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Utah family traverses Summit County on 1,200-mile horseback ride

(From left to right) Shane Stratton, Lacy Stockton and Clara Fisher ride through Fountain Green, Utah.
Alisha Thackery-Bradshaw
(From left to right) Shane Stratton, Lacy Stockton and Clara Fisher ride through Fountain Green, Utah.

A Utah family of three is moving to Colorado on horseback. The Summit County Sheriff’s mounted posse escorted them from Peoa to Hoytsville Tuesday.

It was day 13 on the road for Lacy Stockton, Shane Stratton and their daughter Clara Fisher.

The three riders are moving from Gunnison, Utah, to Silverton, Colo., the long way.

With 200 miles down, the family has about 1,000 miles to go through Utah, Wyoming and Colorado.

Sheriff’s deputy Jeremie Forman saw the family at Kamas Food Town Monday, and he recognized one of their horses.

“He said, ‘Where are you from?’ I told him, and [Forman] says, ‘Yeah, I got a buddy that's got the same brand,’” Stratton said. “That's his brother, my horse’s brother.” 

Stratton’s horse is “Sarge.” His brother, “Taser,” also known as “’Tater,” serves on the Summit County Sheriff’s mounted posse with his rider Deputy Mark Ryskamp.

One thing led to another, and Tuesday the sheriff’s mounted posse escorted Stockton, Stratton and Fisher out of Peoa along state Route 32.

It was the first time in two years Sarge and Taser rode together.

The family has nine horses with them: Sarge, Mack, Tubelo, Zeke, Juniper, Luna, Sassy, Ruby and Firefly—Stratton likes to call her Firefart. There are three dogs, too: Zip, Hattie and Shorty the Corgi.

Zip and Hattie play with Shorty.
Connor Thomas
Zip and Hattie play with Shorty.

The family’s goal is to make it as far north as Jackson before heading south to Silverton.

If successful, the experienced pack riders will qualify for membership in the Long Riders’ Guild, an international community of extreme equestrians. Riders must complete a 1,000-mile ride to join.

During the ride, the family wants to share their observations about climate change with the guild and the wider world on social media.

Long equestrian rides are steadily becoming more difficult. One problem is the cost of fuel. Stockton says they spent $20,000 on hay alone in 2022.

“I'm not kidding,” she said. “We could buy a new car for the amount hay cost us.”

The riders will stay at friends’ houses here and there, but most nights it’s good old-fashioned camping. And they ship harder-to-find supplies to points along this self-supported sojourn.

When needed, Stratton says reinforcements have never been far thanks to good Samaritans, like one man in Kamas.

“A guy was filling up his truck and he comes running over,” he said. “He says, ‘Here, if you need any help, here's my phone number.’ People have just been awesome here.”

Anyone can follow the family’s progress @ExtremePackTrip on YouTube.

The family rides out of Peoa Tuesday morning, dogs, horses and supplies in tow.
Connor Thomas
The family rides out of Peoa Tuesday morning, dogs, horses and supplies in tow.

Day 1: Gunnison to Ephraim (~20 miles)
Day 2: Ephraim to Fountain Green (18.5 miles)
Day 3: Fountain Green to Indianola (17 miles)
Day 4: Indianola to Dairy Fork (16.5 miles)
Day 5: Across U.S. Highway 6 to Uinta National Forest (14.5 miles)
Day 6: To Strawberry Reservoir (14.5 miles)
Day 7: Rest day at Strawberry Reservoir (0 miles)
Days 8–12: Strawberry Reservoir to Peoa (~50 miles)
Day 13: Peoa to Hoytsville (~12.5 miles)
Day 14: Hoytsville to ???