About connie@karattopp.com

This author has not yet filled in any details.
So far connie@karattopp.com has created 68 blog entries.

September 17th Ride Location Change!

Note that due to tree debris left over from the storm, the September 17th ride will be changed from Phipps Park to Alford Arms.

Board Meeting Date Changed Due to Storm

The September board meeting will be moved to Wednesday, September 14th at 6:30.

2016 Summer Social

What a glorious day for a pool party! A steady arrival of folks started at 3:00pm sharp! Some came early to float in the pool, and others arrived just in time for the feast! The weather was warm with a few light rain showers, but the sun stayed out and there was no thunder so we stayed in the pool! We had a few snacks before dinner and continued to “float” and listen to music. The food that people brought was off the chain! Some of which I must mention: Lyn’s sweet potato casserole and Luanne’s special blueberry cheesecake. Several familiar faces were there that I hadn’t seen in a while, like Wendy and Barry BoVee. I also had the pleasure to meet Ron’s wife Ann, and Wanda’s husband, Randy. It was really great to get together and enjoy each others’ company. Many of us were making plans for upcoming trail rides and looking forward to cooler weather.

I would like to especially thank the folks that showered me with gifts! It was a very nice surprise, and two of the gifts were actually home-made which makes them even more special. I know I had a wonderful time! — Wendy

Saturday afternoon started out with a quick rain shower, but fortunately it cleared and became a perfect day for a summer swim/social party. Many of us enjoyed lounging in the Trawick’s beautifully landscaped pool while others enjoyed munching snacks on the spacious deck. And of course dinner was delicious – we enjoyed spiral cut ham, along with a wide variety of side dishes and yummy desserts. Next time you see Linda V. ask her about her special experience at the party☺. Thanks again to Wendy and Curt for opening up your house to all of us. A great time was had by all!!! — Sharon

Saturday August 13th – Pool Party at the Trawick’s Place

Pool party at Curt and Wendy Trawick’s place. Humans only! Arrive at 3pm if you want to swim, 5pm if you want to visit and eat. A spiral ham will be provided, but please bring a covered dish and your choice of beverage. RSVP by August 8th to Wendy. See newsletter for details, or click on the Contact web page and send us an email!

Need Attendees! Public Meeting on St. Mark’s Headwater Greenway

An Important Update to STA Members!

Below and attached is the ONLY public meeting regarding the St. Mark’s Headwaters Greenway, located off Baum Road, between the CSX railroad tracks and Buck Lake Road, Tallahassee FL.

It is very important that we have as many equestrians as possible. Please mark your calendar now and plan to attend. We have wsited 12 years to get this far and only after continued involvement and contact with Leon County has this project moved forward.

Public Meeting:
August 3 @ 2:30 p.m.
City of Tallahassee Renaissance Center
2nd floor
435 N Macomb St
Tallahassee, FL

Suggested Speaking Points:

1. Make sure the trail does not run parallel to the rail road tracks in a straight line, as it provides significant spook in some horses when the train comes through. Instead, the trail should meander through the woods to buffer the RR tracks.

2. Adequate parking and turn around for horse trailers. A separate area for horse trailers is preferred so that what transpired at the J. R. Alford Greenway isn’t repeated.

3. Hours of operation should be sunrise to sunset, minimally.

4. Make sure the equestrian trail head is simply that, not a children’s playground. There must not be a swing set or playground equipment anywhere near the equestrian trail head or trails. Again, we prefer a separate area for equestrians from other vehicles, so horse trailers are not blocked by walkers/hikers/bicyclists unaware of the space needs of horses and trailers. Again, the J.R. Alford Greenway provided plenty of proof of how bad things can get and the County expended approximately $3,000 to correct the situation earlier this year.

5. If gated, use a lock like that used at Elinor Knapp-Phipps Park, where a 4 digit combination that changes several times a year, is provided.

6. Place a porta-let on site if possible.

I plan to attend and hope to see a packed room of equestrians. Wear a STA t-shirt or horse motif apparel so we make a visual impact as well. You do not have to speak if you are uncomfortable doing so, but please be in attendance! County leaders are always impressed with citizens showing interest in an issue and this meeting is our only chance to impress the County with our desire for this Greenway.

As always, if you have questions, feel free to contact me. It is my honor to serve as President of Southern Trailriders Association.

Sincerely,

July 23, 2016 -Ride and Swim at Sand Pond

Ride leader Ron led off at a little after nine with most of a large group of riders for such a hot and humid day. But because of the heat Ron decided to keep the ride short and spend more time swimming. We left Katrina and her two riders in the parking lot adjusting tack and she will tell her story next. Mike came in later but managed to run into their group on the trail.

We were glad to have Donna and her mom Lou Ann from Bristol and their friend Sandy join us. There were some other new members and guests as well. Ron led us on an hour long trail that pretty much did a circle from lake to lake on mostly single track trails. Some places the summer vegetation had kind of taken over, but there were no real problems, only a few scratches. We returned to the trailers to change into shorts and grab our lunches. Then on to the swimming hole.

Every horse is different about water. Mine love it and have been coming to that pond for their entire lives. Tally couldn’t wait for me to get the saddle off and broke away from me and hauled himself right into a group of about 6 horses up to his back in water. He wasn’t hard to catch!! He also likes to float and when he does his rear legs go off to the side and he spins circles. Some of them snooze and groan and fall asleep. Others like to dig and splash and roll. What ever turns them on makes me happy because I know they are enjoying themselves on a hot summer day. Roving Reporter

Opening for a New Board Member

Terri Stallings resigned her position as Secretary on the Southern Trailriders Association Board of Directors. Under the By Laws of our organization, the Board shall appoint a replacement to serve the remainder of the term until the Annual Meeting and Election of Officers is held.

If you are a member in good standing (dues current), are available for monthly board meetings, held presently at The Other Seineyard, Tharpe and N. Monroe Streets, dinner 5:30 p.m., meeting 6:30 p.m., first Wednesday of the month, able to take and prepare minutes of monthly board meetings as well as at membership meetings and willing to participate in STA events, please let me or another Board Member know. Board meetings generally last 1.5 hours but sometimes extend to 2 hours.

We would like to fill the vacant board position before the August 3rd meeting if possible.

As you know, STA is 26 years old and foremost the leader in the Big Bend Region for advocating for equestrian riding opportunities. We put our words into action through trail maintenance and pursuit of new trail opportunities. We host rides usually twice a month except in the heat of summer, and then we try to come up with other events that our members can enjoy. If you would like to join us on the Board of Directors, we would welcome hearing from you. Members are always welcome to attend the monthly Board of Directors Meeting as well.

Should you have questions, please feel free to contact me at 850.273.1255 or the Board via email, board@southerntrailriders.org

Quarterly Membership Meeting

What a wonderful evening 22 members and prospective members had at the 2nd Quarterly Membership Meeting held at The Wilderness Cabin on Saturday, June 18th. We enjoyed great food from the buffet that included pork roast, meat loaf, fried chicken, 3 types of shrimp, 3 types of fish, plus Southern vegetables, salads and desserts, all for $16.99 plus tax and gratuity. We had a private room, which made it easy to update members on all the new things Southern Trailriders Association is involved in. Torreya State Park’s proposed equestrian trails have been identified and now we wait for approval from higher authorities. We will keep you posted but our sincere thanks to Linda Vause, Suzanne Lane and Gary McDougald for all the hours in the saddle they put in. We also are pursuing permission from Leon County to build a mounting block at J R Alford Greeway. Our moonlight ride proved so popular we have another one coming up in July! Plus the chance to swim with your horse at Lost Lake also in July. And we also have another membership pool party coming up in August! Megan updated us on the pending land swap for the extension of Thorton Road within the Miccosukee Greenway. This project has been going on for over 3 years, with Sue working on it. We will have more information to share and also ask the membership to encourage the Governor and Members of the Florida Cabinet to support the land swap. We ended our meeting and returned to chatting about, what else, our horses. All of us agreed that the drier, cooler air of Autumn could not come soon enough! We hope to see you at the next event!

June 11, 2016 – Phipps Park

This was a special ride for me, because it was my first official trail ride with my new mount “Famous Amos”. He is a little bit of a nervous guy, so I wasn’t sure what to expect. I need to thank everyone that was on the ride for patiently waiting while I got my new tack just right and settled in the saddle. Amos was a little fidgety at first, but once we headed down the trail he was a brave leader and I was very impressed!

My trail partners were Sharon on Cricket, Ambrose on Sally, Rocky on Silk, and Laura on her Appaloosa, Jewel.

We headed down the trail toward the Meadows Soccer Complex and meandered through the woods. The biting flies were quite active, especially for me since I was in the lead. I was thankful that Laura brought some roll-on fly spray. It came in handy for Amos’s ears. I completely forgot I had a fly mask in my trailer!

Jewel and Silk were the only non-gaited horses and did a great job of keeping up with the fast walk of the gaited geldings. There were some arrows painted on the ground for a group of folks that were racing on foot. The horses were not impressed with these and refused to walk on them. Amos and Cricket snorted at them a few times, but no spooking occurred. At one point our normal trail was blocked to direct the runners and we got off course for a few minutes, but with Sharon’s EQUiTrail App and Laura’s map we quickly were back on the trail.

Other than the heat and a few flies it was a great ride! Afterwards Sharon, Laura and I relaxed and ate lunch while Ambrose and Rocky headed home. We had never met Laura and it was great getting to know her.
Come joins us next time at Phipps. It is a beautiful trail!

STA Quarterly Membership Dinner Meeting – Saturday June 18

There will be a “Social” at 5:00 pm, followed by dinner at 6:00 pm. STA will have a private area reserved, so when you arrive ask for us! Location will be at the Wilderness Cabin located at 1900 Capital Circle NE.

Come join us for a delicious dinner buffet! The price is $16.99 plus tax and includes a variety of meats, seafood, fresh vegetables and desserts. The Wilderness Cabin also serves beer and wine.

May 21, 2016 – Moonlight Ride

I was the ride contact so I scouted the trail the Sunday before with Joel to mark the trail for the moonlight ride. The biting flies on the trail were ferocious and we tried to out run them. That worked well for Scarlett, my 14.1 hand quarter horse, because Joel and Tulip, a 17.2 hand Walker, travels much faster and the flies always attack the first horse. We were moving along so fast I wasn’t able to put up markers. I returned to scout on Thursday evening and the flies were even worse. Blondie and I lasted one hour in the woods, returning to the trailer I started the bug fogger and proceeded to kill all the bugs. On the way out, I called Susan and asked if she would be on the moonlight ride. I told her I wasn’t comfortable leading since I haven’t ridden these trails enough to be familiar with them in the dark. She promised to be there and most likely Jill would also ride. Thank you to Susan, Jill and Julie, Jill’s daughter. Without these three friends we would have been lost in the National Forest till sunrise. The magnificent moonlight ride had 13 riders and 14 horses. Linda on Blondie, Suzanne on Trouble, guest Jimmy on Sugar, guest Gary on California, Pat riding Dusty, Pat’s husband Butch on Sheba, Ambrose on Sally, Rocky on Silk, Cody on Hoss, Lyn on Tally, Susan on Onyx, Jill on Buddy, Julie on her quarter horse Raven and the old guy Laddy being ponyed. Julie brought the old guy so he wouldn’t be left at the barn alone to stress out. I arrived at 6:30 seeing that Ambrose, Gary, Jimmy, and Suzanne had already parked and were preparing for the ride. I started the bug fogger while Gary worked the sign in sheet proclaiming to be the PR man and assigning Jimmy as maintenance crew. Suzanne, Ambrose, and Jimmy cleaned up the parking area as others arrived. We started down the trail at 7:30 while the clouds rolled in with a light breeze. Gary who is hard of hearing said “do I hear thunder?” I replied “no, you hear a plane because we are close to the airport.” Gary was too smart for that and he said “as long as there isn’t any lighting we’ll be okay.” A few more rumbles and it started sprinkling lasting about 10 minutes cooling us down and running the flies off. Butch’s cell phone kept ringing with friends wishing him a happy birthday. What a great way to spend your birthday. As we meandered past cypress ponds and through the pines, darkness covered the forest. Where was the moon? Gary spotted the moon coming up behind a cumulus cloud and it was the most beautiful moon rise I have ever seen on our moonlight rides. We heard whippoorwills and owls as we headed back. Susan and Jill led the gaited horses in while Julie kept the quarter horses on track arriving at the trailers 10:00. The next moonlight ride will be Saturday July 16 at 7:30 St. Marks Rail Trail parking under the power lines Hope to see ya’ll there. Happy Trails — Linda

June 4, 2016 – St. Marks Rail Trail

The temperature at 6 a.m. was 70 degrees, but the weather report called for cloudy skies with rain possible in the afternoon and a high of 94 degrees.

I wondered how many folks would come to ride in the national forest, especially since we had to park under a power line. My hope was that the clouds would bring a nice breeze with it and the shade of the pines would help cool us down. As it turned out, I was right! Six folks rode; five gals and one guy. The co-leader of the ride, Ron, was unable to come due to contracting shingles, but Ambrose (Sally) made a good stand-in and Pam (Flashy), Nancy (Gypsy), Doel (Snippy), Linda (Blondie) and I (Sadie) joked that this was Ambrose’s Harem Ride! (Actually, Linda missed out on this discussion as she arrived late and had to catch up with us. )

We rode west past the apartment complex and passed the first road into the forest (where the gate is) and took the single track trail to the south.The clouds started slowly rolling in and with them the blessed breeze. The horses were all relaxed and I wondered if it was fate or they instinctively know to reserve their energy. We stayed on the single track and left it when we were near another power line so we could cross to the other side and take jeep roads to the west again. Everyone was joking and enjoying the beauty of the forest and we were wondering when Linda would catch up with us as I had taken a call from her asking for our location. (It is hard to describe where you are in the forest once you take a sin- gle track trail because you cross jeep roads and you aren’t sure which ones they are.) We went near Munson Slew before heading south and then almost to the gas pipeline before turning east on another jeep road. We had commented earlier about the research ponds being used to reintroduce striped newt in the forest and ran into Ryan, who is heading up the project, as he was inspecting one of the ponds. We talked with him for a while and then moved on. We were heading to the ponds near the Rail trail so the horses could get water if they needed it. I tried to call Linda when we were approaching the power line again and she said she could see us! She was coming down the power line so we were finally a full ride!

Everything else went quite smoothly and on the return to the trailers we decided to go in from the rail trail. Sadie and Snippy were in the lead and stopped on full alert. We were next to the big ditch that has lots of bushes in it. We couldn’t see anything so we started up again. Then, a couple of deer jumped across the road in front of us and we all realized that is what the horses had seen. It was a nice way to end a good 2.5 hour ride! — Sue

May 11, 2016 – Rivers Road Trail Improvements

This is a little up-date on the Rivers Rd. trails. Because of hunting season and other problems such as vandalism and wind and rain storms, the Rivers Road trails needed work and markers added. We had reports of people getting lost because markers were missing. So this is to let riders know that 6 senior citizen STA members worked on the blue and yellow trails on wed. May 11, 2016 and these two trails are good to go. Please give us a little time and we will get the orange and red trails up dated as well. It is still fairly cool in these woods so please come and enjoy the National Forest.
Roving Reporter

May 1, 2016 – Rocky Comfort

The Sunday morning ride at Rocky Comfort was beautiful and a little challenging! We had ten riders, members and guests, who enjoyed about 4¼ hours exploring the varying terrain offered at this management area. We climbed a few hills, crossed creeks, weaved through wooded trails, chatted along forest roads and old firebreaks, ducked under limbs, tried to avoid vines and holes, hopped over or skirted around some big logs and slopped through a bit of mud. Fresh horses produced a little excitement along the way and good company provided the smiles and laughter. Ambrose was the only guy in the crowd but he was a real trooper even though his “green” horse refused a muddy bank at the first creek crossing and we lost him for about an hour. Thanks to Susan and Linda, who have been helping prepare for the ride, we managed to keep the group moving and rounded up our stray fella at the same time. Due to minor delays along the trail, we did exceed the “suggested” time limit which I’m sure was no surprise to those of you who have ridden with me! Overall, I think most would agree that we had an excellent adventure and are looking forward to the next one!! Others who rode May 1st: Gayle, Rocky, Joyce, Michelle, Chris, and Nancy. See you on the trail less traveled…Suzanne & Trouble

May 14th – Bring Your Horse to Work!

May 14th Work Day at Ft Braden…it is now a bring your horse  work day!  Suzanne discovered they will not allow 4-wheelers there, so we will be on horse back trimming the trails.  Folks are encouraged to bring loppers and/or hand saws.  Lunch and beverages will be provided by STA.  Please RSVP to Lyn Grant so she knows how much food to bring.  Her number is 562-0241.  Suzanne is still leading the ride, but Lyn is bringing the food.

Benefit Poker Run Ride – April 16, 2016

There was more than one winner at STA’s Poker Ride on Saturday, April 16th.

With memories of last year’s multiple rain-outs a collective sigh of relief welcomed the sun; win number 1.

A total of 22 people signed in with Sharon and Wendy. The riders were almost evenly divided between STA members and non-members including Brent and Cindy on matching chocolate Rocky Mountain horses and the tortoise/hare pairing of Linda  and Chris.

For those of you that missed the ride, the format was a self-guided ride following paper plate makers at your desired pace with riders/horses of your choosing. All riders were given their first card at sign-in. Riders then crossed Rivers Road a total of three times where riders drew cards to build their Poker Hand. The dealers included Katrina, Ron, Doel, Sue and Lyn with Katrina calculating the winning hand. The ride lasted about 2 ½ hours and shortly after the last riders arrived back at the trailers Katrina announced David as the winner. David then donated his winnings back to STA less $40 for a dinner celebration. Thank you, David. STA now has an additional $180 to spend on trail projects.

Win number 2. The third winner was an abandoned Fox Terrier found in the Forest by Ron and Doel. After dealing their Poker cards, they rushed the dog to the emergency vet. After surgery and attempts to locate the owner, the dog has been adopted by Ron. Lucky would be a good name.

April 3, 2016 – Alford Arms

We had 9 riders for this Sunday ride, beginning at 10:30 am, on a gorgeous Spring Day.  Low humidity, cobalt blue skies and 65 degree temperature is what we all agreed was perfect riding weather.  A nice breeze would erupt about the time riders thought about shedding a long sleeve top.  Rider horse combos were: Connie & Dakota, Megan & Muchacho, Carole & Pax, Jade & Orfebre (guest), Peter & Stepper, Chris & Rose, Paulina & Cedar (guest), Laura & Thunder (guest), and ride leader, Janet on Charlie.  We broke into 2 groups as a couple of riders needed extra time to fix tack or tack up, but both groups rode the perimeter of the Greenway, using single and multi-track trails with ride times at 2 hours.  The trails were in great shape, even after all the rain that hit our area Friday night.  We shared great fellowship, strengthened newcomers to join us again, and join STA, so to me, this ride reflects the very best of STA!  I want to thank Connie for bringing an extra horse (Thunder) for my friend, Laura, to ride.  This was my last ride prior to knee replacement surgery, so it was extra special for me and I really welcomed all the joyous celebration.  Thank you to all the riders for a great time.  Oh, and the expanded parking is working out so well.  What an improvement!  We had six rigs and 2 other groups of 5 trailers were arriving as we were leaving, but there was still plenty of parking.  Thank you Leon County Division of Parks and Recreation for quickly addressing our concerns!

February 20, 2016 – Joe Budd Ride

17 riders showed up for the Joe Budd Wildlife Management Area ride.

First and most important, I want to thank all the people that made this day possible: Suzanne and Linda for doing extra duty marking trails and helping me learn more about the Joe Budd area; Donna for helping with trail marking; Ron, our Executive Chef, for cooking hamburgers and hotdogs; my husband, Herb, the Sous Chef, for cooking up the beans and helping put lunch together; Richard, for helping too (and he thought he was coming to relax and read a book J). This day would not have happened without your help!! Thanks so much!!!

After a few tack adjustments, we rode out at 10:20. This is truly an awesome area to ride. With the beautiful bluff we rode overlooking Little River and very little imagination, you would have thought you were in the mountains. We crossed streams, rode through ditches, went over downed trees, climbed up and down hills and wound around the trails, eventually arriving at the pavilion and pond.

Since Terri thought she was the entertainment for the day, and before we got out of the woods, she went head over neck on Star and hit the ground. Jumping back up and saying “I’m okay, I’m okay” we all felt relieved and proceeded to help her mount back up. Like a real trooper, she got on her horse and thoroughly enjoyed the rest of the day. (Terri, we might have to bring our old “sodbuster” award back to life for you).

After leaving the pond, Suzanne took us on a short cut back to the trailers, but of course not before treading through a few areas of water. Suzanne got a little surprise when her horse, Sage, decided to take a little dip in the water (with no warning) and Suzanne just gracefully rode her back up and continued on like nothing out of the ordinary had happened. Comments I heard afterwards were “awesome ride”, “that was great”, “we did a little bit of everything”, and “fantastic ride”. If you weren’t there, you missed a great one – maybe you can make it next year.

We rode 2.5 hours on the first half and arrived back for lunch at 12:45. The guys had lunch ready for us when we got back (how awesome is that). We enjoyed not only just hamburgers, but bacon cheeseburgers (wow Ron – you can cook for me anytime), baked beans, chips, and Lyn surprised us with pasta salad and potato salad, and of course dessert which was cookies and cupcakes.

After relaxing a bit, Suzanne, Linda, Nancy, and Ambrose went back out for the second half of the ride. They just didn’t want to stop on such a gorgeous day. Instead of taking the planned route, they decided to scout out a few different areas for about 2 hours. I understand they had a great time on that ride too.

January 30, 2016 – Phipps Park

If you missed this ride, you missed a good one! The weather was absolutely gorgeous with a slight breeze. Ambrose was the first to arrive and brought Sally. I arrived next with Bud and was surprised to see the city has extended the fencing on our parking side of the locked gate. I wondered if they were going to move the gate further in as I think they must be trying to provide more parking space for hikers and bikers. It’s disappointing to me, however, because it cuts off some of our access to shade under the trees and we will be forced to park in the field (that doesn’t get mowed very much) if a whole bunch of us show up to ride in the future.

Our new president, Janet, was the next to arrive with Charlie, then Sharon and Herb came in with Cricket and General. They were running a little late and said they would catch up with us if they weren’t ready by the start time. Another trailer pulled in and it was Mike Mathers, who used to be in the club a couple of years ago, with his horse Shay. I invited him to join our group and he was delighted. We also gave him an application to rejoin at his request!

When the start time arrived, Mike was still getting ready and Herb and Sharon were not quite ready, so Ambrose, Janet and I took off at a slow pace heading toward the ball fields to the east. I showed them where we are supposed to get a single track trail to get us over to the power line so we can avoid erosion, rocks and a blind turn. This can be dangerous as I have seen bikers come very fast through that turn and scare horses. I hope we can get this short trail accomplished this year.

After we got on the single track that goes by the ball fields, we heard the other riders and so we became one group. We rode down to see the bat house and Lake Victoria is still drained. I was surprised by this as I thought it was drained for the new dock that was recently built. The lake is owned by the Phipps family and is not part of the park. I mentioned it would be neat to see the bats leave at sundown to find their prey but did wonder if that activity would spook the horses.

Lake Jackson had plenty of water in it and I saw my first boat on the lake! Usually it just looks serene and inviting, even though you can’t get near it!
We continued on the multiple use trail until our single track trail came up which was developed to keep us off rocks they have put on the roads. This is a nice trail but it could use some remarking so that people know exactly where it goes.

All in all, it was a good two-hour ride and everyone had a good time.

Membership Renewal Time!

It’s time to renew your STA Membership. Don’t miss out! Download the membership form and mail it and your dues in today!