Meet Bob Bentley and his Quarter Horse, Whiskey. Bob is an old timer with ASHA with service back to the Sixties. He is pictured riding in the Phoenix Mountain Preserve, his favorite place to ride these days.
One of the reasons that he enjoys it is that he was one of the Original Horsemen working on the commission to preserve the mountains along with Charlie Christensen and Perl Charles. He rode the trails with them, and now it's a special pleasure to remember them while riding the trails named for them.
Chapter 1 - The 60's.......
By Bob Bently
June 3rd, 1960, a group of horse loving volunteers incorporated the association and elected Tom Goodnight, President, with Judge Raul Castro of Tucson as Vice President and Dr. E.E. Lacroix of Scottsdale, Secretary. The 12 members of the Board of Directors included: Sheriff Cal Boies, Phoenix, Dr. Jack Fetcher of Prescott, Sam Steiger of Prescott and Tom Finley of Gilbert.
The state was divided into three regions: Dr. Tom Firth jr., Director of Region 1 (Gila, Maricopa and Yuma Counties). Sam Steiger, Prescott, Director of Region II (Mohave, Coconino, Yavapai, Navajo and Apache Counties). Eddie Tappan of Tucson headed Region III (Pinal, Pima, Cochise, Graham, Greenlee and Santa Cruz Counties).
The first meetings were as follows: Region I, June 27, 1960, at the Hotel Valley Ho in Scottsdale. Region II, June 17, 1960, at the Hassayampa Hotel in Prescott, Region III, June 21, 1960, at the Santa Rita Hotel in Tucson.
The first issue of the ASHA Publication, The Arizona Horseman, appeared in July of 1960.
One of the featured articles was a ride in Sycamore Canyon by Ben and Marion Perkins. The August issue included ambitious plans to set up a statewide trail system, and the establishment of a committee to monitor zoning. A statewide event to be called the Arizona Royal was proposed to include a horse show, gymkhana, cutting horse, roping contests, drill team and parade competition. To help finance the Royal, Doc Pardee promised to give $50.00 from each of 30 stallion fees from Jozak, while Roy Harrelson (a wonderful asset to Arizona and a good friend) promised $50.00 from each of ten stallion fees of his horse, Beau Play. The issue also included planned trail ride competition with annual awards, a training program for judges, a statewide insurance plan and an ambitious educational program to cover horse care and training. Readers were reminded to listen to station KOY at 8:30 A.M. Sunday when Porters Store presented Gil Travelers program "let's talk horse".
The third issue of The Horseman was issued in January, and by then ASHA could boast 480 members. A U.S. Department of Agriculture survey revealed that 58,000 horses resided in the state.
ASHA welcomed, as new members, the Mission Saddle Club of Tucson, plus Sun Devil Rodeo Club and the Rocking "M" Saddle Club of Tempe. Charter membership was extended until May 1,1961.
The Horseman reported that the first horse seminar had taken place at Lasma Arabian Ranch, Jan.7th, under the sponsorship of ASHA, The Arabian Association of Arizona and the Animal Science Dept. of ASU. The first annual all day workshop for those interested in the advancement of horse activities was held Jan.14 at ASU. A week later the ASU Farm was the setting for the first training horse show, a pilot program in which judges explained their placements. The first meeting of the reorganized trail committee was held at ASU.
February 10, 1961
Bud Brown was named Chairman with Dottie Gilbert, Region I Trails Subcommittee Chairman. Aeola Mitchell, Region, and Mamie Jackson, Region III. The trail committee passed two resolutions; one calling for a system of trails, the other asking for a larger Squaw Peak Park. Thus began the citizen's push for the Sun Circle, other trails and for the Phoenix Mountain Preserves.
The 1961 convention was held in April and the Board of Directors elected Raul Castro as President, Robert Aste, Vice President, C.C.Cooper, Treasurer and T.A. Goodnight, Chairman of the Board.
During 1962, the Region I Trails Committee made great strides, presenting its two petitions asking for a trail system and larger Squaw Peak Park to the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors, the City Council and Phoenix Parks and Recreation Board. Each petition carried over 1300 signatures. The ASHA Region I Trails Committee proposed a 150-mile valley of the Sun Circle Trail, along canal and river systems, which would tie together Estrella Mountain Regional Park, South Mountain Park and Squaw Peak Park. Jack Connelly, and Jess Kleck pre-rode the trails and recommended their location. The Salt River Project consented to the use of the canal banks for trails. Phoenix repaired and reconstructed the 15-mile summit trail through South Mountain. The Arizona State Highway Department with the consent of the U.S. Bureau of Public Roads, revised its’ plans to include a horse crossing over the Black Canyon Highway. To draw attention to the need for trails, Bud Brown, accompanied by outriggers, drove his mule drawn stagecoach from Prescott to Phoenix.
Bob Bohannon, member of the Region I Trail Committee and later President of ASHA, kept urging the committee to have fewer meetings and do more riding---with the result that ASHA and Maricopa County Parks Department began to sponsor monthly trail rides. The first one held November 1962, drew 74 riders to Estrella Park. The second ride in December in the McDowell Mountain Regional Park attracted 105 riders, including Ruth O'Neill, Vice Chairman of the Board of Supervisors and Kenneth Smithee, County Parks Director. By the end of the first season, 574 riders had participated.
At the annual meeting of ASHA, November 10, 1962, in an office at the Valley National Bank at First Street and Willetta (Tom Goodnight's branch) the following were elected: Col. George Hastings, President, Robert C. Bohannan Jr., Vice President, Bud Brown, Secretary and James C. Witty, Treasurer.
In 1963 The Arizona Horseman Magazine ceased publication after editor and Executive Secretary, Vance Herrold, moved away. It resumed again with Dottie Gilbert as editor and continued with Ed Zumach taking over in December of 1968.
At the request of ASHA, Maricopa County Board of Supervisors established the Maricopa County Hiking and Riding Trails Committee to recommend a system of trails. William E. Craft (a General Electric co-worker) was named Chairman and Perl Charles, a member. The committee continued until 1995 and included bicycles and hikers as defined by its’ non-motorized multi-use charter. The chairman was always a member of ASHA, and the members included agency personnel and interested citizens. Much more of the committees’ accomplishments will be covered later in ASHA's history.
In 1964-65, ASHA attempted a horse census in 1964 with Rex Franklin as Chairman. Somehow it didn't get off the ground, so ASHA assigned the gifted Phoenix City Planner Paul Van Cleve and myself as co-chairman. Paul was the planner that came up with the hillside ordinances to stop development of our Phoenix mountain slopes. Paul was great to work with, but he became too busy to work on the census. I can still picture him on the trail, riding a huge charcoal colored horse that was a real handful. Paul died a few years later and was greatly missed by all that knew him. The census was defined as the Greater Phoenix Area and stretched from Pima Road on the East, 65th Avenue on the West, Deer Valley Road on the North and Baseline on the South. Maps were prepared and blocks of approximately 5 miles by 5 miles were assigned to a long list of volunteers. Chuck Lakin covered the area from Indian School to Buckeye Road and from 17th to 65th Avenues. He reported 317 horses abiding there. I recall making a report to ASHA in 1965 when Bob Bohannon was President. The meeting was held at the Saddleback Inn at Biltmore Plaza and was attended by approximately 125 members and guests.
Bob's wife Kay was Membership Chairman and host of the meeting. Prior to the meeting, she drifted through the group introducing herself and offering small talk. When dinner was over, she stepped to the microphone, introduced everyone in attendance by his or her name and added an anecdote about each one. She was amazing and made everyone feel welcome.
The result of the final census report was that 6,679 horses were counted in the greater Phoenix area and were counted by 50 volunteers. Ed Zumach later editor of The Horsemen's Magazine and his wife Jacquie rented a helicopter for his area and counted 723 horses.
Chapter 2...The Early 70's
Emery Henderson, in an article in the Arizona Horsemen of April-May 1970, called "The Wilderness Rides by Emery Henderson, indicated that he joined ASHA in 1966 after a ride on Mt. Baldy. ASHA riders had invited him to join the association. Thus began a relationship that was great for all concerned.
Emery was the ultimate horseman. He came with knowledge of horse training, packing, driving, showing and many other attributes.
We served on many committees together, and his contributions were invaluable.
Statewide trail system 1971, in the May 17, 1971 issue of the Phoenix Gazette.
A story by Dottie Gilbert mentioned that then President, Peter Neisser had delegated to me, along with Bud Brown, to attempt to develop a statewide trail system. Shortly thereafter I was made the acting director of the Maricopa County Trail Committee. Howard Gilmore had moved from the Mid-West and brought with him extensive knowledge and training in the workings of the public park system. Tom Wardell, a horseman, who had been a director of ASHA, assigned Howard the task of running the county rides and the trail committee. Howard was a jewel to work with and was always a good friend of the horsemen. With the help of the county trail committee, Bud Brown and Emery Henderson, we developed the system of trails that included the Sun Circle Trail, the 51st Avenue Trail (Sunburst Trail) the Black Canyon Trail, the General Crook Trail and several others.
By the fall of 71, I had replaced Hal Adams as chairman of the county committee. Ready to sell the statewide trail program continued in 1971, Bud Brown arranged a meeting with the governor that took place in October of 71. Governor Williams listened attentively to the chart and map presentation and was excited about the prospect of a multiple use trail system that extended throughout the state. He was particularly interested in the General Crook Trail, and suggested that anyone interested in the history of the trail, should read Martha Summerhayes experiences of 1881 as a soldiers wife with the army in her book, Vanished Arizona (it's highly recommended). As a result of the meeting, the governor established the state trail committee under the state park system with the necessary funds to work on the statewide trail system. I was honored to be designated the first chairman of the committee.
Havasupai Ride in 1972: I was lucky to be invited on a Henderson Memorial Weekend Ride into the Havasupai Canyon. This was not an official ASHA ride, but all members were invited to go. We pulled our horses to the Grand Canyon, South Rim, where we mounted up for the ride down. The food for the horses was taken down by helicopter. I immediately got into trouble with Emery for riding ahead of the group. I was riding a young and frisky white Appy gelding. Whenever I rode a frisky horse in the morning, I was accustomed to running them a little to take the edge off as a precaution to getting bucked off. Emery let it be known that nobody rides ahead of the trail boss and that was that. I swear that Emery had the slowest walking horses in the state.
The ride into the canyon was pleasant and uneventful except for a few special events. One afternoon we all rode our horses to the make shift rodeo grounds to witness a horse race with Indian Riders and some of our group. The only difference was that instead of running it was to be a slow walking race. The Indians never understood that and when the race started, the Indians raced to the finish line and cheered their victory. Well, when the prizes were handed to the slow walkers all hell broke loose. I thought the Indian wars were starting all over.
Emery and his lovely wife, Betty, had worked with the Indians for a couple of years before this ride, so they were able to take us to some beautiful spots, complete with petroglyphs. I have a great memento of the ride; a picture of me on my horse at the top of Mooney Falls taken by Emery.
Phoenix to Grand Canyon Ride, April 1972: two young men, named Dan Gray and Willie Harris decided that they would like to ride from Phoenix to the Grand Canyon, and would appreciate directions and help of the horsemen's association. We took it as an opportunity to promote the trail system, and thereby became sponsors for the ride. There was wide coverage by the Gazette and Dottie Gilbert's column.
Their ride took several days and followed the Sun Circle Trail, then the Black Canyon Trail to Cordes Junction. From there they rode to Grief Hill in the Verde Valley, up Casner Mountain along Sycamore Canyon to Garland Prairie. From there they rode to Parks near Flagstaff. The next two days were spent riding to the rim of the canyon where they met by family and transportation home. It was a great experience for the men and some memories that they will always cherish.
Phoenix Mountain Preservation Commission 1972: Dottie Gilbert, the champion of the preserve, (if her name is mentioned often, it was because she was involved in everything the association was involved in, and she was always a pleasure to work with). In any event she was up to her ears in the development of the preserve and any and all aspects of it. She arranged that several of us were assigned as members of the commission, and my certificate from John Driggs is dated February 8, 1972.
That was the beginning of many hours of meetings and presentations to public groups to help sell the need and the bond issues that followed. She could never applaud enough, the work done by Charles Christenson, a City of Phoenix employee that came from Chicago with plenty of bond selling savvy and spelled the difference between success and failure of the Mountain Preserve program. A trail is named for him in the preserve as a reminder of the positive effect he brought to the program.
Chapter 3, 1973-1974
Multiple Use Trails, 1973: Recently, it was stated by one of the original bicycle committee members, that we did not want to include bicycles in our county committee plans. That is totally untrue; Howard Gilmore who represented the county was adamant from the beginning that we develop multi-use trails that included hikers, bicycles and equestrians.
The opposite, however, was true. In 1973, a couple of bills were introduced in the legislature by representative Ruth Beck to use monies from automobile dealers license plates to build bicycle paths; horses were not included. Some time later Sandra Day O’Conner introduced a similar bill in the senate taking a portion of the automobile tax for bicycle paths. Again horses were excluded, although owners of horses pay the same gas tax, and when considering the gas used to haul horses around the state, they should be considered a priority. At the time the bill was being considered, I approached Senator O’Conner armed with the responsibilities of both the county and state trail committees that I chaired. With the most endearing tones possible, I requested that she consider horses in her bill. I recall that at the time, she had a cast on her leg, the result of a skiing accident that possibly influenced her reaction. In any event, she flew into a rage and chewed me out in a manner that I thought I was back aboard the carrier in the South Pacific. I was so stunned that I retreated with my eyes and mouth wide open in astonishment. We never did get monies from the legislature for the development of trails. Oh! Well; so much for the rancher’s daughter helping horsemen.
Trail Rider’s Clinic, 1973: One of the ways the association raised money was to put on clinics. One such clinic, called the three-in-one, was conducted at the old Western Saddle Club on Dreamy Draw, March 26. Emery Henderson, who had packed into many of the wilderness areas on horseback, both to hunt and to enjoy the scenery, demonstrated the proper way to pack a horse for such a trip. Tom Thomas, an experienced competitive rider, horse shoer, trainer and long time ASHA worker, demonstrated how to condition and prepare a horse for competitive rides, with emphasis on the care of the horses feet. The third portion of the clinic, pleasure horse management, was conducted by professor Gordon Shillingburg of Scottsdale, an animal nutritionist. The professor gave tips, beneficial to all, including novice trail riders. Cost of the clinic was $1.00 for adults and $.50 cents for youngsters. The proceeds went to the state trail committee; to be used for marking and promoting a state trails system.
The Second National Trails Symposium 1973: I was privileged to represent ASHA, the state and the county trail committees, which I chaired. This national event was held at Colorado Springs, Colorado in June of 1973. I was in the company of Wally Vegors the Assistant Director of State Parks and our good friend, Howard Gilmore, Assistant. Director of County Parks. That was in a time when the parks were eager to work with community organizations.
One of the many highlights of this conference was the speech given by the then Governor of Oregon, the Honorable Tom McCall It had to do with the protection of the environment by horsemen. He stated that horsemen have a duty to the environment, and its care whenever riding on the trail.
Sunburst Trail 1973: Ed Zumach, longtime member of ASHA and at one time editor of the association’s magazine had an extensive article in the September Ninth, Arizona Republic, pertaining to the importance to the state trail system to the Sunburst Trail that runs up 51st Avenue. Ed, representing ASHA and the Sunburst Farms Homeowners Association, cooperated in the project. Ed, as one of the residents of Sunburst Farms, helped the City of Glendale planners to design the 25-foot wide trail. Hallcraft Homes donated 25 foot on the East side of their sub-division to the City of Glendale for a portion of the trail. Other working members of ASHA who lived in Sunburst Farms and contributed were Mrs. Amy Loss and Bill Collier.
Trail System Legislation in 1972-73: The association was busy attempting to get legislation to help fund the state trail system. In a Dottie Gilbert Valley Hoofbeats Gazette article, she chided the legislators for dragging their feet. The association never succeeded in getting the legislature to go along with the plan. Other states cooperated with user groups, but not Arizona.
County Trail Rides-1973-74: ASHA with the help of Howard Gilmore, the Assistant County Park Director, scheduled the following county rides: October 20, Usery Mountain Recreation Area; November 17; Lake Pleasant Regional Park, December 15; McDowell Mountain Regional Park , January 19; Buckeye Hills Recreation Area, February 23; Estrella Mountain Regional Park, March 23. To be announced: April 20-21, Black Canyon Sheep Drive Trail. The trail ride fee was stated to be $2.00 and those requiring horses may rent them from any of six stables cooperating in the program. Dean Fleming of Scottsdale, Chairman of the ASHA County Rides Committee stated that two additional rides would be scheduled: one on the Sun Circle Trail and the other in South Mountain Park. The Sun Circle Trail will cover three days, with each day covering a different part of the trail.
Rides for 1974 will include the Organ Pipe National Monument, Sycamore Canyon, Supai Indian Reservation in the Grand Canyon and Canyon de Chelly National Monument on the Navajo Reservation.
Tribute to Dottie Gilbert: The most outstanding member of ASHA in the last forty years, was undoubtedly Dottie. She championed the Phoenix Mountain Preserve program by inviting several of the important dignitaries in the city to ride in the preserve and enjoy its’ beauty.
I recall a ride over Squaw Peak that several dignitaries were on. I was right behind Mayor Margaret Hantz going over the top, when her provided horse stumbled and went to his knees. I thought she was going to fall off, but fortunately she didn’t. Dottie was also responsible for obtaining the 50 year lease from Salt River for the use of the canal for the Sun Circle Trail.
Dottie was a very gentle soul and hated to see anyone hurt. On one Scottsdale morning ride, a trainer was riding a young gray horse owned by Bob Bohannon, and in a couple of jumps, the trainer found himself on the ground and the horse partly on him. When the dust cleared most of us were off our horses to see if we could help. Dottie in her own motherly way asked the cowboy if he was hurt. He was quick to reply that it was just a usual occurrence to have a horse sit on him right after breakfast.
A big part of Dottie’s success was due to her gentle and gentlemanly husband, “Gil”, who worshiped her and provided her every wish. They were a great couple. Later in the history, we will mention the small park on North Central that Howard Gilmore helped get dedicated to Dottie for her contributions to trails and the preserve. Thanks to Howard who believed in naming monuments after volunteers who made a difference, she won’t be forgotten. She did make a difference.
Chapter 4, 1975 to 1980
Monte Foreman: The main focus through these years continued to be the trail rides, parades, Maricopa Trails Committee, work on the major trails and clinics. It was a good way to raise money and everyone enjoyed them.
Emery Henderson would teach packing, Chuck Lakin would talk nutrition and a new star arrived on the scene, Monte Foreman. He was the original horse Whisperer, and we were all students. There were evening meetings where he lectured with the help of video films, displaying the proper way to train your horse. He provided two books on the subject; one was called The Horse Handling Science and detailed the proper manner to train and correct problems. The other book was Those Cantankerous Leads. It seemed like everyone in the organization was a follower of these books and principals.
During the day, Monte would have his clinics where you could join a group for lessons or you could get private tutelage: that is if you could afford it.
One of the principals that was encouraged was the “balanced ride”. Seems that together with the Falsie Saddlery of Colorado, Monte had designed a saddle that better distributed the weight of the rider over the horses’ front legs and in doing so, the horse was able to perform better. Everyone who bought the saddles, swore by them.
I doubt that anyone had more influence over the horsemen of that time than Monte Foreman had.
Special horses: If you have read the previous chapters, you have to realize that this history is about people and horses, more than an organization.
When I think about horses, a few immediately come to mind. The first would be a rolly poly Buckskin owned by Tom Thomas, horseshoer, chairman of the county committee and excellent horse trainer and driver. This magnificent equine was 15 hands tall and round, like a butterball; in fact her name was “Buttercup”. Tom was into competitive riding, and offered to let my 12 year old daughter Connie ride her in a twenty-five mile event. As I recall, the ride was out near the McDowell’s, and darkness fell before the ride was over. I was nearly petrified with fear as time went on, and no horse and rider appeared. My fears were unfounded because after a couple of hours, this faithful buckskin and rider appeared.
Tom used Buttercup on several competitive rides at Mormon Lake, and unfortunately on one, she fell and broke a leg. Tom had to put her down and bury her on the site. Several Memorial Buttercup rides were held in later years.
Super Chief: Emery Henderson had a Morgan colt that he named “Super Chief”. When the colt was two. We had a ceremony celebrating a new horse tunnel under the road near the Biltmore. Emery brought the colt and a light cart that he used for training. It seemed that some of the horses were leery of the tunnel, but not chief. It was amazing to watch him go back and forth through the tunnel pulling that cart and Emery like it was commonplace. Chief lived to an old age and gave the Hendersons’ many pleasant rides.
Emery had a clinic at his house off Carefree Highway one time, and accomplished what to me seemed impossible. He hung a chain saw under one of his horses, with the engine at full throttle, mounted and rode off as if it was the natural thing to do. (Yes, the chain had been removed)
Stormy: I was fortunate enough to raise an Appaloosa Stallion, and then gelding, that belonged in the elite class. He was very trainable and beautiful to look at. He enjoyed driving when he was two and riding when he was three. One of the things he would do was lie down on command and on many county rides, I was able to eat my lunch sitting on him while he was lying down. Stormy was a handsome pure white horse, with a sprinkling of color on his back sides. I was fortunate to take Stormy on a ride into Havasupai Canyon with Emery, and he was an instant hit with the Indians. They all wanted to ride him and a few did. I have a memorable picture taken by Emery with Stormy and me at the top of Mooney Falls.
There is an old cowboy saying that you are very fortunate if in your life you have one good horse, one good woman and one good dog; not necessarily in that order.
Chapter 5, The 80's
1985 - Black Canyon Trail Activity: Moe Schalmo was ASHA’s Maricopa County Trails Committee Chairman at the time that the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) requested that we establish the proper route of the multi-purpose trail (Bicycle, Hiker and Equestrian) for its entire 47-mile length.
Moe was an enthusiastic horseman, and his wife and kids enjoyed riding with him. I recall being assigned a portion of the Sun Circle with him by Tom Thomas who was arranging an entire Sun Circle ride, with the exception of the Aqua Fria portion. A driving group covered some of the sections. Moe and I were chosen to ride the portion through Scottsdale. We arrived in Scottsdale at 5 P.M., on a Friday afternoon, and it was a good thing that our horses didn’t mind heavy traffic. Moe was always a lot of fun, but unfortunately died a few years after our ride.
The main subject here is the Black Canyon Trail and between Howard Gilmore, the spark plug at Maricopa County Park and Moe, a special committee was formed to address the request of BLM. The committee chosen was as follows: Don Meyers, Arizona State Parks; Barbara Ahearn, BLM; Tish Clough, Arizona State Land Department; Emery Henderson, ASHA; Bob Bentley Chairman, ASHA.
The portion through Maricopa County was completed in the summer of 1985. The accomplishments were presented to Yavapai County Board of Supervisors, who assigned Harry Stevens of their parks and recreation department, and requested that the committee continue with their work on the portion of the trail in their county.
The work of the committee consisted of using horses on portions of the trail, and the BLM provided four-wheel drive vehicles for sections of the trail in Yavapai. Howard Gilmore even arranged a helicopter for portions in Maricopa County.
Historically the trail traces it’s roots to 1919 when the United States Department Of Interior laid out the route as a livestock driveway. It was used mainly by valley woolgrowers to herd sheep from their summer range in the mountains. The Espil Family of Litchfield Park herded the last sheep on the trail in 1974.
In 1969, the United States Secretary of the Interior, Stew Udall, realizing that the corridor was about through as a sheep drive and with the urging of ASHA members, set aside the roughly one mile wide corridor as a recreation area.
ASHA was continually active in the development of the trail because it represented a vital part of the statewide trail system: connecting the 51st Avenue Trail with the Sun Circle Trail. The trail ended five miles North of Cordes Junction.
The work accomplished by the committee in the period between 1985 and the dedication in 1987 was the most successful committee work that I was ever involved in. The committee worked a total of 30 days on the trail and expended, a total of 660 hours. Emery Henderson was extremely helpful with his prior experience on portions of the Southern part of the trail, and Howard Gilmore showed our appreciation by naming the trailhead on the New River Road after him.
Barbara Ahearn of BLM was always available and provided for our needs, including transportation. The combination of Don Meyers and Trish Clough provided the clarification of the real estate definitions of the where a bouts of the trail at various points. The committee received compliments from all agencies involved, and the Yavapai Board of Supervisors provided commendations to the committee.
The trail was officially dedicated on May 14, 1987 and was attended by many dignitaries, including Pete Espil of the family that last used the drive for herding sheep in 1974. The dedication site was on the river near the Gillett Town site. ASHA provided plaques to the committee members.
This whole operation probably would not have happened without the help of Howard Gilmore and his boss, Bill Richwine, of Maricopa County Parks. Their help and dedication were invaluable.