Valles Caldera appears on the right as I top the rise coming down Hwy. 4, west of Los Alamos, N.M. For years, I’ve imagined cantering my horse across the sweeping, bowl-shaped meadow dotted with tree-topped lava domes, evidence of the area’s past volcanic activity.

In the November 2003 issue of Western Horseman, I provided tips on how to negotiate various trail terrain. To further prepare you for the trail, I offer tack-selection tips in this exclusive online article.