The Chief Joseph Trail Ride began in 1965 when members of the Appaloosa Horse Club decided to honor the Nez Perce and their horses by following the route the Nez Perce took on their flight in 1877. The ride is divided into 13 segments, ridden sequentially from one year to the next. It is a progressive trail ride, moving camp each day. The ride is open to ApHC registered Appaloosa’s only, and horses must be at least 4 years old. The ride participants are as diverse as the coat patterns of the horses they are riding. People from all walks of life, a variety of states and foreign countries come to experience the camaraderie and history of the ride. In his book “Riding the Nez Perce War Trail Twice 1965-1990 George Hatley said “They now knew why their Appaloosas were surefooted and untiring, having travelled across the country that demanded such characteristics. They developed a keen appreciation of Joseph’s love for the land which had belonged to him and his father’s before him, and they had recaptured some of the romance, heroism and tragedy of his Nez Perce War of 1877.” Doug and Lori Richards participated in their first Chief Joseph Trail ride in 2011 and the following year their friend Loretta Waltner attended with them. The beautiful scenery, friendly fellow riders, historical speakers, evening entertainment and wonderful food make the Chief Joseph Trail ride an event they look forward to returning to each year. One year while making travel plans for the ride they were brain storming on ways to attract more youth to attend, and the Chief Joseph Trail Ride Youth Experience was born.
The CJTRYE is a 501C Non Profit Organization, which awards chosen youth (ages 12-18 per ApHC age rules) with a paid ride fee for the Chief Joseph Trail Ride. Since life requires applications for many things (jobs, apartment leases, college to name a few) we decided to require all interested youth to complete a ride scholarship application, of which the best applicants are awarded ride fee scholarships. The CJTRYE has seen steady growth since our beginnings in 2014. The first year we awarded 2 youth scholarships, which have grown to 8 scholarships awarded in 2017! We are funded by the sale of artwork, donations, and clothing sales.