBreen.com.