The 2010 version of the trail ride for the Souris Valley Trekkers took on some familiar and unfamiliar territory for those who joined in for the three-days of excursions by horseback and horse drawn wagons and buggies. The trekkers have found their way around and through almost all of the land in and around Roche Percee, their starting point, each season for the past 16 years and for the 16th consecutive year, Richard Asbenlieder was leading the charge as the appointed trail master. "I do it because I guess nobody else wants to," he said with a hearty laugh as he picked up his Stetson hat and boarded his horse Della for the first day's romp through an area north of the village of Roche Percee, the host community. This year's trek attracted 150 entries which included about a dozen wagons or buggies drawn by two horse hitch teams and at least one four-hitch mule team. The Friday afternoon six mile venture took the riders out in warm temperatures and mile breezes for an easy warm up. The longer Saturday trek started at 9 a.m. after an overnight camp out near the Roche Percee recreation grounds. This was a 13 mile run and walk west of the community while Sunday's trail that began just before noon involved eight miles of trail northwest of Roche Percee. Food services both on the trail and back at the camp were provided by a dedicated team from the Roche Percee Recreation Board. The entertainment also included a Saturday night dance and campfire although some of the riding and recreational activities were dampened somewhat by morning rains and heavy winds that lasted throughout the day. "In the 16 years I can't say we've had any real bad wrecks, no real problems, no accidents or big injuries," said Asbenlieder, pointing out the need to be safety conscious. For instance, this year there were no major river crossings planned due to the fact that most rivers in the region have swelled to higher levels due to heavy rains and a steady release of water from nearby Rafferty Dam. "The river is just too swift this year for some of the riders and wagons," said Asbenlieder. Of course that didn't eliminate all water crossings, but it did eliminate the more challenging river runs, which was welcomed by the more novice riders and those working with new teams of horses. The youngest riders were around eight years and most riders and wagon drivers arrived with at least some basic skill sets when it came to dealing with the equine world, which made Asbenlieder's task a bit easier.Some video footage of the start of the Saturday trek may be viewed on the www.estevanmercury.ca website.