About connie@karattopp.com

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

January 23, 2016 – Fort Braden

Most Floridians would agree it was too cold for activities on this day, but the 3 of us (Sharon, Ambrose, and Wendy bundled up and went for a ride! The temperature was in the mid thirties with winds of 15 to 20 mph. It was surprising to see a large group of people headed for a walk on the trail when we arrived. While we prepared our trusty mounts (Cricket, General and Sally) we sipped home-made hot chocolate. We then began our 2 hour trek on the East Loop. The creeks had a good amount of water and General enjoyed a few sips of the cold water. There was a tree that had fallen on the trail so we had to go around it, but other than that the trail was in good shape. We did not see any wildlife, and despite the cold weather it was a pleasant ride.

December 19, 2015 – St. Marks River State Park (Tram Road)

Nine souls came out to brave the low 40’s temperatures on this beautiful clear and sunny morning.  Ron, Doel, Charlotte, Pam, Herb, Jud and Jennette, Sue, and Bob.  Everyone certainly appeared to have plenty of cold weather wear on as we all appeared larger than normal.

The ride started out on the main blue trail and veered off in short order to a side trail (can’t remember if it was one of the colored trails).  The trails in this park are generally quite soft and with the rain Thursday as we went on the West perimeter of the park they became damp to muddy.  We were in the shade for about the first half of the ride and when we hit the occasional sunny opening comments could be heard about how good the sun felt.  We saw lots of deer tracks and later quite a few turkey tracks but didn’t see any live game.  We came to a point on this woodsy perimeter trail on which there were signs closing off the further portions of that trail and we turned around, back tracked a little and took an alternate route.  When we finally got back to the primary blue trail comments could be heard about how nice it was to be in the sun.  We had no near death experiences and all the horses were well behaved (probably because we didn’t see any game) even though you could tell that the cool weather had them all a little more energetic.

When we returned to the parking lot Ron fired up his gas burner and heated up a large pot of gumbo he made.  He also cooked some rice right there to be with the gumbo.  It wasn’t seafood gumbo or vegetarian gumbo but rather a combination of sausage, seafood and vegetable.  Pam and Jennette brought some brownies and Bob brought garlic bread and corn bread to eat with the gumbo along with the remainder of the Funny hat ride prize cookies from last Saturday.  Herb broke out a bag of Lime Tostitos chips which were a big early hit.  Ron also brought some Champagne and vodka along with homemade orange juice to make your choice of Mimosas or Screwdrivers.  We christened the meal with a toast to a Merry and safe Christmas.  The food was very good and we had a great social lunch.  There was talk of going home and taking naps that afternoon so you know we ate our fill.  The spoils were divied up and we all called it another successful ride.

December 12th, 2015 – Rivers Road Crazy Hat Ride

Ten bold riders came out for a fun ride at Rivers Rd. We had lovely weather and a really pleasant ride on the new National Forest Blue trail heading south this time on our own yellow trail. But during the ride we switched from our yellow trail to parts of the blue, red and ended up coming back on our orange trail. There was very good behavior on the part of our mounts and no spooks, jumps or kicks. Mini mule decided she didn’t want any horse to pass her so she wove from side to side to block trespassers. We ran into one lone hunter standing by his truck and one dog walker with a couple of black dogs running loose but there were no problems. The ride lasted about three hours.

Now for the hats. Herb Rosinsky wore one of his wife’s hats with a rose flowered motif. Bob Bardes had on a colorful knit creation with a funny tassel thing that stood straight up on top that turned out to be an Ethiopian tribal hat that he had actually picked up in Ethiopia.Lyn Grant and Doel West wore flowered creations made for the Water Olympics in bright purple and chartreuse green. Except Doel wore it over her normal outback hat and ended up looking like something out of the 1900’s.These riders good naturedly wore their hats the entire ride. The hunter and dog walker didn’t give us a second look so I assumed they think horse riders are normally a little weird and dress like this all the time!!

Back at the trailers some of the others donned their attire. Jennette Curtis donned a smashing green cow girlish hat that complimented her green Christmas shirt and Jud sported a Daniel Boone coon skin cap. Nancy Stephens dressed in what looked like a cartoon version of a stuffed penguin and Pam Freeman wore a Jokers turban with long pointed arms spouting out of it. Ron Tuttle came as himself and Katrina Ward took all the pictures.

The first prize went to Bob Bardes for a very original hat. He shared the big box of Christmas cookies with all and Lyn brought cold mini cokes for everyone. Nice ride and a nice day.Won’t you join us next time?

Annual Dinner Meeting and Election of Officers and Directors

The Annual Dinner meeting has been scheduled.  It will be held Saturday, January 9th, 2016 at the Leon County Horseman’s Association Building, 188 Horseman’s Association Road, Tallahassee.  A Social Hour will begin at 5pm and with Dinner served at 6pm.  The business meeting and elections will follow along with a special guest speaker, Jed Dillard, from the Jefferson County Livestock and Natural Resources Office discussing Creeping Indigo.  Cost for the dinner is $15 and reservations are required.  Look for invitations coming via mail with an RSVP card to return, as well as an email with details.

November 21, 2015 Miccosukee Greenway @ Crump Road Trailhead

Herb and I arrived bright and early and were surprised when there were quite a few cars in the parking lot. We thought we might meet lots of bikers and hikers on the trails, but surprisingly, it wasn’t bad. Most of the people that we passed were courteous. One woman just stopped, smiled and said “I don’t know what to do.” I told her, what she did by stopping was perfect, we talked and everyone went on their way. One hiker was even nice enough to tighten Janet’s horse’s boot. Even though small gravel has been laid on the main trails, it ‘s now packing down and getting some leaf coverage making a great trail to ride on. Riders included Janet, Kathleen and Herb and myself. We had great weather with a cool breeze making our 2.25 hour ride perfect. — Sharon

Nov 7, 2015 Fall Benefit Ride

STA sponsored a trail ride at beautiful Crowder Farm to raise funds to benefit Triple R Horse Rescue Association. It was a lovely day and thanks to the good Lord-dry- as the next two days Tallahassee was drenched in a deluge of rain. We had a good turn out of 42 riders and raised all $420.00 for Triple R.

Crowder Farm is a lovely spot in a plantation like setting with huge lovely Live Oaks scatter every where among pines and nicely mowed avenues of grass and feed plots. There is one section that was at one time part of the Old St. Augustine Rd. and is bordered by a long row of very ancient Oaks. And the trailer parking area was near a large wooden deck with bath rooms and horse watering facilities.

The trail was marked with paper plates with options for a short and longer ride which took up about two hours more or less. It was set up so riders could go at their own speed and in their own groups self guided.
Our only problem was the caterer didn’t show up.  Some how some signals got switched and no one is totally sure what happened because Jud thought everything was arranged. So our sincere apologies to the attendants for this inconvenience.  I was sure looking forward to that big juicy hamburger, but the ride was well worth the contribution.

Our special thanks to the Crowder family for letting us use their lovely property for this event. We also want to thank Jud and Ron and I believe Bob for setting up and marking the trails. Our special thanks to Sharon and Karen for arriving early and taking up liability forms and contributions. I hope I haven’t left any body out. — Roving Reporter

October 17, 2015 – Apalachicola National Forest @Rivers Road

We started off on a very cool and brisk sunny day in long sleeves that we kept on for most of the ride. This was to be a Lyn and Bob ride but Bob had issues with catching his horse and called to say he wouldn’t make it. However he did finally catch the horse and arrived 10 or 15 minutes after we left but said he couldn’t catch us. And we were going slow as I decided to make this a poker run ride and was stopping here and there to hand out cards. We were playing seven card stud and our best hands were made up of the best five cards in our hand.

I also decided to ride the new blue forest trail which is superimposed over several of our trails. These trails are painted with large paint splotches directly on the trees every 20 feet which even Ray Charles would be able to see. We went north on our orange trail and picked up our blue trail and later the red trail. It was really a very pretty ride and we were all chatting away enjoying ourselves when Ron said ” Lyn, we missed a turn”. How we did it I’ll never know but we did. Ron with his built in GPS shortly had us back on tract. The cards were given out regularly at several stops and I made the comment that I hoped someone skinny like our guest rider’s Doel or Mindee won first prize because I had picked up a dozen Krispy Kreme doughnuts for the winner. Doel chirped up that she didn’t know what she had as she had never played poker.

Much to our delight we had two new member riders with us-Ann and Mike from Bristol on their cute little pinto horses. We certainly enjoyed their company. There was Ron, Ambrose, Sue and Lyn as well.
The ride lasted 2 hours and 40 minutes and back at the trailers we checked out the poker hands. I had handed out 56 cards (1 deck and 4 cards from another) and ” KNOW NOTHING ABOUT POKER” skinny Doel won the donuts with 4 sevens. She also had 3 twos. Beginner’s luck I guess!!

I also handed out STA tote bags to women and STA kerchiefs to men just for participating.. It was really a fun day.

Roving Reporter

Oct. 10, 2015 – St. Marks Rail Trail Under the Power Lines

Seven riders set out on this beautiful fall morning for a leisurely ride through unmarked single and double tract trails.  The wildflowers and butterflies were gorgeous entertainment to our eyes and the friendly banter made this ride a most pleasant one.  Katrina, Pam, Lyn, Ron, Bob, Ambrose, and a guest rider took a leisurely pace along shaded trails and around ponds that looked like they could use some rainfall.  We stopped to water the horses at one of these along the way.  Unfortunately, Bob’s mount Hooker developed a girth gall and Bob decided to get off and walk him back to the trailer early-on in the ride.  Near the end of the ride, Katrina decided to pick some flowers and then Ambrose had a scare when his new saddle slipped.  However, he was no worse for wear, and since we were in sight of the trailers at that point, a few of us decided to walk our horses in.  All in all, a very nice ride!

Sept 19, 2015 Fort Braden East Loop

We had a very nice ride.  8 riders showed up and the weather was wonderful.  In the woods and valleys of Fort Braden it was quite pleasant, and the parts of the trail along the lake had a very nice breeze.  All the horses were well behaved and managed well with the downed limbs and recently fallen leaves.  The trail has been changed up recently and we had a bit of confusion with the markers, ribbons and paint, but we found our way for a 7 1/2 mile ride — Connie

Sept 12, 2015 Aenon Church Road Trailhead

Due to the weather our ride got moved to Sunday afternoon and the weather was perfect.  Ambrose and I were the only club members, but we had three guest riders – Megan A., Pam S., and Lis K.  Lis came all the way from Cairo to ride with us, and it was Megan and Pam’s first adventure on that trail.  We had a good time, but trail work is due on that trail – many places had lots of branches and trees down making it hard to follow (or even find) the trail – Connie

STA Summer Social 2015

What a smashing event!! The summer social at Jud and Jennette’s was a really great time for all of us who attended and I believe there was at least 25 to 30 people that showed up. Thanks to Linda who went out of her way to call as many people as she could think of to encourage them to come. And it was really great seeing all our members and ex-members from many years back all gathered up again in one spot.
The swimming pool was really refreshing and so nice on a hot day. I spent most of my time there just wallowing and talking to various members I haven’t seen in a long time. Jud and Jennette’s home is delightful. I was there about seven years ago at a similar social. On my way to the ladies room I was taking in their recent renovations of the sun room off their bedroom and the revised accommodations in the bathroom. Everywhere there were touches of our equine friends. Jennette has done a great job of inserting their love of horses and dogs into their home. I was surprised the toilet paper didn’t have horses printed on it!!

Ron and Jud furnished us with some really delicious thick and juicy hamburgers and hot dogs that were expertly cooked by Bob. The covered dishes supplied by members rounded off the gathering with beans, salads, and desserts. Everything was sumptuous.

This was such a nice thing for Jud and Jennette to do for the club and we all appreciate it so much. I talked with Sue and we figured the club was about 25 years old. Only about 5 original members are still actively riding and participating. Hopefully we can pull in some new members and draw back a few of the ex-members to join us. Events like this help.

I would like to list everyone who was there but I would leave someone out and I don’t want to hurt any ones feelings. But it was sure nice having all those who showed up. Thanks again.

— Roving Reporter

August 8th Horse & Rider Cool-down at Sand Pond

At least the weather turned out nice after a day of storms the day before. I didn’t really expect any- one to show up but Ron and Doel because they told me they would be there. But five minutes after I parked Ambrose Holley pulled in and I had a call from Liz Rich and Becky Day that they were on their way. Ambrose and I went ahead to the pond as it was so hot standing in the parking lot just as Doel and Ron pulled in. Soon we were in the pond up to our arm pits and the horses were doing their thing. Midnight, Ambrose’s mare, hadn’t been swimming much before and she just kind of stood around. Tally,my gelding was an old hand at Sand Pond and he immediately started floating. Don’t ask me how he does it but his hind feet lift off the sand bottom and he pivots around on his front feet laying on his side. Doel and Ron had made it down by then and Doel’s mare, Tippy, headed in to her knees and dropped to her haunches and rolled totally over. She apparently loves the water. Ron’s mule Mini takes a good dip and hauls Ron to the grass in the pond to eat.

Becky’s horse Topper seemed to enjoy the pond and was quite happy wallowing in it but Liz’s horse Spirit wanted no part of it. He decided knee high was deep enough. But we all enjoyed the cool clear water, the blue skies and the chance just to relax and talk. After a couple hours of “coolin it” we retired to the shade of the trees and ate our lunches. Doel distributed snacks to the horses. Shortly after we tacked up and either rode or led the happy relaxed critters back to the trailers. It was a pleasant day. Roving Reporter

July 11, 2015 – Fort Braden Tract – Lake Talquin State Forest

Four riders turned out for the July 11th ride at Fort Braden: Bob on Hooker, Connie on Dakota, Chris on Rose and Pete on Stepper.  It was a very warm day but under the shade at Fort Braden it wasn’t too terribly hot.  For a change we rode the west loop.  We had a nice ride and didn’t encounter any wildlife besides lots and lots of spiders and their webs. Pete showed off his new saddle.  By the time we got back to the trail head the temperature was really rising and we fed cool watermelon to the horses as a treat — Connie

 

 

Horse & Rider Cool Down at Lost Lake!

8/8/15  Saturday, 9:30 a.m. @ Lost Lake.  Come join Lyn at Lost Lake with a dunk with your horse in Sand Pond.  Due to the high heat and humidity, we decided to skip the riding part of the “ride” and go straight to swimming with the horses.  Be sure to park in the horse trailer parking lot – no charge. Bring a lunch and drink down to the pond with you. Lyn has some extra saddle bags if you supply the hay strings to tie them on. She also has some extra Cordura saddles if you want to ride in the water in them. Wear your swim suit or shorts under your jeans. Bring a halter and lead rope if you don’t have water-proof reins. Sand Pond has a nice sand bottom and very clear water. Most horses love standing and floating in it.

Directions: Go west down Springhill Rd. off of Capital Circle N.W.  Pass Dog Lake Tower Rd., about 3 miles. There is a brown wood National Forest sign on your right saying Lost Lake Motor cycle parking trail head. The parking area is at the end of the road. Horse trailers are free in this park  – just write “horse trailer” on the donation slip and put it in the box.  Park in the gravel at the far end of the parking lot.  Ride Contacts:  Katrina (850) 459-6276  and Lyn (850) 556-9730.

May 16, 2015 Rivers Road Working Ride

Eight riders set out on the orange trail for what turned out to be an enjoyable working trail ride with lovely weather.  Katrina and her guest Bailey, Lesa, Sue, Ambrose, Ron, Lyn, and Herb participated in this 2 1/2-hour ride.  I want to thank all the people who showed up and helped turn this ride into a good work session.  I decided to get working points as well as riding time, and kill two birds with one stone. There are new multi-use trails in this area put in by the National Forest staff, that has made our equestrian trails difficult to follow, as well as painting over our markers or removing them. The forest service markers are painted directly onto the trees in bold splashes in either blue or pink.  Our equestrian trail markers are on painted metal squares.  If anyone is riding these trails, remember to follow only the metal markers or only the painted markers, as they are separate trails.  We repainted some of our metal markers, replaced some that had been removed, and got some off the ground as well as adding some additional markers in confusing places.  So far we have redone the yellow and orange trails.  My special thanks to Ron, Herb and Lesa, and all those that helped out.  — Katrina

June 13, 2015 Phipps Park

We started our ride a bit earlier at 9:30 to beat the heat, but as it turned out, the breeze kicked up and since we rode mostly in the shade, it was a very enjoyable ride. Liz and Becky, who we haven’t seen in forever, joined us and it was fun catching up with them. After asking everyone if they minded, Sharon decided it might be a good day to just wander the Park and explore trails, so that’s what we did. With a little help from Sue so we wouldn’t retrace our steps, we covered 5.3 miles in the two hours of riding.

We did run into a few spider webs with spiders attached, one dangling in front of my face from the bill of my hat. Always makes for a fun time….okay not so much L. We rode down “Vendor Row” under the big beautiful oaks and stopped to let the horses graze a bit. While we were there, out of the woods popped Linda V. who had arrived later, but tracked us and caught up with us to ride. It was a fun surprise to see her again and it gave all of us a chance to catch up with her.

Members enjoying the day were Sharon, Herb H., Sue, Herb R., Liz, Becky, Wendy and Linda. We only encountered a few hikers, so we basically had the park to ourselves.

Afterward, we lingered a while just enjoying the breeze, checking out Liz’s brand new living quarters trailer (she’s ready to go), laughing it up with Linda (you can’t help but laugh at her stories), talking about a fall camp trip and generally catching up. It was a fun day and of course always good to be on our ponies! — Sharon

STA T-Shirts are back!

Many sizes and colors to choose from.  Contact Bob Bardes – email or call  850-339-0448.

Is a Trail Rider Required to Carry Your Coggins?

By: H.D. Haughton, JD June 1, 2015

The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Affairs (the “Department”) has been given the authority and responsibility by the Florida Legislature to control and eradicate Equine Infectious Anemia (“EIA”). The Department was required to formulate a program and promulgate all rules necessary for the successful implementation and administration of a comprehensive program for the control and eradication of EIA. The Department has adopted Rule 5C-18.010 (the “Rule”) which, among other things, requires owners of horses which are congregated at public or private assemblies to have in their possession a report of a negative EIA test conducted within the previous 12 months.

This report is commonly known as a Coggins Report or evidenced by a Coggins Certificate. Locations of such assemblies named in the Rule include: boarding stables and pastures, shows, exhibitions, fairs, rodeos, racetracks, trail rides and any other public or private assemblies. (While the word “assembly” is not defined in the Rule an acceptable dictionary definition would be; a meeting, congregation, get-together or gathering.) While these named “assemblies” would certainly apply to persons gathering at a trail head to commence a trail ride, they do not appear to include persons when actually participating on the trail ride.

Therefore a group of Southern Trailriders Association (“STA”) members collecting at a trailhead and preparing for a trail ride are suseptible to being asked by a state, federal or local law enforcement officer to produce a valid and current copy of a Coggins test for the horse(s) in their possession.

While the Department doesn’t have a Rule requiring a trail rider to have in his or her possession a Coggins Certificate when actually on the trail ride, other Florida Agencies do have such a requirement. The Agency which covers the major public lands on which STA members are likely to trail ride is the Florida Forest Service, which is a Division of the Department. This agency’s Rule 5I-4.003(14) states that “no person shall stage, ride or lead any horse on managed lands except on a designated trail or at a designated trailhead or designated access points.” Further that, “No person shall bring any horse onto managed lands without having in their possession a record of a current negative Coggins test for Equine Infectious Anemia as required by Rule 5C-18.010, F.A.C.”

This Rule is interpeted by Florida Forest Service law enforcement officers to require equestrians trail riding on Forest Service managed properties to have a Coggins Certificate in their possession at all times.

Many of the places Southern Trailriders conduct their trail rides are located on lands managed by the Forest Service including the Twin Rivers State Forest located next to McCulley Farms, the Wakulla State Forest and the Lake Talquin State Forest including the following Tracts: Bear Creek Tract, Joe Budd Tract (WMA), Fort Braden Tract, and the Rocky Comfort Tract, and therefore you must have a Coggins Certificate with you when riding in any of them. There is the following possible penalty for not doing so: “Any person violating or otherwise failing to comply with any of the provisions of Sections 589.011(4) or 589.071, F.S., or rules adopted pursuant to Section 589.011(4), F.S., is guilty of a non-criminal violation as defined in Section 775.08(3), F.S., punishable only by a fine not to exceed $500.00.

This is a link to all of the 37 state forests the Forest Service manages, and in which this Rule and the requirement to have a copy of your Coggins Certificate with you will apply.

In addition to the Florida Forest Service, three of the Florida Water Management Districts require a trail rider to have a proof of a negative Coggins test in their possession both when entering District property and when out on a trail ride. They are the South Florida Water Management District, the Suwannee River Water Management District, and the Southwest Florida Water Management District.

Finally, the Florida Office of Greenways and Trails has also adopted a Rule requiring a trail rider to have a proof of a negative Coggins test in their possession both when entering the properties managed by the Office and when out on a trail ride. Persons found in violation of this Rule can be fined $250.

There may be other agencies, departments or divisions in Florida which have a Rule with the same or similar requirements Therefore, it seems to be a prudent practice for STA members to make sure they have a copy of their Coggins with them both when assembling for a trail ride and when actually out on the trail.

Recent truck and trailer break-ins at Rivers Road Trailhead

Be aware that there have been several truck and trailer break-ins and thefts at the trailer parking area at the Rivers Road trailhead. As always, is recommended that you carry on your person your photo ID, insurance card, a credit card, emergency contact info and cellphone – don’t clip this stuff to your saddle!   If possible do NOT leave anything of value in your truck or trailer. Also don’t forget to carry a copy of your horse’s Coggins with you.

Memorial Day Weekend Campout at McCulley’s Farm

Everybody came in on Friday, set up camp and then most of us went for a short ride in the late afternoon. We got so lucky with the weather, because there was no rain the whole time, just strong breezes and lots of sunshine, with a few clouds to help keep the heat down. Those who came were: Herb and Sharon, Marianne, Wendy, Connie, Jud and Jennette, Chris and Peter, all of whom had a great time. We rode every day (Rick P. rode with us on Saturday) and of course had most interesting dinners, conversations and lots of laughter. Richard McCulley, Wimpie McCulley and Rick and Linda P. joined us for dinner on Sunday night. We watched Connie fire her Raku Pots with her portable kiln, and decorate each one with our individual horse’s tail hair. And of course, we all purchased at least one and then compared notes of whose was the prettiest. Impossible decision because each one was so different and unique. Thanks Connie for making those and thanks to Vince for helping her. The whole weekend was so relaxing and fun and we’re ready for another camp weekend; just have to wait for cooler weather now. — Sharon